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Thoughts On ‘Roman Catholics For Obama’
First Things ^ | 5.19.08 | Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap

Posted on 05/21/2008 7:38:20 PM PDT by Coleus

Forty years ago this month, Bobby Kennedy was still alive and running for the Democratic party’s 1968 presidential nomination. I was a seminarian in Washington, D.C. I was also an active volunteer in Kennedy’s campaign. I can still remember helping with secretarial work in the same room where Edward Kennedy and Pierre Salinger labored away on the campaign’s strategy. It was my first involvement in elective politics, and, after the Vietnam Tet Offensive in February and Martin Luther King Jr.’s murder on April 4, Kennedy’s cause seemed urgent. Then, on June 5, Kennedy was gunned down himself.

After Robert Kennedy died, the meaning of the 1968 election seemed to evaporate. I lost interest in politics. I didn’t get involved again until the rise of Jimmy Carter. Carter fascinated me because he seemed like an untypical politician. He was plain spoken, honest, a serious Christian and a Washington outsider. So I supported him during his 1976 campaign when I was a young priest working in Pennsylvania. After his election as president, I came to Denver as pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Thornton in 1977. I eventually got involved with the 1980 Colorado campaign for Carter’s re-election on the invitation of a parishioner and Democratic party activist—Polly Baca, who was and remains a good friend.

Carter had one serious strike against him. The U.S. Supreme Court had legalized abortion on demand in its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, and Carter the candidate waffled about restricting it. At the time, I knew Carter was wrong in his views about Roe and soft toward permissive abortion. But even as a priest, I justified working for him because he wasn’t aggressively “pro-choice.” True, he held a bad position on a vital issue, but I believed he was right on so many more of the “Catholic” issues than his opponent seemed to be. The moral calculus looked easy. I thought we could remedy the abortion problem after Carter was safely returned to office.

Carter lost his bid for re-election, but even with an avowedly prolife Ronald Reagan as president, the belligerence, dishonesty, and inflexibility of the pro-choice lobby has stymied almost every effort to protect unborn human life since.

In the years after the Carter loss, I began to notice that very few of the people, including Catholics, who claimed to be “personally opposed” to abortion really did anything about it. Nor did they intend to. For most, their personal opposition was little more than pious hand-wringing and a convenient excuse—exactly as it is today. In fact, I can’t name any pro-choice Catholic politician who has been active, in a sustained public way, in trying to discourage abortion and to protect unborn human life—not one. Some talk about it, and some may mean well, but there’s very little action. In the United States in 2008, abortion is an acceptable form of homicide. And it will remain that way until Catholics force their political parties and elected officials to act differently.

Why do I mention this now? Earlier this spring, a group called “Roman Catholics for Obama ’08” quoted my own published words in the following way:

So can a Catholic in good conscience vote for a pro-choice candidate? The answer is: I can’t, and I won’t. But I do know some serious Catholics— people whom I admire—who may. I think their reasoning is mistaken, but at least they sincerely struggle with the abortion issue, and it causes them real pain. And most important: They don’t keep quiet about it; they don’t give up; they keep lobbying their party and their representatives to change their pro-abortion views and protect the unborn. Catholics can vote for pro-choice candidates if they vote for them despite—not because of—their pro-choice views.

What’s interesting about this quotation—which is accurate but incomplete—is the wording that was left out. The very next sentences in the article of mine they selected, which Roman Catholics for Obama neglected to quote, run as follows:

But [Catholics who support pro-choice candidates] also need a compelling proportionate reason to justify it. What is a “proportionate” reason when it comes to the abortion issue? It’s the kind of reason we will be able to explain, with a clean heart, to the victims of abortion when we meet them face to face in the next life—which we most certainly will. If we’re confident that these victims will accept our motives as something more than an alibi, then we can proceed.

On their website, Roman Catholics for Obama stress that:

After faithful thought and prayer, we have arrived at the conclusion that Senator Obama is the candidate whose views are most compatible with the Catholic outlook, and we will vote for him because of that—and because of his other outstanding qualities—despite our disagreements with him in specific areas.

I’m familiar with this reasoning. It sounds a lot like me thirty years ago. And thirty years later, we still have about a million abortions a year. Maybe Roman Catholics for Obama will do a better job at influencing their candidate. It could happen. And I sincerely hope it does, since Planned Parenthood of the Chicago area, as recently as February 2008, noted that Senator Barack Obama “has a 100 percent pro-choice voting record both in the U.S. Senate and the Illinois Senate.”  Changing the views of “pro-choice” candidates takes a lot more than verbal gymnastics, good alibis, and pious talk about “personal opposition” to killing unborn children. I’m sure Roman Catholics for Obama know that, and I wish them good luck. They’ll need it. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., is archbishop of Denver.

Roman Catholics for Obama ’08



TOPICS: Culture/Society; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2008; archbishopchaput; catholicvote; catholicvoter; chaput; obama; religiousleft
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1 posted on 05/21/2008 7:38:21 PM PDT by Coleus
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Archbishop Chaput offers comments about ‘Roman Catholics for Obama’
The group “Roman Catholics for Obama ‘08” recently quoted Archbishop Charles Chaput’s January 16 Denver Catholic Register column on “10 points for Catholic Citizens to remember.”  According to Archbishop Chaput, the group’s use of his words is accurate -- and curiously incomplete. Read the Archbishop’s May 19 web column for his thoughts on “Roman Catholics for Obama.”

2 posted on 05/21/2008 7:39:36 PM PDT by Coleus (Abortion and Physician-assisted Murder (aka-Euthanasia), Don't Democrats just kill ya?)
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To: Coleus

Any Catholic that supports Obama is not a true Catholic. I’m ashamed to call them members of my faith.


