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U.S. Bishops' News Service Points out Differences between Bush and Kerry (on abortion) MONUMENTAL
LifeSite Daily News ^ | 8-16-04

Posted on 08/17/2004 12:58:23 AM PDT by cpforlife.org

Monday was in a way a watershed day for the Pro-Life Movement.

Three important news stories on Life were reported. One from the Pope, one from Cardinal Ratzinger, and one from the US Bishops.

The last one is perhaps the most important to the presidential election. All three are below.

U.S. Bishops' News Service Points out Differences between Bush and Kerry

Pope calls Women to Protect Right to Life

Cardinal Ratzinger Says it is Reason, not Faith, Which Compels States to Protect Unborn

____________________________________________________________


LifeSite Daily News
Monday August 16, 2004

U.S. Bishops' News Service Points out Differences between Bush and Kerry

WASHINGTON, August 16, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Catholic News Service (CNS), the official news service of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has published a story highlighting the "clear differences" on abortion between the two main presidential contenders.

Speaking of abortion, CNS says "no issue shows a clearer distinction between the major party candidates, Republican President George W. Bush and Democratic Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts."

The article outlines the two stands stating, "As president, Bush has signed the ban on partial-birth abortions, which his administration has defended against court challenges; signed the Born Alive Infants Protection Act; reinstituted the "Mexico City policy" that bars the use of U.S. foreign aid to promote abortions in other countries; denied federal funds to the U.N. Population Fund; and nominated pro-life federal judges."

Regarding Kerry CNS notes, "Kerry voted six times against the partial-birth abortion ban; was a co-sponsor of the Freedom of Choice Act, which would have prohibited states from placing limits on abortion; opposes parental involvement in minors' abortion decisions; and has vowed to reverse the Mexico City policy and to 'only appoint Supreme Court justices who will uphold a woman's right to choose.'"

jhw


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CNS STORY: Campaign '04 Candidates present clear differences on abortion issue

By Nancy Frazier O'Brien Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In the Catholic world, at least, few issues have gotten more attention than abortion during the 2004 presidential campaign.

But putting aside the question of Communion for Catholic politicians, no issue shows a clearer distinction between the major party candidates, Republican President George W. Bush and Democratic Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts.

As president, Bush has signed the ban on partial-birth abortions, which his administration has defended against court challenges; signed the Born Alive Infants Protection Act; reinstituted the "Mexico City policy" that bars the use of U.S. foreign aid to promote abortions in other countries; denied federal funds to the U.N. Population Fund; and nominated pro-life federal judges.

Kerry voted six times against the partial-birth abortion ban; was a co-sponsor of the Freedom of Choice Act, which would have prohibited states from placing limits on abortion; opposes parental involvement in minors' abortion decisions; and has vowed to reverse the Mexico City policy and to "only appoint Supreme Court justices who will uphold a woman's right to choose."

"President Bush has compiled a record during his first term in office that can only be described as extraordinarily pro-life," said Steven Ertelt, editor and founder of LifeNews.com, in what he said was the Internet-based pro-life news service's "first-ever editorial."

"And when it comes to the key battles and judicial appointments over the next four years, only President Bush can be trusted to advance the cause of life," Ertelt added in the Aug. 3 editorial.

The National Right to Life Committee, which tracks the voting records of members of Congress on key pro-life legislation, gives Kerry a 2 percent pro-life voting record since 1984, saying he voted 92 out of 94 times against the position taken by the pro-life organization.

Kerry's running mate, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, joined the Senate in 1998 and has voted 11 out of 11 times against the National Right to Life Committee's position on abortion-related legislation.

Kerry and Edwards both get 100 percent, however, from organizations that support keeping abortion legal, including NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

In "Faithful Citizenship," their quadrennial statement issued every presidential election year since 1976, the U.S. bishops call abortion "the deliberate killing of a human being before birth" and say it is "never morally acceptable."

"We support constitutional protection for unborn human life, as well as legislative efforts to end abortion and euthanasia," they said. "We encourage the passage of laws and programs that promote childbirth and adoption over abortion and assist pregnant women and children."

More recently, in their June 18 statement on "Catholics in Political Life," the bishops said, "Failing to protect the lives of innocent and defenseless members of the human race is to sin against justice.

"Those who formulate law therefore have an obligation in conscience to work toward correcting morally defective laws, lest they be guilty of cooperating in evil and in sinning against the common good," they added.

Christopher M. Duncan, chairman of the political science department at the Marianist-run University of Dayton in Ohio, said it is difficult to assess what role the abortion issue will play in the decisions of individual voters -- even Catholic voters -- in the 2004 presidential election.

