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Food for the Poor Godspy.com: Faith at the Edge



dsconi | 0 posts | Member since 09.15.08


RE: David Brooks explains the Republican Party’s Catholic problem
If I'm not mistaken, there are five prominent issues that are non-negotiable for the Catholic voter: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and homosexual marriage. One candidate, along with his running mate and his national party, support every single one of these moral evils and actively cater to the groups pushing each of these agendas. The other candidate may not be battling 1.000 on these non-negotiable issues, but he, his running mate, and his national party are far closer to the Catholic ideal. Of course these five are not the only issues, but they are the first and foremost issues because they concern the dignity of the human person and determine how we value or devalue human life. PJPII wrote that all other human "rights" are false and illusory if the right to life is not defended. Those wishing to vote against the war in Iraq would do well to remember that Mother Theresa told the delegates of the United Nations that ending the war on the unborn was the first step to ending all wars. As for plans to vote for a third party candidate or stay home on Nov. 2nd, the political reality is that you are throwing your vote away and potentially allowing a candidate to win who promised to sign the "Freedom of Choice Act" into law his first day in office and to nominate Supreme Court Justices who will defend Roe v. Wade and abortion on demand for the next 30 years. Sorry, but this election is not a tough decision for a Catholic serious about defending life.

RE: The Democrats are Blowing the Election—and the Catholic Vote
Mr. Matera writes: "... the Catholic voter who supports a Democrat despite their support for abortion—a “prudential” choice that is allowed, based on the U.S, bishops document on politics and the common good...". This is a false and misleading application of the teaching of the Catholic Church and even the documents from US bishops. Unfortunately for "pro-life Democrats", one only gets to make such a prudential choice if all of the candidates running against one another are equally supportive of the pro-abortion position. So long as there is an anti-abortion alternative in that contest, a candidate who pledges support for abortion is disqualified from consideration. As for the whole "proportionality" argument, there is no policy position the benefits of which are proportional to the intentional killing of 3,500 lives on a daily basis. You may be strongly opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and wishing instead for resources to be devoted to a war against economic inequality. Further, you may be hopeful that your desired candidate will deliver on both counts. The inescapable fact, however, is that abortion is a greater evil than war and ending legalized abortion a greater good than eradicating poverty.

RE: The Democrats are Blowing the Election—and the Catholic Vote
Archbishop Chaput released a very concise statement about this topic that should help to clear up any confusion about our duties as Catholic voters: http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0262.htm The Church continues to reaffirm it's constant teaching against abortion, through both the Magisterium and those shepherds faithful to the duties of their office.

RE: David Brooks explains the Republican Party’s Catholic problem
I am delighted that my post has generated a few responses, and am proud to be called a "religious fundamentalist" if that phrase means knowing, accepting and sincerely attempting to live out the "fundamental" tennets of one's "religious" faith! As for Mr. Matera's comments, I can only conclude that we're two very different kinds of Catholics regarding truth, conscience, obedience and humility. Indeed the Church doesn't dictate to the faithful who to vote for by name or by party, but She does instruct us how to vote according to the issues at stake. First and foremost among these are matters concerning the inherent dignity of the human person and the inviolability of all human life from the moment of conception to natural death. Elevating socio-economic, environmental or foreign policy issues above the life issues may seem prudential to your way of thinking or mine, but only if we are not thinking with the mind of the Church! As for the rebuke about my failing to realize or grasp the complexities of voting responsibly, I confess to being a simpleton who sees these things in black and white. After all, I am just following what the Universal Church teaches--in the black ink and white paper of the Bible, the Catechism, Papal Encyclicals, and the documents of great Councils--not to mention the writings of the Saints and Doctors of the Church. As an adult convert to Roman Catholicism, I vowed to be faithful and obedient to the teaching authority of the one true Church instituted by Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit. In choosing the Church, I must reject the contrary views of any philosopher who would lead one to claim that "There is a truth to reality, but it’s complex, and each of us experiences it differently". How does a Catholic adopt such a relativistic view of truth and reality without denying the Church? Others have already refuted the absurd contention that "Catholics have been voting Republican since Reagan", so I won't bother to address it in detail. It is important to note, however, that many of our most notorious public officials regarding life issues proudly proclaim their Catholicism to their constituents and are faithfully returned to office--very often by the Catholic voters of their district. Could it be that this continuing scandal of prominent Catholic politicians who are unabashedly pro-abortion, pro-embryonic stem cell research, pro-euthanasia and pro-homosexual marriage somehow contributes to a belief among voters that religious faith is a private matter that shouldn't impact public policy? Or that the constant teachings of Church are one opinion among many and optional so long as one exercises prudential judgment in following ones' conscience--however malformed? I think I'll ignore the ruminations of philosophers and the rationalizations of politicians and just humbly submit myself to the teaching authority of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

