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Hudson and Fournier: Catholic Countdown to Election 2012, Day 40. Beware the 'Catholic' Supporters of Obama
By Deal W. Hudson & Rev. Mr. Keith A. Fournier
September 27th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Those who have read us both know that we have not always agreed. However, we have chosen to combine our voices at a critical time in U.S. History to do absolutely everything we can do to influence this election! So we will do just that in this series leading to the most important election in our lifetime.
WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - We begin our forty day countdown series on the Feast of St. Francis DeSales, a Doctor of the Universal Church who is associated with the undeniable call for Christians to show a "love of preference to the poor". Catholic Social teaching is not "left" or "right", "liberal", "conservative" or "neo-conservative", Democrat or Republican.
It confronts what Pope Benedict properly called the "Dictatorship of Relativism" even before he assumed the Papal office. It insists there are unchangeable truths which are revealed by the Natural Law, can be known through the exercise of reason and should inform the social order in every just society.
At the foundation of all these truths is the truth concerning dignity of every human person at every age and stage. To be Pro-Life is NOT to be "single issue" in your political positions; it is about having a world view. It is the dignity of the human person which requires a respect for every human life whether that life be in the first home of the womb, a wheelchair, a jail cell, a hospital room, a hospice, a senior center or a soup kitchen.
Another one of these truths is that marriage is between one man and one woman, intended for life, and ordered toward the bearing and raising of children in the family. Marriage is not some social construct which can be redefined by courts or legislatures. It is the foundation for family and family is the first society, first church, first school, first economy, first government and first mediating institution. The first community which humanizes and civilizes all of us is the family.
Another is that all human persons created in the Image of God are created for relationship and called to human community. We can never fully experience human flourishing outside of social relationships. These relationships are perfective of our human person because we are by nature - and grace - made for these relationships. Catholic Social Thought does not begin with the individual but with the family. The social doctrine affirms our obligation in solidarity to one another. We are our brother/sister's keeper.
The social doctrine of the Catholic Church rejects a notion of "freedom" which begins and ends with the isolated, atomistic, person as the measure of its application. Authentic human freedom must be exercised within a moral constitution. We will only grow in freedom when we choose what is good and what is true. Otherwise "freedom" becomes a counterfeit and enslaves us, as individuals and as nations.
The social doctrine of the Catholic Church also offers principles to help us order our economies. It does not propose any particular economic theory. It insists that every economic order be at the service of the human person, human freedom, human flourishing and the family. We are to give a love of preference to the poor, recognizing our solidarity with them. However, this call to solidarity is to be applied through the application of the principle of subsidiarity, rejecting all forms of dehumanizing collectivism, either of the left or the right.
The truths and principles contained within Catholic social doctrine are not merely "religious" positions, in the sense that only religious people need assent to them. They are revealed by the Natural Law and can be known through the exercise of reason. The truths are true for all people and for all time. The Church calls us to offer them as leaven to be worked into the loaf of human culture.
So we will do just that in this series leading to the most important election in our lifetime. Those who have read us both know that we have not always agreed. However, we have chosen to combine our voices at a critical time in U.S. History to do absolutely everything we can do to influence this election!
Yes, I (Keith) said it! I can say it "legally" because Catholic Online is not a non-profit corporation and the current censorship of religious speech does not apply here. However, I also say it because too many Catholics and other Christians have not figured out the consequences we face on November 6, 2012 if we do not properly inform our decision on who we will elect to lead us and vote accordingly. I am getting older and I am tired of the arguments that we must look for the "perfect" candidate. There will never be one.
The Catholic supporters of President Obama have started making phone calls to solicit support for their candidate. OK, that's fine -- calls to prospective voters are part of every campaign season. But you won't believe what is being said about Obama, at least from the call received by a Catholic woman who happens to be the chair of her parish pro-life committee. Did you know that Obama did not support abortion, and did you know that Planned Parenthood didn't either? Well, that's what Catholics are being told on the phone by representatives of the President's campaign.
Archbishop John Myers of Newark, NJ has issued a pastoral on marriage "When Two Become One: A Pastoral Teaching on the Definition, Purpose and Sanctity of Marriage," which has raised a media ruckus because the Archbishop has the temerity to tell the Catholics under his care that if they harbor any doubts about the Church's teaching on marriage they should voluntary refrain from taking communion. How dare he, the Archbishop of Newark, do his job, exercise his teaching authority! At least that is the spin being put on it by most of the media. Here is what the Archbishop said, part of one paragraph within a long and comprehensive moral pastoral:
"I urge those not in communion with the Church regarding her teaching on marriage and family (or any other grave matter of faith) sincerely to re-examine their consciences, asking God for the grace of the Holy Spirit which "guide [us] to all truth" (John 16:13). If they continue to be unable to assent to or live the Church's teaching in these matters, they must in all honesty and humility refrain from receiving Holy Communion until they can do so with integrity; to continue to receive Holy Communion while so dissenting would be objectively dishonest."
There is nothing new here, of course, except that the Archbishop has challenged what has now become fixed among most media, that is, any questioning of "same-sex marriage" is bigoted by definition. Perhaps those same media critics will take the time to read the remainder of the pastoral, because Archbishop Myers actually has an argument grounded in centuries of moral teaching and Scriptural authority.
A poll just released by the Susan B. Anthony list corroborates what all religiously-active Catholics already know -- namely, that President Obama's aggressively pro-abortion policies have hurt his standing with Catholic voters in the key battleground states. Key findings from the poll of 650 likely voters are the following:
54 percent of swing voters said they would be less likely -- 35 percent much less likely -- to vote for President Obama after learning that he voted against a law to give equal treatment and constitutional protections to babies born alive after a failed abortion. AND the President's record on the Born-Alive issue costs him support even among his supporters: Nearly half (49 percent) of voters leaning towards voting for President Obama said they would be less likely to do so after learning about his record.
Wow! President Obama should be paying attention to numbers like that! But readers can be sure that Obama and his advisors are paying little attention, hoping that voters will believe the misrepresentations of their surrogates, such as the caller mentioned above.
Now to end on something that will make the reader smile! We truly appreciate Catholics United for providing the comic relief for this tumultuous campaign season. Get this! Catholics United has issued a press release that affirms the "Magisterium" of the New York Times and accuses Catholics of -- take a deep breath -- partisan politics.
This comes from a group, calling itself "Catholic," whose partisanship is completely transparent in its intent -- to gain Catholic support for politicians who support abortion, support same-sex marriage, and support this administration's violation of religious liberty.
Deal W. Hudson is president of the Pennsylvania Catholics Networks and former publisher/editor of Crisis Magazine. Deacon Keith Fournier is the Editor in Chief of Catholic Online and a constitutional lawyer who is currently writing his dissertation for the PhD in Moral Theology at the Catholic University of America.
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