Skip to comments.McCain and the Pope: McCain cannot win in November without the Catholic vote (Reagan re-visited?)
Posted on 03/26/2008 8:47:44 PM PDT by Aussie Dasher
Sen. John McCain cannot win in November without the Catholic vote, which is around 25 percent of the electorate. How is he going to get it? The worst thing he could assume is that it is going to fall into his lap because Catholics will have nowhere else to go. Some people with nowhere to go simply stay home. Or they may go elsewhere, as it appears they have already been doing.
The Wall Street Journal reports that in "a recent survey of 19 states that have held presidential primaries this year, 63% of Catholics identified themselves as Democrats." That's up from 42 percent in 2005. Not a good augury for McCain.
Senator McCain not only needs Catholics who will vote for him, but who will each find ten other Catholics who will do the same. That is not going to happen unless he galvanizes the Catholic electorate. He has an opportunity to do this when Pope Benedict XVI visits the United States during April 15 to 20.
I was President Ronald Reagan's liaison to the Catholic community from 1983 to 1985. In the 1984 election, President Reagan won the Catholic vote and was the first Republican to do so. Senator McCain might want to take a look at how that happened.
I recall a definitive moment when the Democrats vociferously complained about the ads run by the Reagan campaign in Catholic newspapers. The ads featured a photo of Reagan and John Paul II smiling together. Was this not politicizing the Catholic Church? How dare the Republicans do such a thing?
At that time, Archbishop John Foley was the pope's minister of communications and principal spokesman at the Vatican. When asked, he responded to the complaints by saying that, since these two men shared so many fundamental moral principles in common, it was the most natural thing in the world that they should appear together in a photograph. Not wishing to hear that statement made again, the complaints from the Democrats immediately ceased.
The key here is that Archbishop Foley, who came from a Democratic family in Pennsylvania, did not have to make this up -- it was true. President Reagan had embraced moral positions on the family, on the sanctity of human life, on school prayer, and against pornography that were completely congruent with those of the Catholic Church. And, like John Paul II, he was fighting for them.
Can Senator McCain say the same? If not, a photograph with Benedict XVI is not going to solve his problem. He needs to campaign on these issues just as Reagan did. He cannot simply claim that point of view; he needs to promote it. He needs to articulate it.
In 1983, President Reagan wrote an article titled "Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation," which appeared in the Human Life Review. That was an extraordinary thing for a sitting president to have done. The fact that he did it convinced many Catholic pro-lifers that Reagan was sincere in his beliefs and was not simply acting for political advantage. They rallied around him.
Later, Reagan showed Bernard Nathanson's film The Silent Scream in the White House. What can Senator McCain do? He can invite his opponents on this issue -- whether it is Clinton or Obama -- to watch The Silent Scream, or its equivalent, with him. Ask them to join him in protecting innocent human life, including the partially born babies, whom both Obama and Clinton think have no right to life.
Senator McCain should draft his version of "Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation" and publish it in First Things or a comparable journal. Make it an issue. Proselytize. If Senator McCain does not think that is the role of a presidential candidate, then he does not think like Ronald Reagan.
Of course, this is a risky strategy, but risk conveys conviction, as Senator McCain demonstrated when he courageously risked his political future to promote the surge in Iraq. He needs to build upon that impression of courage by extending it to the social issues Catholics care about most. If he throws as much conviction and energy into these issues as he did into his backing of the surge, Catholics and others will flock to his banner -- and he can win. If he tries to coast on the moral issues, he will not.
So what should Senator McCain do when Benedict XVI visits in April? This is his opportunity to demonstrate that he understands the significance of the pope's thought as it relates to the institution of the family, the sanctity of human life, and the threat of radical Islam.
He needs to appear on EWTN with Raymond Arroyo and speak to that significance. He needs to do interviews in the National Catholic Register and other Catholic journals, and on Sirius radio's Catholic channel, which will cover the pope's visit by the hour. He needs to say that what the pope is expressing goes beyond a sectarian Catholic audience, as it addresses the core issues of Western civilization. He needs to say that Benedict was right at Regensburg in assessing moral relativism as the greatest threat to the West and to the integrity of reason, and that he was right also about the nature of the threat from an unreasoning version of Islam.