"There is the hard-core group that I would call single-issue voters, and for them (the pro-life issue) is everything," he said in a telephone interview with Catholic News Service.

But he said most polls show that "Catholics mirror the general population in their opinions on abortion," with about 55 percent favoring keeping abortion legal in some circumstances -- most notably, to save the life of the mother and in cases of rape and incest -- and fewer than 10 percent supporting the criminalization of abortion in all circumstances.

Catholics who identify themselves as weekly churchgoers are more likely to oppose abortion than those who say they go to church less frequently, Duncan added.

Because Kerry is Catholic, the abortion issue "has become more of an issue than it would have been" for another Democratic candidate, the political scientist said. "If he'd been a pro-choice Baptist or a pro-choice Methodist, he would not have had nearly the same kinds of questions coming his way."

But abortion's biggest role in this campaign may be as a "leveraging tool to suggest that John Kerry doesn't know what he believes in," Duncan said.

Kerry himself has contributed to that impression with conflicting -- and often confusing -- statements about when he believes life begins and how that belief affects his stand on abortion.

In early July, the Democratic candidate startled many of his followers -- and raised the hackles of his supporters who are working to keep abortion legal -- when he told the Dubuque (Iowa) Telegraph Herald, "I oppose abortion, personally. I don't like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception."

But in follow-up interviews with ABC News and The Associated Press, Kerry said although he believed unborn children were "a form of life," they were "not the form of life that takes personhood in the terms that we have judged it to be in the past."

"My personal belief about what happens in the fertilization process is a human being is first formed and created, and that's when life begins," Kerry told ABC's Peter Jennings July 22. "Within weeks, you look and see the development of it, but that's not a person yet, and it's certainly not what somebody, in my judgment, ought to have the government of the United States intervening in."

Kerry's opponents have been able to use such comments to "call his genuineness into question," Duncan said.

But how much effect does a president really have on abortion policy?

In the U.S. system of checks and balances, where Congress passes legislation and the president simply signs or vetoes it, a president's influence can nevertheless be substantial.

Both President Bill Clinton and the current President Bush showed their understanding of that when, in their first days in office, they signed executive orders affecting U.S. abortion policy.

In five executive orders on Jan. 22, 1993, Clinton reversed the ban on abortion counseling in federal family planning clinics; overturned the moratorium on federally funded research involving the use of fetal tissue; ordered a study of the ban on import of the French abortion pill, RU-486, for personal use; revoked the prohibition on abortions in military hospitals overseas; and voided the Mexico City policy which had forbidden U.S. foreign aid funding of agencies promoting abortions.

Eight years later, Bush signed an order reinstating the Mexico City policy, which had been in place from 1984, when it was instituted by President Ronald Reagan, until Clinton's action.

Clinton also twice vetoed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, and Congress failed to override the vetoes. Bush signed the legislation into law last November.

But a president's most long-standing effect on abortion might be in his appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court, the ultimate arbiter of the question.

Court observers say four justices -- Associate Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Chief Justice William Rehnquist -- are likely to retire in the next four years. Kerry has said he would not appoint a Supreme Court justice who would vote to overturn the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision on abortion.

LifeNews.com's Ertelt, in an Aug. 10 follow-up column to his editorial, said that likely turnover means that "the next president will have the power to determine whether abortion will remain legal for the next 30 years."

END

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Copyright (c) 2004 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The CNS news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed, including but not limited to such means as framing or any other digital copying or distribution method, in whole or in part without the prior written authority of Catholic News Service.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Government; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: abortion; bush; death; issues; kerry; life
The official news service of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has put out one incredible news story here! Freepers might consider sending a word of support.

The level of coverage on the abortion issue and the absolutely clear distinctions outlined between the two candidates is excellent.

This will be blacked out by the major media so we need to forward this to the MAX.

1 posted on 08/17/2004 12:58:24 AM PDT by cpforlife.org
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Election Day and Christian Responsibility


The elections of 2004 are a critical juncture for the future and direction of our nation.

This year voters will either defend the Culture of Life, or advance the culture of death.  As Christians, we have a clear and moral obligation to register to vote and to carefully consider the candidates' position on the sanctity of LIFE when we cast our vote.

Christians are called to vote with a PROPERLY FORMED CONSCIENCE. This can be explained with one sentence from our LORD, which applies, even inside the voting booth, “Whatsoever you do to the least of these my brethren, you do to Me” (Mt.25:40).  From The Gospel of Life: “Abortion and euthanasia are crimes, which no human law can claim to legitimize.  In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to `take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it'.”

