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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Guest Editorial: A Plea to Our Bishops - Put First Things First!

Mixed Signals on Civic Matters
Put first things first when you vote!

By Thomas L. McFadden, Sr.

Bishop Loverde is publishing in his newspaper a six-part series called, Forming Our Consciences. This is in connection with the 2016 election. He calls it a journey of discernment. While part 1 was just a general introduction, part 2 that he published September 7th was titled “The Right to Life.” His text is completely in harmony with the Ordinary Magisterium of the Church as he asserts that:
No one ever has a “right” to exercise the gift of freedom to deprive an innocent person, especially an unborn child, of his or her right to life. As we form our consciences in this and every election, our first consideration is always where a candidate stands on the first principle: the right to life.
With a clear choice before us on where the presidential candidates stand on what he said was “the first principle”, what else needs to be said? For example, the National Right to Life Committee has published a politically-neutral comparison of where the candidates stand on that “first principle”. Read it here.

If he willed to, Bishop Loverde could have that flyer distributed in every parish because the flyer avoids endorsing either candidate. In other words, it does not violate the guidelines of the IRS regarding prohibited political activity of tax-exempt entities.

If Bishop Loverde were to will so, he would not only be faithful to his teaching office but also promote Catholic solidarity because the right to life, that “first principle, is the one issue at stake in the 2016 election about which Catholics in good faith may not disagree.

Is it needless fretting on the part of many Catholics to think that in parts 3-6 of his journey of discernment Bishop Loverde will “muddy the water” by proposing political solutions to social problems about which Catholics in good faith can, and do, disagree? The fretting (gut-wrenching anxiety really) is provoked by a notice that has appeared at the end of parts 1 and 2 of the Bishop’s written presentations:
For more voter education resources, see the website for the Virginia Catholic Conference, the Virginia bishop’s public policy agency at
A review of the “Virginia bishop’s public policy” as displayed on the website of his public policy agency indicates that except for right to life issues, it has a disturbing confluence with the agenda of the Democrat Party. For example, on that website one learns of the Catholic Climate Covenant, a heftily-staffed advocacy group of the United States Catholic Conference. Wasn’t it Democrat-in-Chief Obama who declared that climate change is the biggest threat Americans face? Is it not 17 Democrat state Attorneys General who have united to investigate and prosecute “climate change deniers”? Persons interested can judge for themselves by reviewing the Bishop’s public policy agenda if it does or does not align mostly with Democrat Party ideology.

In this election cycle pundits and commentators have spoken about the need of the candidates to court the “African-American vote”, the “Hispanic vote” and the “Evangelical vote.” None talk about the “Catholic vote.” The number of voting-age Catholics is greater than the number of African-American (black or mixed race) persons of all ages, and greater than the number of Hispanics of all ages, and only slightly less than the number of voting-age Evangelicals. But we get “no respect.” While those other groups have solidarity-building leadership that articulates what those groups want, our leaders send mixed signals that prevent Catholic solidarity. That is why Catholics are, in the words of the late Virgil Blum, S.J., America’s “political pygmies.”

Was it mixed signals from the Virginia Bishops’ public policy agency that resulted in Tim Kaine getting a standing ovation at his Richmond parish, St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, upon him becoming Clinton’s running mate?

“I know that he's definitely against capital punishment and works to help defend those who are on death row,” Kaine’s pastor, Father Jim Arsenault, told NPR. “The church has a teaching with regard to we're pro-life, and we believe in that seamless garment of life. We respect sometimes lawmakers make difficult decisions.”

Let us pray that as Bishop Loverde continues along his journey of discernment he ends up in the right place and doesn’t encourage false moral equivalencies.


Aqua said...

I understand the logic behind presenting Trump as the Pro-Life candidate. You click on the link and there it is: Trump is pro-life; Hillary is pro-abortion. Simple.

But then you see the reality of his life and comments and changing positions; put them into the context of his advocacy of things never seen before in America, much less promoted by the conservative standard bearer:

The logic is WRONG.

Trump will ensure universal access to over-the-counter birth control; which is abortion according to Catholic teaching. That we know. He will allow abortion, with government Medicaid funding, under the conservative banner. That I strongly suspect.