RE: David Brooks explains the Republican Party’s Catholic problem
My initial comment on Mr. Matera's article was to point out the fact that "none of the above" helps to elect the candidate who has pledged to his supporters that he will do everything in his power as president to expand the taking of innocent life by signing into law a bill that strikes down every single restriction on abortion in every single state in the country just as Roe did, and further that he will appoint justices to the Supreme Court using Roe as his litmus test. Of course this reality of which I spoke was not addressed. Instead, the response I received in return was: a) to question my intelligence b) to rationalize the decisions of Catholic voters who ignore the clear teaching of the Church in favor of "prudential" judgments based upon one's individual take on truth of reality and c) to redirect the discussion to the failure of Republican presidents to accomplish anything positive despite supposedly "owning" the Catholic vote since Regan. Now, let us add insult to injury by claiming that I somehow "don't understand Mr. Matera" despite the fact that I answered his claims without distorting his words, insulting his intelligence or changing the subject? For good measure, I get scolded for not recognizing socioeconomic and foreign policy issues as "life issues" before being assured that McCain won't do anything to reduce the slaughter of the unborn innocents anyway--as if to suggest that I should make a prudential judgment to vote for Obama because at least he will be able to secure good jobs, universal health care and world peace with his magic wand? And still, my initial argument about an Obama presidency ushering in a new age of increased abortion on demand and without even reasonable restrictions such as parental consent or partial birth abortion goes completely unaddressed by my detractors.

RE: David Brooks explains the Republican Party’s Catholic problem
Perhaps a brief civics and history lesson is in order to dispel some of the more outrageous comments that keep popping up. The president is not a king and doesn't issue edicts from the oval office. There is a Congress in place that proposes bills which the president may or may not choose to sign into law. Some of these laws may be challenged by those who oppose them and have their fate decided by the Supreme Court. The justices who sit on the Supreme Court are nominated for this lifetime appointment by the president but must be confirmed by the Senate if the nomination manages to make it out of the Judiciary Committee and onto the floor where the Majority Leader chooses whether or not to schedule it for a vote. A Republican president may nominate a judge for the Supreme Court (or any federal court), but that person will not get an up or down vote on the floor of the Senate or even make it out of committee if his or her "judicial philosophy" (i.e. position on Roe) doesn't meet the litmus test of the party in power. Likewise, bills supported by the president (as in attempting to fulfill a campaign promise) may never come to the floor for a vote if the majority leader opposes the bill. Conversely, a bill may vetoed by the president despite support from whichever party happens to control the Congress. Ronald Regan (Republican) nominated a strong pro-life judge, Robert Bork, whose nomination was condemned on the Senate floor by Ted Kennedy (Catholic Democrat) and killed in committee by chair Joeseph Biden (Catholic Democrat). Bill Clinton (Democrat) twice vetoed a bill brought to his desk by a Republican controlled Congress to ban partial birth abortion. George W. Bush (Republican) waited over two years to sign this bill into law because Majority Leader Tom Daschle (Catholic Democrat) refused to schedule it for a floor vote. Would Roe v. Wade still be enshrined into law if Bork had been confirmed to the Court instead of Anthony Kennedy? Would any precious lives have been saved if the ban on partial birth abortion hadn't been stalled by Clinton and Daschle? What will the fate of the unborn be for the next 30 years with President Obama signing the "Freedom of Choice Act" (a prime example of Orwellian double speak) into law and packing the Supreme Court with justices sworn to uphold Roe with the support and blessing of many a Catholic Democrat? No, the pro-life Republicans in the White House and the Congress over the past few decades have not exactly delivered the goods on ending abortion on demand. Then again, self-proclaimed pro-lifers who nonetheless vote Democratic certainly aren't helping the cause, are they? How do you like the poster I'll be holding at my local voting precinct on November 4th: a large graphic photo of a dismembered victim of abortion with the NPR-inspired caption "Made possible by Pro-Choice voters like you". This same message applies as well to those of you who otherwise facilitate the election of abortion supporters by refusing to vote against them. Please don't pretend to be a serious Catholic or refer to yourself as "pro-life" if the lives in question have already taken their first breath. This tired "social justice" angle as a rationalization for overlooking and excusing the grave evil of abortion is completely fraudulent despite the many clerical adherents who continue to provide cover for pro-abortion Catholics in public office and those of you who vote for them. "Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me." Unless you can name a social class with less power, less of a voice, and more at stake than the unborn, you cannot distract a devout, Christian pro-lifer from the cause--especially with the specious arguments and contempt I have encountered here. John Paul II told Joe Scheidler in a personal encounter that he was "doing the most important work on earth". What would that make the work of those of you who resist and oppose our efforts?