What about the other issues?  "Calls to advance human rights are an illusion if the right to life itself is subject to attack." Faithful Citizenship. A powerful consideration from Fr. Frank Pavone, "If a candidate can't respect the life of a little baby, how is he supposed to respect ours?" From A Brief Catechism for Catholic Voters: “A disqualifying issue is one which is of such gravity and importance that it allows for no political maneuvering. It is an issue that strikes at the heart of the human person and is non-negotiable. A disqualifying issue is one of such enormity that by itself renders a candidate for office unacceptable regardless of his position on other matters.” FIVE such disqualifying issues are Abortion, Euthanasia, Fetal Stem Cell Research, Human Cloning, and “homosexual marriage”.

Participation in the political process is a virtue, and every vote counts. Christians have every right to strive by legitimate means to shape public policy according to their moral convictions.  We are each, individually, called to help build a Culture of Life-voting in defense of LIFE is among the most important ways.

Children waiting to be born cannot speak for themselves-we are their voice. We must speak up in their defense at the voting booth. If we do not, millions more will never be allowed to speak.

This map has 17.5 states blacked out.  The population of these states is equal to the number of “legal” surgical abortions since 1973.  Perhaps this visual perspective helps one to grasp the number 44,000,000-that's 44 MILLION PEOPLE who are gone, dead--robbed of their God given Constitutional right to LIFE.
Help end this tragedy, promote registering and VOTING PRO-LIFE.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797)



Kevin Jeanfreau
Louisiana Director
Knights for Life
Ed Jeanfreau
Louisiana Chairman
Knights for Life


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Download this document and others related at:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
http://cpforlife.org/id126.htm
2 posted on 08/17/2004 1:00:19 AM PDT by cpforlife.org (RE: Abortion, the question is not when Human Life begins, but how and when it will be ended.)
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To: MHGinTN; Coleus; nickcarraway; narses; Mr. Silverback; Canticle_of_Deborah; ...
A MONUMENTAL news story contrasting Bush and Kerry on the subject of abortion by the US Bishops news service.

A clear and absolute shot into the black heart of Senator Kerry.

Please forward this to everyone you know. The major media will block it.

Pro-Life PING
Please let me know if you want on or off my Pro-Life Ping List.

3 posted on 08/17/2004 1:06:39 AM PDT by cpforlife.org (RE: Abortion, the question is not when Human Life begins, but how and when it will be ended.)
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To: cpforlife.org
I know exactly what our priest will say.....that there is more than one yardstick to measure a candidate by, and therefore, anything the News service or the Pope or the Cardinal says is to be taken with a grain of salt...( after all, everybody knows that the Demons are kinder, gentler, nicer, and more warm and fuzzy then those hard-nosed Pubs_)

its called schism, which is what I believe we are in now....

4 posted on 08/17/2004 1:15:58 AM PDT by cherry (e)
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To: cpforlife.org

It saddens me to ask this, but, What does this matter when half the Amchurchers are pro abortion? They are going to vote for the Babykiller anyway.


5 posted on 08/17/2004 1:16:00 AM PDT by broadsword (Liberalism is the societal AIDS virus that thwarts national defense.)
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To: cpforlife.org

...and the vast majority of Amchurch clergy are pro-Babykiller Party.

If we Catholics acted like Catholics instead of pagans, America would not be in the mess it is presently in. Yes, I blame us and nobody else. If we were even half Christlike, this nation would be totally transformed to the good.

But we suck!


6 posted on 08/17/2004 1:19:09 AM PDT by broadsword (Liberalism is the societal AIDS virus that thwarts national defense.)
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To: broadsword; cherry
I agree with both of you.

I have said many times that the bishops are not doing their jobs and they are mostly to blame for the holocaust.

BUT, Somehow, this article got out and it is powerful.

It could give much needed courage to those clergy who have been lukewarm.

Yes the Amchurch heretical pro-death cult will ignore and or trash this but they are in the minority.

It's the large BUT SILENT church of indifference and of cowards who may find strength in this and finally do something with it.

We need to e-mail fax and photocopy this and put it directly into the hands of Priests who are lukewarm. We need to take just a moment with them and give them encouragement and implore them to speak on this. They are weak, we must be strong and not despair. Despair is the enemy's greatest weapon in times such as these.

The culture of death grows—not because of the power of wicked men—but because of the silence of good men.
7 posted on 08/17/2004 1:39:58 AM PDT by cpforlife.org (RE: Abortion, the question is not when Human Life begins, but how and when it will be ended.)
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To: All

Don't be confused by interpretation of 'garment of life'

Father William Maestri - New Orleans

http://www.clarionherald.org/20040714/maestri.htm

July 14, 2004

There is a mischievous concept that has made its way into what now passes for standard Catholic theology. This concept, in some quarters' dogma, goes by the name of "seamless garment of life" or "consistent ethic of life." The general consensus is that this concept was developed by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, of fond memory.

