Skip to comments.Cao’s Catholic conscience
Posted on 11/11/2009 6:51:28 PM PST by Alex Murphy
When the House narrowly passed its health care reform bill on Saturday night, it received 219 votes from Democrats and one from a Republican. I mentioned already that I was at the hospital with my daughter when it passed so I was passing time following reporters and pundits on Twitter. Many of them expressed shock — or at least surprise — that any Republican would support the bill. And when it was revealed that the lone vote came from Louisiana Rep. Joseph Cao, people referred to him mostly in that “oh yeah, he’s the guy who beat the corrupt William Jefferson” sort of way. Note this lede from a Christian Science Monitor story:
Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao (R) of Louisiana must not have gotten the message from House Republicans that no one in the GOP caucus — repeat no one — would vote with Democrats on a sweeping overhaul of the US healthcare system.
In a vote late Saturday night, Representative Cao — a vulnerable freshman in a Democratic district still devastated by hurricane Katrina — broke ranks, casting the lone Republican vote for the legislation.
“I have always said that I would put aside partisan wrangling to do the business of the people. My vote tonight was based on my priority of doing what is best for my constituents,” he said in a statement after the vote.
In Cao’s district, 3 out of 4 voters chose Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential elections. In 2004, President Bush won only 24 percent of the vote here.
Now, other stories point out that Republicans knew that Cao’s vote would likely be in favor. But anyone who pays attention to the religion angle of Cao’s story would know the same. Heck, he said he favored the legislation three months ago … with one major caveat. We looked at media coverage of his statement last August.
He had told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that he could not support any bill that permits public money to be spent on abortion. He said that any bill without strong language prohibiting the use of federal funding for abortion would be “a no-go” for him. He explained:
“Being a Jesuit, I very much adhere to the notion of social justice,” Cao said. “I do fully understand the need of providing everyone with access to health care, but to me personally, I cannot be privy to a law that will allow the potential of destroying thousands of innocent lives.
“I know that voting against the health care bill will probably be the death of my political career,” Cao said, “but I have to live with myself, and I always reflect on the phrase of the New Testament, ‘How does it profit a man’s life to gain the world but to lose his soul.’ “
So not much of a surprise, then, that he voted in favor of the bill, considering the passage of the Stupak amendment barring taxpayer funding of abortions.
Many of the stories that mention Cao’s vote take notice of his Catholicism, however obliquely. But I do have to point out this bit from a post titled “Who is Cao” from Jay Newton-Small at Time:
Cao originally became a Roman Catholic Priest, serving six years in a Jesuit seminary after getting his bachelors degree in physics at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. After leaving the priesthood he received a master’s in philosophy from Fordham University in New York and a law degree from Loyola in New Orleans in 2000, where he also taught undergraduate philosophy.
Uh, not exactly.
You can read this wonderful Dec. 2008 interview of Cao by one Dan Gilgoff over at U.S. News & World Report for more information, but in it he explains that he only made it halfway through Jesuit formation and was never ordained. That interview, which includes a fascinating explanation of why he left the seminary, also quotes Cao saying that health care reform is a priority for him.
So not much of a surprise, then, that he voted in favor of the bill, considering the passage of the Stupak amendment barring taxpayer funding of abortions. Many of the stories that mention Caos vote take notice of his Catholicism, however obliquely.
Must be one of those Notre Dame Catholics. He is a clown because the lib Dems are going to rip out the abortion ban.
Cao’s a con-man, clown or collectivist. Get out of my life, statist.
Just as it is gravely wrong to take from individuals what they can accomplish by their own initiative and industry and give it to the community, so also it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do. For every social activity ought of its very nature to furnish help to the members of the body social, and never destroy and absorb them.
Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno, 79
By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending. In fact, it would appear that needs are best understood and satisfied by people who are closest to them and who act as neighbours to those in need. It should be added that certain kinds of demands often call for a response which is not simply material but which is capable of perceiving the deeper human need. One thinks of the condition of refugees, immigrants, the elderly, the sick, and all those in circumstances which call for assistance, such as drug abusers: all these people can be helped effectively only by those who offer them genuine fraternal support, in addition to the necessary care.
