Skip to comments.Roman Catholics for Obama '08
Posted on 07/18/2008 9:19:41 AM PDT by rrstar96
The first time I learned about the practice I was horrified. It was the mid-1990s. The source was Sharon Dunsmore, a nurse in a hospital NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) who wrote a small booklet about the experience. One day on the job she had been summoned stat to the delivery room to deal with an oops abortiona failed abortion in which the baby unexpectedly survived, or, as Dunsmore quoted the pediatrician on the scene, had the audacity to survive.
The team struggled as to whether to continue intubating the childnow a little boy, not a fetuswho clearly was not going to make it, mangled and destroyed as he was. He gasped for air as the doctor left the room, allowing nature to take its cruel course, leaving the boy with Dunsmore. No further medical care would be administered.
Typically in these situations, the infant is left aloneon a cold metal table, in a corner, on a bare bed, in a trash can. Dunsmore did not have the heart to do that. She stayed with the boy.
In her account, Dunsmore went into painstaking detail about what happened nextthe breathing, the wettingwith such vividness that I, a mere distant reader, couldnt decide whether to cry or vomit. Recalling the scene she described never ceases to make me sad. She wrote of how she named him Tiny Tim, took him in her arms, held his little hand, and sang to him: Jesus loves the little children . The little boy fought as best he could, but to no avail. She whispered goodbye to him, and told him he did matter to someone.
I have never forgotten that story and since then have even met some of these abortion survivors, one of whom visited Grove City College to speak before a spellbound group of our students at the campus chapel a few years ago.
OBAMAS STANCE ON ABORTION
The United States Congress has also learned about this grisly reality, and finally, in 2002, passed the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, requiring that babies like Tiny Tim who survive abortions receive medical care from the medical professionals in their midstmedical professionals who suddenly must morph from killers to their traditional roles of healers and helpers.
The bill was so obviously necessary and became so popular that it faced no real opposition, even from the most fanatical of Congress pro-abortion extremists, including Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer, and Ted Kennedy. Even NARAL, the National Abortion Rights Action League, supported the legislation.
Indeed, who could ever oppose such legislation? Actually, there is someone: Barack Obama, who appears as of May to be the frontrunner for the Democratic Partys presidential nomination, and possibly the next president of the United States.
Obama was not a member of the US Senate at the time that the Born Alive Infants Protection Act passed unanimously through both chambers of Congress. But he was a member of the Illinois state legislature, where similar legislation was introduced at the state level. There, Obama twice voted against the legislation, in 2002 and 2003, and as chair of the Health and Human Services Committee blocked another attempt to bring the legislation to the floor of the Illinois Senate.
The pro-life community in the state of Illinois was aghast, and pro-life Catholics were horrified. Yet today Catholics around the country are lining up to endorse Barack Obamas candidacy for president of the United States. They are stumping hard for Obama, who, if elected, has promised to do whatever he can to appoint justices and support legislation guaranteeing decades of protection for Roe v. Wade.
CATHOLICS IN HIS CAMP
Who are these Catholics? They are an eclectic bunch, from politicians like Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Democratic Governor Tim Kaine (Va.), Democratic Governor Bill Richardson (N.M.), Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-Mass.), Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), and Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) to Dan Rooney, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers football team.
The support of the Kennedys and Kerrys is no surprise; they are pro-abortion party hacks. But the endorsement of Dan Rooney, known to be a daily communicant, is bizarre. Among other reasons, his teams brutal Steel Curtain and Blitz-burg defenses do not call to my mind the image of the man that National Journal ranks as the most liberal member of the US Senate.
There are also, of course, the predictable Catholic colleges that, in defiance of repeated warnings by the bishops regarding Catholic institutions and pro-abortion politicians, have offered platforms to Obama in the form of on-campus political rallies: St. Peters College in New Jersey (in January) and Loras College in Iowa (in March).
But no group of Catholics seems quite as odd as the one titled Roman Catholics for Obama 08, which dubs Barack Obama the best and right candidate for Catholic voters. The group asserts: [W]e, as Catholics, believe Catholics can and should vote for Barack Obama because his platform aligns well with Catholic Social Teaching.
Their website (www.romancatholicsforobama.com) leads with a long quote from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, which states, The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of the moral vision for society In our society, human life is under direct attack from abortion and euthanasia.
But the group completely ignores the fact that Obamas record contradicts this statement, instead underscoring Obamas stance on the death penalty, terrorism, Iran, American diplomacy, regional diplomacy, nuclear weapons, the 21st century military, gun policy, global poverty, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, new partnerships in Asia, Darfur, and the culture of secrecy. In short, the group focuses on everything except the primary moral principles taught authoritatively by the Catholic Church.