As best I am able to determine the concept means the following: On a whole array of issues affecting human life, Catholic theology calls for the consistent prohibition against the taking of human life. From abortion to euthanasia, from the death penalty to war, killing is to be avoided.

The "seamless garment of life" removes Catholic theology from being a one-issue pro-life movement. Furthermore, the "consistent ethic of life" removes Catholic theology from any embarrassing inconsistency when it comes to defending human life.

Even holy cardinals are not immune from the law of unintended consequences. Today this "seamless garment of life" ethic is being used to discredit those who make moral distinctions, and valid distinctions they are, among the life issues.

Now, in the name of the "consistent ethic of life," all relevant moral distinctions within the nexus of life issues are dismissed as hypocrisy. In reality, the distinctions being made are sound Catholic theology.

There are a number of life issues which are to be understood intrinsically; that is, the moral nature of the act itself.

Abortion, euthanasia and human embryonic stem cell destruction are grave moral wrongs which do not permit of circumstances or prudential judgment so as to alter the moral evaluation of the act (even in those cases where abortion is regrettably tolerated to save the mother's life - such as in the case of an ectopic pregnancy - or when pain medication is given which also hastens death, abortion is never viewed as a moral good nor is hastening death the intention.)

The acts of abortion, euthanasia and the destruction of embryonic human life are wrong in themselves (objective). No extrinsic circumstance (fear, ignorance, etc.) or intention (no one would want to live that way, so it was merciful to end life) can change the moral identity of the act - gravely wrong. To be sure, there are circumstances which can diminish the degree of guilt attributed to a person.

This subjective element, the moral culpability of the actor, can be lessened if it can be shown that the intellect, will or emotions were impaired.

HOWEVER, no degree of lessening of the degree of guilt can change the intrinsically wrong act. An insane person who kills another has committed a grave wrong. However, because of the person's mental incapacity the degree of guilt and punishment must reflect this defect.

When those who hold that abortion, euthanasia and the destruction of human embryos are grave moral wrongs against human life, the pressure is on to also reject the death penalty and war as if they are intrinsically wrong as well. To suggest otherwise is to be accused of an inconsistency which invites cries of hypocrisy and the dismissal of one's argument. What is one to make of this?

IT IS most unfortunate to see large numbers of Catholics being drawn into this most un-Catholic position. Catholic moral theology does not teach that the death penalty and engaging in war are intrinsic wrongs. These two issues are subject to prudential judgment by those competent civil authorities entrusted with these responsibilities. Certainly there can be protest and disagreement.

Other policies and programs can be advocated. All this lies in the realm of human judgment. The application of the death penalty and the decision to go to war, and the manner in which the war is conducted, are not matters of intrinsic moral judgment. Catholic moral theology recognizes, in principle, the right (and the responsibility) of the state (through proper authorities) to carry out the death penalty. The traditional Catholic understanding of war comes through our just war thinking - Catholic moral theology is not passivist. Catholic moral theology recognizes the right (and the duty) of a country to defend itself against unjust aggression as well as to come to the aid of a nation who is unjustly attacked.

IT IS often said that to allow the death penalty and to engage in war are anti-life. This is clearly not Catholic teaching. The use of the death penalty and to engage in war are done in the name of respect for life! How so? The death penalty and war against unjust aggression are done in the name of justice and the common good. In order to protect the innocent and vulnerable from those individuals and nations which exploit and murder, competent authorities turn to these means as a way of defending innocent life.

By contrast, abortion, euthanasia and the destruction of human embryonic life never witness to life, promote justice, or serve the common good. These always advance the culture of death.

There is a consistent Catholic teaching on the duty to respect all human life. It is a consistent life ethic which honors relevant moral distinctions.


8 posted on 08/17/2004 1:44:28 AM PDT by cpforlife.org (RE: Abortion, the question is not when Human Life begins, but how and when it will be ended.)
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To: cpforlife.org

BUMP


9 posted on 08/17/2004 1:48:29 AM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: cpforlife.org

Is any more of Cardinal Ratzinger's interview available in English?


10 posted on 08/17/2004 1:57:34 AM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

It appears to be in French only.........

Perhaps John Kerry could translate the Cardinal's teaching on the Life of the unborn and read it to his crowds on the campaign trail.


