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Monday, October 20, 2008

Clanging the Bell: Catholics Can't Vote for Obama!

When the boat is sinking it's good to have a few loud voices warning the passengers. I told you about Bishop Hermann yesterday. Today the man clanging the bell and shouting the warning is Archbishop Chaput. He recently addressed a meeting of ENDOW (Engaging on the Nature and Dignity of Women). Speaking as a private citizen, the archbishop explained his reasons for writing Render Unto Caesar and directly addressed the arguments of Professor Douglas Kmiec's claim that Catholics can support Barak Obama despite his radical support for abortion. Following is an excerpt from Archbishop Chaput's address.

"Prof. Kmiec has a strong record of service to the Church and the nation in his past. He served in the Reagan administration, and he supported Mitt Romney's campaign for president before switching in a very public way to Barack Obama earlier this year. In his own book he quotes from Render Unto Caesar at some length. In fact, he suggests that his reasoning and mine are 'not far distant on the moral inquiry necessary in the election of 2008.' Unfortunately, he either misunderstands or misuses my words, and he couldn't be more mistaken.

"I believe that Senator Obama, whatever his other talents, is the most committed 'abortion-rights' presidential candidate of either major party since the Roe v. Wade abortion decision in 1973. Despite what Prof. Kmiec suggests, the party platform Senator Obama runs on this year is not only aggressively ''pro-choice;'' it has also removed any suggestion that killing an unborn child might be a regrettable thing. On the question of homicide against the unborn child - and let's remember that the great Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer explicitly called abortion 'murder' - the Democratic platform that emerged from Denver in August 2008 is clearly anti-life.

"Prof. Kmiec argues that there are defensible motives to support Senator Obama. Speaking for myself, I do not know any proportionate reason that could outweigh more than 40 million unborn children killed by abortion and the many millions of women deeply wounded by the loss and regret abortion creates.

"To suggest - as some Catholics do - that Senator Obama is this year's 'real' prolife candidate requires a peculiar kind of self-hypnosis, or moral confusion, or worse. To portray the 2008 Democratic Party presidential ticket as the preferred 'prolife' option is to subvert what the word 'prolife' means. Anyone interested in Senator Obama's record on abortion and related issues should simply read Prof. Robert P. George's Public Discourse essay from earlier this week, Obama's Abortion Extremism, and his follow-up article, Obama and Infanticide.'They say everything that needs to be said....

"Democratic-friendly groups like Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, have done a disservice to the Church, confused the natural priorities of Catholic social teaching, undermined the progress prolifers have made, and provided an excuse for some Catholics to abandon the abortion issue instead of fighting within their parties and at the ballot box to protect the unborn.

"And here's the irony. None of the Catholic arguments advanced in favor of Senator Obama are new. They've been around, in one form or another, for more than 25 years. All of them seek to 'get beyond' abortion, or economically reduce the number of abortions, or create a better society where abortion won't be necessary. All of them involve a misuse of the seamless garment imagery in Catholic social teaching. And all of them, in practice, seek to contextualize, demote and then counterbalance the evil of abortion with other important but less foundational social issues.....

"The one genuinely new quality to Catholic arguments for Senator Obama is their packaging. Just as the abortion lobby fostered 'Catholics for a Free Choice' to challenge Catholic teaching on abortion more than two decades ago, so supporters of Senator Obama have done something similar in seeking to neutralize the witness of bishops and the pro-life movement by offering a 'Catholic' alternative to the Church's priority on sanctity of life issues. I think it's an intelligent strategy. I also think it's wrong and often dishonest....

"As I suggest throughout Render Unto Caesar, it's important for Catholics to be people of faith who pursue politics to achieve justice; not people of politics who use and misuse faith to achieve power. I have no doubt that Prof. Kmiec belongs to the former group. But I believe his arguments finally serve the latter....

"I think that people who claim that the abortion struggle is 'lost' as a matter of law, or that supporting an outspoken defender of legal abortion is somehow 'prolife,' are not just wrong; they're betraying the witness of every person who continues the work of defending the unborn child. And I hope they know how to explain that, because someday they'll be required to."

Early in his address, Archbishop Chaput reminded his audience of the need to have an informed conscience. It is a good place to close this post - with a reminder for readers to gently challenge someone in their own circle of family and acquaintances who is thinking of voting for Obama.

"As adults, each of us needs to form a strong Catholic conscience. Then we need to follow that conscience when we vote. And then we need to take responsibility for the consequences of the vote we cast. Nobody can do that for us. That's why really knowing and living our Catholic faith is so important. It's the only reliable guide we have for acting in the public square as disciples of Jesus Christ."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I received this from a very dear priest. I think his comments are very insightful and I urge everyone to pray the rosary and chaplet of divine mercy every day until the election.

"Can't you just wait to live in Obama Nation. I can't wait. Lincoln at the Gettysburg Address wondered whether a Nation dedicated to certain propositions could long endure. Chief Justice John Marshall answered that queston in the negative. I think that while God may forgive a Nation for the material grave sins of the nine on the bench he will not as easily forgive a formal natonal embrace of worldly principles of entropy and death. Obama represents such a choice if made. There is no attribute in the Godhead that conforms to such a choice and the normal blessings and protections given a Godly people will be withheld by God who does not commingle with infidelity. We will be subjected to the laws of entropy. We will be punished by "the one" who doesn't think teens should be punished with a baby. You don't have to be Nostrodamus or a sailor to read the portents of a red sky at morning.
The bishops have snoozed through the night in the watchtower. They are like fishermen on the water who forgot their net. Deep water is simply a soundbite and slogan for a Capital Campaign. They are the vineyard stewards who won't give the owner his share of the grapes who abuse the servants of the House while the Master is journeying. Even the Pharisees recognized they would come to a ruinous end."