Navigating ones way around the website of Roman Catholics for Obama 08 is a dispiriting immersion in inanity, moral equivalency, and delusional thinking. This is likewise true for another (ecumenical) website, www.faith.barackobama.com, which has posted a number of endorsements from Catholics like Tamara S. of Roswell, Georgia, who says, Im disturbed by the hijacking of the Republican party by far-right Christians. Or take this one: I have no interest in living in a theocracy, writes Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church in Chicago, who is most concerned with issues of poverty and issues of justice and equal access and opportunity, especially when dealing with children and education and healthcare.
CASEY SUPPORTS OBAMA
Many of these Catholics dismiss or downplay the Churchs teachings on the sanctity and dignity of human life. But what about the explicitly pro-life Catholics who are supporting Obama? The two most high-profile, Catholic pro-life endorsers of Barack Obama for president are Bob Casey, Jr. and Doug Kmiec.
Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. is the son of and heir to the great pro-life stalwart, Governor Robert P. Casey of Pennsylvania. It was hard to find a pro-life Democrat as principled as the late governor, who was named in the title of the 1992 court case Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The late Casey was shocked by the abortion stridency of his party, so much so that in 1996 he considered a run for the presidency against the incumbent president from his own party, Bill Clinton. In 2006, the younger Casey, who is likewise considered a pro-life Catholic Democrat, unseated the strongest pro-lifer in the US Senate, Senator Rick Santorum. Since then, Casey has been a grave disappointment, not at all picking up the torch from Santorum.
Consequently, it was not surprising to learn that in the thick of the crucial Pennsylvania primary, Casey endorsed Barack Obama for president. He then announced he would be touring Pennsylvania cities with Obama, including, incidentally, those small towns in rural areas that Obama said were comprised of bitter folks who cling to God and guns out of frustration at the federal governments failures.
If Obama had won Pennsylvania on April 22 rather than losing to Hillary Clinton by 10 points, he would have been propelled to the Democratic Party nomination in Denver. So, Casey jumped into the fray to do his part.
Casey was also there with Obama at the April 13 Compassion Forum at Pennsylvanias Messiah College, broadcast by CNN. Abortion rights fell into the category of compassion for Obama, who fenced a question about whether he believes life begins at conception by saying, I dont presume to know the answer to that question. Earlier in the campaign Obama had made the stunning remark that if one of his young daughters got pregnant out of wedlock, he would not want her to be punished with a baby.
THE CASE OF DOUG KMIEC
If any of this bothers Casey, he hasnt expressed it. Caseys endorsement of Obama demonstrates that he is first and foremost a Democrat who places party loyalty above moral principle. The same cannot be said, however, of the endorsement of Obama by Douglas W. Kmiec, who has long been thought to be a conservative Catholic Republican.
Kmiec, a former counsel to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, was the dean of the Catholic University of America School of Law. He is currently chair of constitutional law at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. He recently was an adviser to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Kmiec calls Obama a natural for the Catholic vote.
Today I endorse Barack Obama for president of the United States, announced Kmiec in a March 23 statement posted at Slate.com. I believe him to be a person of integrity, intelligence, and genuine good will.
Unlike other Catholics who ignore the issue altogether, Kmiec addressed his difference with Obama over abortion. But he deals with the difference unconvincingly. Kmiec acknowledges that he believes life begins at conception, and it is important for every life to be given sustenance and encouragement, then renders this stance meaningless with a vague hope about Obamas openness: In various ways, Sen. Barack Obama and I may disagree on aspects of these important fundamentals, but I am convinced, based upon his public pronouncements and his personal writing, that on each of these questions he is not closed to understanding opposing points of views and, as best as is humanly possible, he will respect and accommodate them.
To which public pronouncements is Kmiec referring? Recall Obamas remarks to a screaming Planned Parenthood crowd last July, to whom he promised, The first thing Id do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which would overturn state pro-life laws nationwide and make abortion the supreme law of the land. In that speech, he told the appreciative women that Planned Parenthood was a safety net provider that needed to be given discounted drugs so that all women would have access to affordable contraception. In the speech, he hailed Margaret Sangereugenicist, racist, and Planned Parenthood founderas a voice in the struggle for equality.
Amazingly, Kmiec read this speech and points to it as an example of Obamas alleged flexibility. Kmiec sees the speech as lacking the vituperation of so many speeches by pro-choice Democrats to abortion groups, an interpretation that mistakenly assumes that style and tone trumps substance and policy for Obama.