Trump has in fact stated he will defend and expand universal health care through the mechanism of strengthened Medicaid.

And it all reminds me of the Church compromises made in the face of clear warnings of Our Lady to consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart, in Union with all the Bishops of the world. And Pope JP II was convinced NOT to do this for PRACTICAL political reasons. To Consecrate fully would have provoked a seriously negative get-political response. Possibly nuclear war. So he did something much less. Compromise. And her clear demand and warning is ignored still, to this day, for political reasons.

It reminds me of the feminist activist who wished she was President Clinton's lover instead of Monica L, since he delivered policy she likes. Compromise. Or of Anne Coulter who said she wouldn't mind if Trump performed abortions in the Oval Office because he would deliver her fave, Immigration. Compromise.

I will vote for Life without compromise. Trump is most certainly NOT pro-life, no matter the glossy brochures he pumps out to targeted audiences to get his prize. He is a liar. He is a liar for sure. I just read that his keynote Convention speaker, PayPal founder, homosexual activist and major donor Peter Thiel is being floated as a potential Supreme Court nominee. I doubt that not. And he would contend to his base that Thiel IS in fact just like the "promised" names on "his famous Justice List". And the reasons for Trump continue to fall.

Christians who compromise for the sake of limited practical outcomes have less than a full faith that God can deliver miracles at the PROPER TIME to those who FULLY trust him, and obey.

We should be like Gideon. Gideon wanted as many soldiers as possible to ensure victory in the name of the Lord. But God wanted Gideon to get rid of 90% of his fighting force and go into battle only with the fully faithful. And the battle was won by GOD, and by those who fully trusted in Him. And obeyed His Word without compromise or fear of failure.

Aqua said...

An addendum to my previous comments.

I said earlier I would be open to changing my mind. The Trump campaign just produced a signed letter with four specific, crucial pro-life commitments. The specificity and official nature of the letter is persuasive to me.

In sum, he is committed to:

1: Nominate pro-life Supreme Court justices;
2: Signing into law a ban on late-term abortions, called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act;
3: Defunding Planned Parenthood "as long as they continue to perform abortions" and reallocated their funding to other health clinics;
4: Making the Hyde Amendment — which prevent taxpayer-Medicaid dollars from funding abortions except in the case of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk — permanent law.

That stands out as a legitimate commitment. I am more than willing to admit error, if he builds on this and makes a decent case. There really is almost no other measure I can think of that matters as much as this.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Amen, Brian. Thank you.

To McFadden (Sr.) said...

I believe that "Brian" could be the same "Brian" who haunts the comments section of "the catholic thing" blog and the "Restore DC Catholicism" blog with the same sort of anti-Trump rants. For those of us in the real world the choice is binary: Trump or Clinton.

JESS said...

Brian, I agree with everything you said in your first post. 100%. I feel as though we are being tested in some way by God. I've been told by some Catholic friends that I HAVE to vote for Trump. No... I don't. (Anyway, in my state a vote for an R president hasn't mattered since Reagan). I am praying the Rosary every day, I am listening to the Holy Spirit on what to do. Trump has flipped on every single proposal he has made. I truly believe he is NOT anywhere near pro-life. I was shocked at his proposal to have BC over the counter. I've heard little from pro-life on that subject. HIs socialist "child care for everyone" is frightening, just thinking about the government being involved in your child's care shortly out of the womb. Just his vindictiveness, wanting to destroy and silence anyone who didn't endorse or disagrees with him - and he's never had the need to ask for forgiveness - is about as un-Catholic as one can imagine.

Now, your second post on what he is now "committed" to, sounds great. but we shall see in the coming days or hours how that will change. He could turn on a dime, and I'm truly afraid of what he'll be after elected; a dictator?

Bottom line, we have two of the worst candidates (actually all four are) in the history of this country. I hope that people do not stay home, because the down ballot candidates are more important than ever. Remember, the lesser of two evils is still evil, and right now, I can't for the life of me figure out which one is "lesser".

Pray, pray pray - and discern in your heart, listen to the Holy Spirit, and vote your conscience.