If this is the side you are on, Senator McCain -- as I believe it is -- you have this opportunity of letting others know, so they can rally to you.
Robert R. Reilly was a special assistant to President Reagan and served as his liaison to the Catholic Church. He is a frequent contributor to InsideCatholic.com and Crisis magazine.
I'm not Catholic but this seems amazing, considering that most Democratic candidates run on a Pro-Choice platform.
To add to my confusion, the majority of the Jewish population is Democratic as well.
Everyone's got a wedgie over Obama and Hillary.
They use to call us the silent majority, but now I am having an identity crisis.
He needs to get religion on embryonic stem cells.
McCain has a Hagee problem.
“How is he going to get it? “
He could start by exposing Obama’s refusal to support the Born Alive Infants’ Protection Act.
I cannot for the life of me understand why Obama’s support for infanticide is not receiving more attention.
Pass it on!
Theologies of Liberation ~ Pope Benedict XVI
"..Let us recall the fact that atheism and the denial of the human person, his liberty and rights, are at the core of the Marxist theory. This theory, then, contains errors which directly threaten the truths of the faith regarding the eternal destiny of individual persons. Moreover, to attempt to integrate into theology an analysis whose criterion of interpretation depends on this atheistic conception is to involve oneself in terrible contradictions. What is more, this misunderstanding of the spiritual nature of the person leads to a total subordination of the person to the collectivity, and thus to the denial of the principles of a social and political life which is in keeping with human dignity. ...
"..We are facing, therefore, a real system, even if some hesitate to follow the logic to its conclusion. As such, this system is a perversion of the Christian message as God entrusted it to His Church. This message in its entirety finds itself then called into question by the "theologies of liberation."
"...As a result, participation in the class struggle is presented as a requirement of charity itself. The desire to love everyone here and now, despite his class, and to go out to meet him with the non-violent means of dialogue and persuasion, is denounced as counterproductive and opposed to love.
If one holds that a person should not be the object of hate, it is claimed nevertheless that, if he belongs to the objective class of the rich, he is primarily a class enemy to be fought. Thus the universality of love of neighbor and brotherhood become an eschatological principle, which will only have meaning for the "new man", who arises out of the victorious revolution. ...
"..But the "theologies of liberation", which reserve credit for restoring to a place of honor the great texts of the prophets and of the Gospel in defense of the poor, go on to a disastrous confusion between the poor of the Scripture and the proletariat of Marx.
In this way they pervert the Christian meaning of the poor, and they transform the fight for the rights of the poor into a class fight within the ideological perspective of the class struggle. For them the Church of the poor signifies the Church of the class which has become aware of the requirements of the revolutionary struggle as a step toward liberation and which celebrates this liberation in its liturgy. ...
"..The new hermeneutic inherent in the "theologies of liberation" leads to an essentially political re-reading of the Scriptures. Thus, a major importance is given to the Exodus event inasmuch as it is a liberation from political servitude. Likewise, a political reading of the "Magnificat" is proposed. The mistake here is not in bringing attention to a political dimension of the readings of Scripture, but in making of this one dimension the principal or exclusive component. This leads to a reductionist reading of the Bible.
Likewise, one places oneself within the perspective of a temporal messianism, which is one of the most radical of the expressions of secularization of the Kingdom of God and of its absorption into the immanence of human history.
In giving such priority to the political dimension, one is led to deny the radical newness of the New Testament and above all to misunderstand the person of Our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true man, and thus the specific character of the salvation he gave us, that is above all liberation from sin, which is the source of all evils. ..
"...Faith in the Incarnate Word, dead and risen for all men, and whom "God made Lord and Christ" is denied. In its place is substituted a figure of Jesus who is a kind of symbol who sums up in Himself the requirements of the struggle of the oppressed.
An exclusively political interpretation is thus given to the death of Christ. In this way, its value for salvation and the whole economy of redemption is denied. ...
"..For them, the struggle of the classes is the way to unity.
The Eucharist thus becomes the Eucharist of the class. At the same time, they deny the triumphant force of the love of God which has been given to us.
"...the source of injustice is in the hearts of men. Therefore it is only by making an appeal to the moral potential of the person and to the constant need for interior conversion, that social change will be brought about which will be truly in the service of man.