11 posted on 08/17/2004 2:10:56 AM PDT by cpforlife.org (RE: Abortion, the question is not when Human Life begins, but how and when it will be ended.)
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To: nickcarraway
Nick, don't you think this article from CNS is hugh? It has the potential to be hugh, at least.

I am quite surprised at the level of force against Kerry, it is very series--IMO.

Some might say a weapon of mass instruction.

12 posted on 08/17/2004 2:16:40 AM PDT by cpforlife.org (RE: Abortion, the question is not when Human Life begins, but how and when it will be ended.)
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To: cpforlife.org

It's just that I would like to hear more deatails about what he said, I am very interested in the subject. I am glad the cardinal mentioned this.


13 posted on 08/17/2004 2:27:09 AM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: broadsword

This is more than just a Catholic issue. I see this as an
issue that maybe the defining element of faith in Yeshua
the God of Israel and in Jesus Christ. When I became a
true Christian and decided to live my faith and not just
profess belief, the passage from Deut:30:19 says it all.

I call Heaven and earth to record this day against you,
that I have set before you life and death, blessing and
cursing: therefore choose life that both thou and thy seed
may live:

Everything else good comes along after a person elects to
choose life and decisions that promote life. JMHO


14 posted on 08/17/2004 6:47:50 AM PDT by jusduat (I am a strange anomaly)
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To: cpforlife.org

May I theorize for just an instant? This IS huge, in that collectively, the bishops are finally taking a unified stand against the evil one's ministrations. There have been some very courageous bishops who pre-dated this action and their courage shored up more of them to take a stand. Of course there are still those clergy who publicly disagree with God's commandment against killing and will spin this any number of ways, or say 'it is not the force of law'.


15 posted on 08/17/2004 6:48:49 AM PDT by hardhead (Unfathomable Paradox: A Destitute Lawyer)
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To: cpforlife.org

Most excellent! Thanks for posting.


16 posted on 08/17/2004 7:14:41 AM PDT by Jaded ((Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society. - Mark Twain))
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To: cpforlife.org
Thanks for your succint post on the idea of intrinsic moral right and wrong. This is helpful in arguing our point with Catholics who have been blindsided by the Democrat party and unfortunately Bishops in many Dioceses who are afraid of looking as though they are supporting a particular party, when all they would be doing is stating Catholic teaching unequivocally.

We were discussing this at our recent family reunion, and my sister in law, who lives in Lee's Summit MO said that her Bishop sent out a letter stating that if a candidate doesn't support the pro-life position, it is ok to vote for that person if their 'Social Justice' ideas are in line with Catholic teaching. This is WRONG!! Life trumps all other ideas; a Catholic is only right in voting for someone who may not be pro-life if the alternative is someone who is more rabidly pro-abortion and would further erode any protections the unborn may have.

17 posted on 08/17/2004 7:16:19 AM PDT by SuziQ (Bush in 2004-Because we MUST!!!)
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To: NYer; Salvation

ping


18 posted on 08/17/2004 7:18:28 AM PDT by Jaded ((Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society. - Mark Twain))
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To: cpforlife.org

I just sent my Pastor and the Associate a link to that article by Fr. Maestri. They are both pro-life, but I know that the Pastor is a big Democrat supporter, so I hope this will help him in debunking that 'Seamless Garment' idea.


19 posted on 08/17/2004 7:21:27 AM PDT by SuziQ (Bush in 2004-Because we MUST!!!)
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To: cpforlife.org

I know you won't like this but I don't approve of this use of abortion by politicized AmChurch at all.

But I'm neither Laura nor Barbara Bush ... the sort who believes that the number of abortions should be "reduced" while abortion itself remains perfectly legal "in the first trimester only."

And I'm not Georg W. Bush who -- though he says he believes life begins at conception -- legitimized the State's funding of human experimentation and who -- though he says he's personally against abortion -- stated "It's up to her" during his campaign when asked what he'd tell the daughter of a friend who'd been impregnated against her will.

Seriously ... the very phrasing of the question (personal counsel of a friend's daughter) begged for his "personal views" to come to the fore. They didn't.

Why? Because he HAS NO SUCH PERSONAL CONVICTION to speak of.

On the other hand -- what a marvelous opportunity for Pro-Life Catholics to feel like they've done something and pat themselves on the back for keeping in power the party -- and the very family, even -- who made abortion the linchpin of our population control program.




20 posted on 08/17/2004 7:30:46 AM PDT by Askel5 († Cooperatio voluntaria ad suicidium est legi morali contraria. †)
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To: cpforlife.org

And again -- particularly in the current climate -- I'm confident the Bishops are only begging to be stripped of their tax-exempt status by hitting candidates instead of sticking to issues.