3 posted on 05/21/2008 7:41:14 PM PDT by Abbeville Conservative (Just a bitter South Carolinian clinging to my religon and guns.)
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To: Coleus

Justify anything.


4 posted on 05/21/2008 7:42:23 PM PDT by lookout88 (Combat search and rescue officer's dad.)
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To: NYer; Aquinasfan; Campion; AnAmericanMother; Pyro7480; narses; ninenot

Ping


5 posted on 05/21/2008 7:42:42 PM PDT by StAthanasiustheGreat (Vocatus Atque Non Vocatus Deus Aderit)
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To: Coleus

I hope it doesn’t take Chaput another 30 years to figure out that Polly Baca-Barragan is someone he shouldn’t be friends with.


6 posted on 05/21/2008 7:43:18 PM PDT by A.A. Cunningham
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To: Coleus

Catholics are a group that went more for Clinton over Dole in than normal and were a deciding factor in that race. I am not surprised that they might not support McDole either.


7 posted on 05/21/2008 7:49:22 PM PDT by Ingtar (Haley Barbour 2012, Because he has experience in Disaster Recovery. - ejonesie22)
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To: Coleus

I guess they rejected “Dogans for Dumbo” as a slogan.


8 posted on 05/21/2008 7:51:19 PM PDT by headsonpikes (Genocide is the highest sacrament of socialism.)
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To: Coleus

Looks like the “cafeteria” has added some new items. Look they all are fiery hot!


9 posted on 05/21/2008 7:51:55 PM PDT by badpacifist (They say your head can be a prison Then, these are just conjugal visits.)
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To: Ingtar
Catholics are a group that went more for Clinton over Dole in than normal and were a deciding factor in that race. >>>

and in the 00 and 04 election, it was the catholic vote that pushed bush over the top and bush reciprocated by appointing two pro-life Catholic Supreme Court Justices.

10 posted on 05/21/2008 7:54:35 PM PDT by Coleus (Abortion and Physician-assisted Murder (aka-Euthanasia), Don't Democrats just kill ya?)
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To: Ingtar

Teddy K., Nancy P., John Skerry, Chris Dodd, Patrick Leahy..
Need I go on?

These people are Democrats first, fake Catholics, Losers in Life and Americans last.

They are a disgrace and so is the majority of the US Clergy.


11 posted on 05/21/2008 7:55:05 PM PDT by acapesket
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To: Abbeville Conservative

I agree. There is no proportionate reason that can counterbalance a million dead babies a year. For shame!

As the writer said, I hope they have a good explanation for those unborn innocents when they meet them in the afterlife.


12 posted on 05/21/2008 7:57:59 PM PDT by Judith Anne
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To: StAthanasiustheGreat

Just who are these ‘Roman Catholics for Obama’? Most likely these are just the usual political hacks who just happen to be Catholics. This reminds of all of those cheering people standing behind Obama or Clinton. Who are these people who are so wildly passionate about the candidacy of Obama or Clinton? I’ll bet 90% of them are just hacks who belong to some Democrat political machine.


13 posted on 05/21/2008 7:59:14 PM PDT by cradle of freedom (Long live the Republic !)
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To: Coleus

Religious thread in Breaking News again!


14 posted on 05/21/2008 8:01:20 PM PDT by acapesket
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To: Ingtar

The Catholic vote has been moving steadily out of the Democrat camp and into the Republican camp for a couple of generations.

In the old days, the Republicans represented the WASP establishment, and the establishment was anti-Catholic. Catholics were mostly ethnics—Italians, Irish, Poles—and were looked down on and discriminated against. Catholics were mostly working class and a major part of the labor unions.

All that started to change with Roe v. Wade. If the bishops had been on the ball, the decision might even have been reversed. But lay Catholics started the pro-life movement, and have moved into the conservative camp more and more every year. Catholics were ahead of Evangelicals in the right to life movement, although no question that Evangelicals are now on board, too, and agreement on this point has done much to improve relations.

At least such was the case through 2004, when Bush and the Republican Party started to stumble. There is some risk that Catholics may shift over more slowly and Evangelicals may lose interest in the political process again. Let’s hope we can get the momentum going.

This is why it was a gigantic mistake to impose someone like McCain on the party—because there’s a terrible risk of losing heart and losing momentum.


15 posted on 05/21/2008 8:06:05 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Coleus

“Roman Catholics?”

I don’t think sooooooooooooooo... “CINO’s” would be accurate!


16 posted on 05/21/2008 8:12:19 PM PDT by kellynla (Freedom of speech makes it easier to spot the idiots! Semper Fi!)
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To: Cicero
This is why it was a gigantic mistake to impose someone like McCain on the party—because there’s a terrible risk of losing heart and losing momentum.

Perhaps the Catholic childhood in me is part of what makes it so I cannot vote for McCain. Though, it is more likely his actions since 1998 that did the trick.

17 posted on 05/21/2008 8:36:18 PM PDT by Ingtar (Haley Barbour 2012, Because he has experience in Disaster Recovery. - ejonesie22)
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To: A.A. Cunningham

Oh, I think he SHOULD remain her friend. Maybe someday he’ll have some positive influence on her. She doesn’t seem to have influenced HIM negatively.


18 posted on 05/21/2008 8:44:54 PM PDT by SuziQ
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To: acapesket

Culture/Society; Politics/Elections

it’s not in breaking news


19 posted on 05/21/2008 8:50:28 PM PDT by Coleus (Abortion and Physician-assisted Murder (aka-Euthanasia), Don't Democrats just kill ya?)
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To: Coleus

Okey doke.

I said it could be me on another thread.
I stand corrected.

Thanks for replying.

By the bye, I am not the only poster who has had this issue
FYI.


20 posted on 05/21/2008 8:56:08 PM PDT by acapesket
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