John Paul II, Centesimus annus, 48
Apparently former Seminarian Cao didn't learn his social doctrine very well.
But that is more-or-less typical for individuals who self identify as very much adhere(adhering) to the notion of social justice
At least IMHO.
This seems to be a pretty common problem. I know you've mentioned that the priests that are coming out of seminaries now are more conservative, but how much of this "social justice" crap is going to get eliminated?
Any church that takes huge sums from the govt for it's charity work becomes dependent. Will a new cadre of conservative priests change this?
It seems like Cao brought some communism from Vietnam with him.
“For, while the socialists would destroy the “right” of property, alleging it to be a human invention altogether opposed to the inborn equality of man, and, claiming a community of goods, argue that poverty should not be peaceably endured, and that the property and privileges of the rich may be rightly invaded, the Church, with much greater wisdom and good sense, recognizes the inequality among men, who are born with different powers of body and mind, inequality in actual possession, also, and holds that the right of property and of ownership, which springs from nature itself, must not be touched and stands inviolate.
Moreover, labor hard that the children of the Catholic Church neither join nor favor in any way whatsoever this abominable sect; let them show, on the contrary, by noble deeds and right dealing in all things, how well and happily human society would hold together were each member to shine as an example of right doing and of virtue.”
Leo XIII, Quod Apostolici Muneris “On Socialism”
You know another thing that burns me up about Catholics supporting this garbage?
It is *flagrantly unconstitutional*. I’m NO fan of this kind of intrusion in the private sector, but at least if the individual states did it they would probably be doing so legally—at least where their state constitutions allow.
These...I almost typed something mean....these ignorant Catholics think that some misguided notion of “social justice” gives them the right to *take people’s money,* *force them to buy health insurance* and flagrantly violate the 10th Amendment?
Are you KIDDING me? Do they know nothing of the theological principle of *subsidiarity*?
Foolish Catholics with horrendous formation in the faith. Go back to school Cao...and all my other fellow Catholics who are parroting these same ridiculous arguments. The Church *does not allow you* to violate the U.S. Constitution to give people healthcare.
So are Jesuits liberals or not?
Yet he claims to be a Jesuit. He's lying. What else is he lying about? For what other lies are FReepers who don't read complete articles falling?
Yes. You might have to be Catholic to fully appreciate it, though, as change usually comes slowly. Still, I've seen looney-left Parishes take a hard turn in the opposite direction just with the arrival of a newly ordained Associate Pastor.
In Caos district, 3 out of 4 voters chose Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential elections. In 2004, President Bush won only 24 percent of the vote here
Hello, give the man a break
You would think that would have been included in the excerpts in the first post, it seems to clarify the congesscritter’s statement.
Cao is on his way to the political “execution chamber”. That trip started the day he was elected in an overwhelmingly D district. He only won because he ran against a D crook. This health care vote was a desperate attempt to gain favor with the electorate. He is figuratively, a “dead man walking”. Fortunately, Rep. Owen(D), from the NY 23rd CD, is also a “dead man walking” provided the Rs can get their act together.
"...and thus I work surreptitiously to push the fascist agenda of those who desire a "global authority" over the entire planet."
Cao speculates in this article his political career might be over.
We can only hope. The 54% of Roman Catholics who voted for Obama obviously would feel right at home with this doofus who tells us he actually believes the democrats when they promise not to fund abortions with tax dollars.
It's coming, thanks to fools like Cao. Prepare for it.
Then Cao should either be a democrat or find himself an honest profession.
The problem is RC's do not want to engage on this topic. It is a liberal church that has a minority of conservatives of varying degree. Once the life issues are "finessed" the vast majority of RC's will vote Rat.
I'm not sure it can be changed. I think this liberal bent is a result of organizational structure and it's prior history as a part of the state.
Catholicism; The Mother Church of the Democratic Party
or is it
The Democrats; Official Party of The Roman Catholics