At least if they stick to issues, they don't deform the conscience in the process by accustoming it first to the Exceptions to the rule or the pragmatic acceptance of certain wrongs in order to make a right.


21 posted on 08/17/2004 7:32:49 AM PDT by Askel5 († Cooperatio voluntaria ad suicidium est legi morali contraria. †)
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To: cpforlife.org

=== The major media will block it.

We'll see about this. Yesterday's Picayune had the Catholic voting block (per the abortion issues) on the front page above the fold.


22 posted on 08/17/2004 7:33:34 AM PDT by Askel5 († Cooperatio voluntaria ad suicidium est legi morali contraria. †)
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To: Askel5
Yes it's posted elsewhere. But for convenience sake:

http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/frontpage/index.ssf?/base/news-2/1092657301240360.xml

Catholic vote is key for Bush, Kerry
Many faithful fit in undecided group

The Times-Picayune - Monday, August 16, 2004

By Bruce Nolan

Staff writer

When President Bush scored an enormous hit with a campaign appearance this month before a Catholic men's organization, he was preaching to the choir as he basked in the approval of an enthusiastic subset of Catholic voters that both he and Sen. John Kerry covet.

But neither can definitively claim those voters.

In an election year in which voters appear closely divided and a remarkable number have already chosen their candidates, polls show there are fewer "undecideds" than usual.

But "look at any good study of undecideds, and there's a big hunk of Catholics in that group. They're up for grabs," said John Green, a political scientist at the University of Akron and an expert on the relationship between religious affiliation and voting.

Moreover, Catholics are thickly settled in key battleground states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where a swing of relatively few popular votes can reap a rich reward of electoral votes.

Both candidates -- Bush, a Republican and a Methodist, and Kerry, a Democrat and Roman Catholic -- are trying to woo them.

Pollsters diagnosed a powerful dynamic at work in recent national elections: The degree to which a voter is religiously devout is a strong predictor of political preference.

Specifically, people who worship somewhere weekly -- where is less important than how often -- are much more likely to vote Republican than those who worship less frequently, or whose religious expression is more private, Green and other pollsters say.

There are several sizable exceptions to that rule: African-Americans, Hispanics and Jewish voters, religiously observant or not, are solidly Democratic.

But elsewhere the pattern holds.

A recent Time magazine poll found that likely voters who considered themselves "very religious," regardless of faith, favored Bush over Kerry by 59 percent to 35 percent. Those who considered themselves "not religious" favored Kerry 69 percent to 22 percent.

Those figures also held in the last presidential election, when so-called "frequent attenders" at worship favored Bush over Al Gore by 20 points, according to the Voter News Service.

As Green and Mark Silk put it late last year in "Religion in the News," a journal published by Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., "The Republican alliance of white Protestant and committed other Christians will once again face off against the Democratic coalition of minority faiths and the less committed."

White, non-Hispanic Catholics, who make up the majority of the church's 62 million members, follow that pattern.

Regular Mass-goers like those in the Knights of Columbus, which comprised Bush's appreciative audience two weeks ago, are already in his camp.

They are cemented there by Bush's stand on critical cultural issues such as opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage, Green said.

Catholics who attend Mass irregularly or rarely have a preference for Kerry.

"But you've got a lot of Catholics in the middle," Green said. "Independent Catholics are sometimes described as quintessential swing voters. Many feel conflicted. On social issues they're pulled toward Bush. On economic and social welfare issues, they're pulled to Kerry and the Democrats."

Some measures indicate that Catholics overall are now closely divided between Bush and Kerry. At least one national pollster, John Zogby of Zogby International, gives Kerry a small but significant lead.

Among those still up in the air are many moderate Catholics, perhaps churchgoing, who feel conflicted about both candidates, Green said.

They don't like Kerry on abortion (he says he personally opposes it but supports a woman's right to have one), but they note that his economic plans and opposition to the death penalty fit better in the Catholic church's social justice teachings. At the same time, they don't like Bush's economic world view, but they back his position on big cultural issues, like his opposition to abortion and gay marriage.

"I have a lot of friends who are 'social justice' Catholics, and they're really conflicted," said Wayne Parent, a political scientist at Louisiana State University.

This was not always so.

Politically, Catholics used to be solidly Democratic. After their arrival from Ireland and other parts of Europe, they helped define the American immigrant experience. Coming of age as blue-collar families in big cities, they adopted traditional Democratic politics and became a pillar of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal coalition formed in the 1930s and '40s.