RE: Adam and Eve make a stand in California
Does anyone who posts at this site (and that includes the publisher/editor) ever refer to the Catechism of the Catholic Church before declaring what one "believes", "understands" or "interprets" to be the teaching of the Church? This is an easy one! Number 2357 doesn't exaclty leave any wiggle room for gay-friendly apologists within the Church: "Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that 'homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.' They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a general affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved." I think we are all familiar with the duty to "love the sinner, hate the sin" and this applies to those with a same sex attraction. Possessing deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not sinful in itself, acting upon those tendencies, however, is. Sinful according to the Catholic Church, at least. For whatever value that that may have among "progressive" Catholics. Keep in mind that homosexuality was listed as a disorder in the Statistical and Diagnostic Manual of the American Psychological Association until it was summarily removed in the early 1970's without any corroborating research--just a change in attitude among the leadership of the APA. A "gay gene" has not been isolated and verified despite the recurring reports of such, and an "adaptive and involuntary" cause for the condition hardly qualifies as a lifestyle choice ordained by God. Research the two diametrically opposed approaches to ministering to Catholic homosexuals, "Courage" and "Dignity", and try to determine which is popular in San Francisco and which is recognized by Rome. Gay activists cannot have it both ways. They claim that their orientation is biologically determined, like race, when pursuing "equal rights" with the same strategies and arguments that successfully ended legal discrimination against African Americans, but declare sexual orientation to be a personal choice when seeking to legalize to use of opposite sex bathrooms or explain away bisexuality and transsexualism. We have ceased to recognize and respect natural law and are now legislating on the basis of libidinal proclivities. A solid Catholic defense of traditional marriage and the threat posed by any legal recognition of same sex unions is easy enough to find at any of the many websites more concerned with transmitting Catholic Truth than questioning it. I am finding all too often in these articles and forums, that discovering and genuinely understanding what the Church actually teaches doesn't seem nearly as important as attempting to justify one's rejection of it in favor of a more personal interpretation. How sad to find that one's personal views are beyond questioning, but the teaching of the Universal Church is not.

RE: The Democrats are Blowing the Election—and the Catholic Vote
Sorry, but "Democrats for Life" is an oxymoron in today's political climate. Electing pro-life Democrats like Bob Casey Jr. of PA or Heath Shuler of TN does absolutely nothing to further the cause of life and only serves to increase Democratic majorities in the Congress--and further the Democrats' anti-life agenda. What good is being "pro-life" if you vote the party-line except in instances where the margin is wide enough to safely oppose the leadership and yet not affect the legislative outcome? If the Democratic leadership actively promotes a legal right to abortion under all circumstances up until the moment of delivery, even to the extent of removing from their party platform the pledge to see abortion made "rare", what does a pro-life Democratic legislator do? Oh wait, I read about this somewhere during the Democratic National Convention! Why the Democrats for Life hold a town hall meeting and talk about how "pro-life" they all are and how they will be able to reduce the number of abortions through increases in government-funded social services. The odd thing is that one of those services is taxpayer funding of abortion groups--and Senator Casey voted "Aye". Senator Bob Casey, Jr. is a stooge who was hand-picked to run for that senate seat by the Democratic National Committee. Casey Jr.'s pro-life stance was convenient to the Democratic party as it appealed to culturally conservative Pennsylvania voters and made the race against Rick Santorum more of a referendum on Iraq and President Bush and less about Santorum's effectiveness in the Senate. No surprise that Rick Santorum was targeted by the Dems because he happens to be an ardent pro-lifer and serious Catholic who opposed their every effort to advance the culture of death. How effective are Bob Casey Jr. and his colleagues from Democrats for Life going to be in advancing the culture of life in America? Not. At. All.