For it will only be in the measure that they collaborate freely in these necessary changes through their own initiative and in solidarity, that people, awakened to a sense of their responsibility, will grow in humanity.
The inversion of morality and structures is steeped in a materialist anthropology which is incompatible with the dignity of mankind.
".. the overthrow by means of revolutionary violence of structures which generate violence is not ipso facto the beginning of a just regime. A major fact of our time ought to evoke the reflection of all those who would sincerely work for the true liberation of their brothers: millions of our own contemporaries legitimately yearn to recover those basic freedoms of which they were deprived by totalitarian and atheistic regimes which came to power by violent and revolutionary means, precisely in the name of the liberation of the people.
This shame of our time cannot be ignored: while claiming to bring them freedom, these regimes keep whole nations in conditions of servitude which are unworthy of mankind. Those who, perhaps inadvertently, make themselves accomplices of similar enslavements betray the very poor they mean to help.
The class struggle as a road toward a classless society is a myth which slows reform and aggravates poverty and injustice.
Those who allow themselves to be caught up in fascination with this myth should reflect on the bitter examples history has to offer about where it leads.
They would then understand that we are not talking here about abandoning an effective means of struggle on behalf of the poor for an ideal which has no practical effects. On the contrary, we are talking about freeing oneself from a delusion in order to base oneself squarely on the Gospel and its power of realization. ...
~ Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (nka Pope Benedict XVI) August 6, 1984
Wherever politics tries to be redemptive, it is promising too much. Where it wishes to do the work of God, it becomes, not divine, but demonic. ~ Pope Benedict XVI
...After all, every normal person wants to help the poor and needy, but helping them at the end of a gun, as the left always want us to do, renders any spiritual benefit inoperative for both parties. .... What we hear from Obama is the eternal mantra of the socialists; America is broken, millions have no health care, families cannot afford necessities, the rich are evil, we are selfish, we are unhappy, unfulfilled, without hope, desperate, poverty stricken, morally desolate, corrupt and racist. This nihilism is the lifeblood of all the democrat candidates, even hope you can believe in performers like Obama. When Michelle Obama claims she is only newly proud of her country, she does not exaggerate. In her world as in Obamas, they believe we are a mess, a land filled with the ignorant and unenlightened, filled with despair ..." (Fairchok).
So the Catholics are going to flock to pro-abortion obama and hillary?
Well, according to the statistics, they will, since most vote democrat.
He needs to align himself with the Pope's thuinking on the matter:
Pope Benedict XVI rightly teaches that proper stewardship of our environment is one of the individual Christian's responsibilities toward God, in this order:
"..an authentic...theology: [is] one that puts  God and the life of the spirit first,  direct charitable care of others second,  and only then draws consequences for a just social order." HERE
Note that only when we get to #, do we consider "governmental" involvement. (An that not on a large scale). bttt
Well, according to the statistics, they will, since most vote democrat.
Most non observant Catholics, who really aren't Catholic at all, vote Democrat. Church going, observant Catholics vote Republican and were key to Bush's reelection.
“Cafeteria Catholics” or “CINO” Catholics-In-Name-Only may vote Democrat...but Catholics faithful to Church doctrine vote Republican or Conservative. TRADITION. FAMILY. PROPERTY.
Makes sense as Dole lost a large portion of it and the election.
Some Catholics are going Dim this round because of a disordered view of the Iraq War.
“McCain has a Hagee problem.”
If Catholics voted like their doctrine dictates.....
but that stuff from the Vatican a few weeks ago...who knows.
Well, I’m a non-observant Catholic and I’m to the right of Rush Limbaugh. I would never vote for a democrat.
Many of my relatives, also Catholic, are staunch Republicans. My late uncle was a Republican party official on Long Island, New York, and he was Catholic.
My late father was also a Republican. (He was briefly a democrat, but switched to the GOP when Truman fired General MacArthur).
I find it very hard to believe than 63% of Catholics vote for democrats (unless they’re Mexican).
They really sell themselves short! Oh yes, and I am a grateful Catholic!
I don’t recall Reagan blathering on with crackpot hate theories about the Catholic Church.