Their high point as a cohesive voting group came in 1960, when 80 percent to 85 percent voted for Democrats in the election that made John F. Kennedy the nation's first, and so far only, Roman Catholic president, Green said.

But later years brought prosperity and upward mobility. As Catholics continued to make their way in significant numbers into the professions, corporate life and the suburbs, Republicanism became increasingly attractive, Green said.

Today Catholics overall -- including Hispanics and black Catholics -- remain slightly Democratic. Most recently they voted for Bill Clinton twice, and then Al Gore in 2000.

But the Catholic monolith shattered long ago.

The "Catholic vote" is now so diverse "I deny the existence of such a thing as the 'Catholic vote,' " Zogby said. "For me, all the evidence points to being a Catholic is not a major identifier for people when they take a stand on an issue or when they vote."

But if mere religious affiliation is not a strong shaper of political opinion, the intensity of religious commitment is, Zogby and others say.

And of the two candidates, Kerry is having a more difficult time reaching out to audiences who are more openly religious.

Part of that is perhaps Kerry's own preference in religious expression. Although he is a practicing Catholic who regularly attends Mass, he rarely talks about faith and rarely uses religious language to describe how he comes by his political philosophy.

"He is a man of faith. He just doesn't wear it on his sleeve," said Renee Lapeyrolerie, Kerry's spokeswoman in Louisiana.

In speeches last month before the NAACP and a gathering of African Methodist Episcopal church officials, however, Kerry did quote the Epistle of James to the effect that faith without works is dead.

Moreover, under a voluntary agreement that United States bishops reached earlier this summer, Kerry is not welcome to make a campaign appearance at a Catholic university, hospital or other setting, owing to his position in support of abortion.

Even so, several organizations of grassroots Catholics have pulled themselves together to work for Kerry, said Lapeyrolerie, and a "Catholics for Kerry" button is offered at www.catholicsforkerry04.org.

Bush, by contrast, enjoys a tactical advantage.

Although Catholic bishops believe that his economic policies do not reflect the church's regard for the poor, they have decided that abortion and the life issues are of paramount importance.

Thus Bush was able to address the Knights of Columbus, and receive a standing ovation, with two Catholic cardinals with him at the head table.

That said, Zogby, Green and others believe that some Catholics -- churchgoing or not -- remain in play.

Zogby sees evidence that Catholics' recent preference for Democrats is still holding, thus Bush's appearance before the conservative Knights of Columbus.

"He has to energize that base. He has to get every vote he can out of them," he said.

23 posted on 08/17/2004 8:59:02 AM PDT by cpforlife.org (RE: Abortion, the question is not when Human Life begins, but how and when it will be ended.)
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To: Askel5
I'm not patting myself on the back. I am making the best of a bad situation. I am following my conscience as formed by authentic Catholic teaching.

Tell me Askel what else would you have me do? What is your alternative for me?

Below are two passages that I think answer your frustration on this, which I have as well. Let me know what you think.


A Brief Catechism for Catholic Voters
--Fr. Stephen F. Torraco, PhD

http://ewtn.com/vote/brief_catechism.htm

8. What if none of the candidates are completely pro-life?

As Pope John Paul II explains in his encyclical, Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), “…when it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law, an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and morality. This does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects.” Logically, it follows from these words of the Pope that a voter may likewise vote for that candidate who will most likely limit the evils of abortion or any other moral evil at issue.





9. What if one leading candidate is anti-abortion except in the cases of rape or incest, another leading candidate is completely pro-abortion, and a trailing candidate, not likely to win, is completely anti-abortion. Would I be obliged to vote for the candidate not likely to win?

In such a case, the Catholic voter may clearly choose to vote for the candidate not likely to win. In addition, the Catholic voter may assess that voting for that candidate might only benefit the completely pro-abortion candidate, and, precisely for the purpose of curtailing the evil of abortion, decide to vote for the leading candidate that is anti-abortion but not perfectly so. This decision would be in keeping with the words of the Pope quoted in question 8 above.
24 posted on 08/17/2004 9:35:48 AM PDT by cpforlife.org (RE: Abortion, the question is not when Human Life begins, but how and when it will be ended.)
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To: cpforlife.org

I would have you do nothing else ... you're the perfect example of the ONLY sort of effective action there is.

And it's your dedication in this regard which informs you -- better than most Catholics -- of the true nature of the allegedly "pro-life" GOP AND Catholic Church.

I think it's a pity that all those who wish to "reduce" abortions by clinging to whatever appears rational in the way of hard and fast exceptions to the rule where Human Life's concerned simply followed those convictions through on a regular basis.