RE: The Democrats are Blowing the Election—and the Catholic Vote
A few quick comments since I need to play with my kids right now instead of arguing with grown-ups: The motivation for crafting the USCCB document "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship", should be obvious to anyone with some knowledge of the political leanings of the most prominent leaders in the USSCB and the many lay people who staff the organization and churn out its publications. The document only serves to provide cover for Democratic politicians and the Catholics inclined to for for them. Think back to the voters' guides the USCCB has distributed during previous election cycles where the five non-negotiable life issues are buried among a randomly ordered list of the social justice causes trumpeted by the political left. Clearly, this is to give the impression that a candidate's stance on abortion should not take precedence over any of the others. That one votes for a candidate despite a pro-abortion stance, and not because of it, makes no difference at all if the end result is more aborted babies. The slaughter of those innocent souls should weigh on your conscience either way if you helped put these politicians into power. More abortions, not fewer, will result from an Obama presidency where there will be a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress. Members of the Democratic Party are anxious to pass the "Freedom of Choice Act" that will strike down even the most reasonable restrictions against abortion currently in place in various states across the country, and Obama has pledged to his supporters at Planned Parenthood that he would make signing such a bill into law his first priority as president. Add in the types of justices Mr. Obama promises to nominate to the Supreme Court and it is an absolute nightmare scenario for the pro-life movement. I am not a Rebuplican, just a serious Catholic voting my conscience as formed by the teachings of the Church (admittedly more the teaching of the Magesterium than the USCCB). If you think that Republicans have done nothing for the cause of life since 1972, and that the Democrats are a better choice on life issues, you are completely wrong on both counts and should see my posts under "David Brooks Explains the Republican's Catholic Problem" as they are pertinent to this discussion as well. "Candy Land" beckons!!!

RE: After Obama: Why Catholics should open a ‘second front’ in the Democratic Party
How interesting. At a time when many of our betters in the print and electronic media are blaming the Republican party's recent election losses on the courting of culturally conservative and religious voters to the detriment of attracting a greater share of the "moderate middle", comes an appeal for pro-lifers to switch sides and work to "convert" the Democratic party from within. After all, it is argued, the philosophy of the Democrats is more authentically Catholic (in a seamless garment sort of way, of course) despite the inconvenient fact that their party platform is unabashedly pro-abortion, pro-embryonic stem cell research, pro-euthanasia and pro-homosexual marriage. Wrong on four out of the five non-negotiable life issues, by why quibble. After all, the Democratic party is more serious about securing world peace, eradicating poverty, protecting the environment and going easy on terrorists and criminals--Catholic issues all! It is a lofty goal, I suppose, but if the recent history of Democratic presidential candidates is any indication, the price of power and influence within the national party is the jettisoning of any and all traditional norms regarding sex, marriage and the family--along with a repudiation of all prior political stances favoring protection for the unborn, less-than-enthusiastic support of special privileges for homosexuals or defense of marriage. Has any Democratic candidate for president in the last few decades not passed the litmus tests of unrestricted access to abortion and a solemn promise to appoint Supreme Court Justices sympathetic to Roe? I just don't see this happening. How can such a claim even be made when groups like Democrats for Life refuse to fight the party leadership over allowing even modest restrictions on abortion and, instead, soothe their consciences with the ridiculous notion of substantially reducing abortion through anti-poverty legislation? Is the hope here that the Democrats for Life will begin to develop a spine with the influx of more dedicated pro-lifers? That is, the kind of pro-lifers who speak out on the issue regardless of the cost, pray at abortion clinics, write their elected representatives, boycott companies and consistently vote against pro-choice politicians? Will these folks join the party of Planned Parenthood, NARAL, NOW, the ACLU, People United for the Separation of Church and State, et al, with the "audacity of hope" to believe that they can effect "change" in the legal status of the unborn? You've got to be kidding. While President-elect Obama did win a majority among Catholic voters, his pro-life opponent won majority support among Catholics that actually attend mass. Maybe the answer is to get more Catholics into the Democratic fold by discouraging them from attending mass or at least ignoring the clear and unambiguous teaching of the Church regarding a duty to vote against pro-abortion political candidates, not for them. The sad reality is that the Democratic party has sold its soul to advocacy groups promoting an extreme sexual libertinism that is antithetical to Catholic teaching on human sexuality--and with it human dignity. Look at the rapid assent and tremendous power of militant homosexuality over the last decade and tell me that those folks are going to tolerate faithful Catholics charting the future course of "their" party. I'm afraid that the kind of Catholic Mr. Matera's proposal is likely to draw into the Democratic party is already comfortably there.

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