For example, it makes perfect sense that BOTH secular and Catholic hospitals and medical schools MUST require ALL physicians to perform abortions. If the exception exists in any defensible fashion, it clearly must be supported at all times.

It is dead wrong to support it strictly politically but not in practice.

In fact, I think it would go a long way toward engendering real respect for the "compromises" of the Pro-Lifers if they took the front seat where requiring all doctors to be prepared for "some" abortions and thus evidenced their genuine ability to compromise the issue so long as "most" abortions were deemed morally illegitimate.



25 posted on 08/17/2004 9:54:42 AM PDT by Askel5 († Cooperatio voluntaria ad suicidium est legi morali contraria. †)
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To: cpforlife.org

Likewise, it's absolutely illogical for the Pro-lifers to pretend there should be ANY restrictions on manufacturing embryos (cloned or otherwise) for ANY purpose whatsoever so long as those lives are terminated within the window of statutory Non-Personhood our Pro-Life President established with his somewhat limited human experimentation on stem cells provided to him "already killed" by the private sector who's intensely interested in keeping it a Clean Hands operation.


26 posted on 08/17/2004 9:56:57 AM PDT by Askel5 († Cooperatio voluntaria ad suicidium est legi morali contraria. †)
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To: 2nd amendment mama; A2J; Agitate; Alouette; Annie03; aposiopetic; Askel5; attagirl; axel f; ...

ProLife Ping!

If anyone wants on or off my ProLife Ping List, please notify me here or by freepmail.

27 posted on 08/17/2004 2:10:50 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback (Don't miss your chance to be a goon: Freepmail me to get on your state's KerryTrack Ping list!)
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To: 2ndMostConservativeBrdMember; afraidfortherepublic; Alas; al_c; american colleen; annalex; ...


28 posted on 08/17/2004 9:59:12 PM PDT by Coleus (God gave us the right to life and self preservation and a right to defend ourselves and families)
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To: broadsword

I don't agree with you here.


29 posted on 08/18/2004 12:04:41 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

For many decades the vast majority of Amchurchers voted for the Babykiller party. There is no sign that it is going to change anytime soon. And the Amchurch clergy is staunchly in the pocket of the Babykiller socialists.

It's a fact, my friend. Your argument is with hard demographic trends, not with me.

Peace


30 posted on 08/18/2004 12:14:12 AM PDT by broadsword (Liberalism is the societal AIDS virus that thwarts national defense.)
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To: broadsword
"If we Catholics acted like Catholics instead of pagans, America would not be in the mess it is presently in."

I 've already been beaten up once today on FR about a similar message/point about Jews, but it applies to all of us....

if Catholics would obey their tenets,and Jews would , theirs, and Mormons, theirs, and Baptist, and even Muslims, then our world, let alone our country, would be in good hands....

afterall, most solid religions are against abortion and gay marriage and promiscuity and drug abuse.....

if only we actually did what our beliefs tell us to do, if only....

but that's the problem....we are fake Catholics, and fake Jews, and fake Mormons, and fake Baptists, and fake Muslims, and on and on....

we might talk the talk but we don't walk the walk, by and large.....

31 posted on 08/18/2004 12:29:47 AM PDT by cherry (e)
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To: cherry
if Catholics would obey their tenets
Yes.

and Jews
Yes.

and Mormons
Yes.

and Baptists
Yes.

and even Muslims
OMG! No, no, no, no, NO! Read the Koran, my friend, and you will never post anything like this again. The Muslims that follow the tenets of their religion are the terrorists.

God bless you for your kindness, but don't waste it on those who offer you nothing but a burkah or a beheading.
32 posted on 08/18/2004 12:43:25 AM PDT by broadsword (Liberalism is the societal AIDS virus that thwarts national defense.)
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To: broadsword
If we Catholics acted like Catholics instead of pagans, America would not be in the mess it is presently in. Yes, I blame us and nobody else. If we were even half Christlike, this nation would be totally transformed to the good.

It not only applies to Catholics, most other denominations are equally guilty.

33 posted on 08/18/2004 12:50:43 AM PDT by c-b 1
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To: c-b 1

Yes, I suppose, but I would rather keep it in house and not blame others for our failings.

All of this was forseen, BTW. It is the fault of the Church.


34 posted on 08/18/2004 1:09:31 AM PDT by broadsword (Liberalism is the societal AIDS virus that thwarts national defense.)
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To: cpforlife.org
Thus Bush was able to address the Knights of Columbus, and receive a standing ovation, with two Catholic cardinals with him at the head table.

Do you know who the two cardinals were?

35 posted on 08/18/2004 7:43:30 AM PDT by ELS
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