Behind Obamas smile is an uncompromising advocacy for unfettered abortion rights. Obama is committed to appointing strictly pro-abortion judges to the US Supreme Court. As for Reaganesque pro-life judges recently promoted to the court by President George W. Bushnamely, Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, both of whom Kmiec commendsObama boasts of his votes against these two judges.
Obama has said that Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the most stalwart abortion crusader on the high court, is his ideal justice. Kmiec, given his expertise as a legal scholar, knows this.
To be blunt, Kmiecs perception of Obamas openness to accommodation on abortion is pure projection. There is absolutely no reason to conclude that a President Obama would be receptive to a pro-life message. Obama himself has repeatedly made it clear that his stance on this issue will be unyielding. As president, he might say he is open to pro-lifers and that he respects them, but he would not be expected to join them on any meaningful pro-life action.
There is a psychological-emotional attraction to Obama that goes beyond the traditional reasons explaining why people, Catholics included, support certain candidates. Whats more, the Roman Catholics in Obamas camp are largely typical of the religious left generally and left-leaning Catholics specifically who identify with and support a liberal Democrat for president. The abortion issue simply loses out to a wider swath of social justice issues that for them take precedence.
The Church continues to exhort Catholics to reject this moral equivalency in their voting, but Obamas Catholic supporters dont care, and from this atmosphere of dissent Obama hopes to ride a wave of millions of Catholic votes all the way to the White House.
Paul Kengor has most recently published God and Hillary Clinton (HarperCollins, 2007) and The Judge: William P. Clark, Ronald Reagans Top Hand (Ignatius Press, 2007). He is professor of political science at Grove City College.
The action was DELIBERATE. The MISTAKE was not taking responsibility.....something Obama noted to his fellow blacks before Jesse cut off his OO.
I am one Catholic firmly AGAINST Obama...and you can add a voting husband and 7 of his siblings and all of their spouses and his parents...
In fact, I am the one who has any Catholic D voters in the family (I know...so sad) but they are full of $&@* on all political issues and haven’t followed a Catholic doctrine...probably ever...
More likely a lot of people who think they are Catholic but aren't; having earned themselves a latae sententiae excommunication by their involvement in the pro-abortion cause.
-they frequent my church, and I do not understand them.
“Who are these Catholics? They are an eclectic bunch, from politicians like Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Democratic Governor Tim Kaine (Va.), Democratic Governor Bill Richardson (N.M.), Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-Mass.), Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), and Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) to Dan Rooney, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers football team.”
These people are CINO’s Catholics in name only and probably don’t practice the Catholic religion. In reality they should be ex-communicated, but unfortunately that will not happen.
Thanks for sharing that HRWR. It seems to me here at FR we have been down this road about a billion times.
But here being anti-Catholic remains the one prejudice to be proud of to many.
What the deal is that people whom call themselves Catholic but never attend service and there is a lot of them, tend to be liberal.
Those that attend once a week or more are very conservative.
I don’t think this has changed much in the last 20 years and if anything I’d wager the divide is greater now than ever.
That one shocked me. I don't know much about Dan Rooney but Art Rooney was a true Catholic. This article has depressed the hell out of me.
There sure are, but the election in '04 gave me some hope - my best friend, a far better Catholic than I will ever be, and a lifelong Democrat, could not bring herself to vote for Kerry. She had managed to vote for all the Protestant pro-abort candidates, but said that the Catholic Kerry knew better. I was REALLY hoping for another pro-abort Catholic Democrat this time. Maybe Obama will pick Bob Casey (whose Dad is undoubtedly spinning in his grave) for his running mate.
You can add Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and every other sectlet claiming to be Christian to that list as well. The vast majority of folks backing bambi who call themselves Christian are NOT Catholic, after all.
The pols named are Catholic in name only. I would think that Casey’s father is weeping in heaven over his son’s backing of barry. And, any Catholic that uses “Catholic Social Teaching” as an excuse for voting for the party of death, should be ashamed, because they do not understand what this party is about.
Bingo. It's called choice. Politicians won't be able to end what moralists haven't. If women don't think it is wrong, neither will politicians. Don't put the cart before the horse, convince women first. Constitution prohibiting alcohol didn't work either.
Vatican critiques of the death penalty have never been against the actual punishment of death for crimes, they have only criticised its application and fairness of the system that applies it.
Those that believe that Catholicims does not understand and recognize the distinction between guilt and innocence are fools.
Those that try to bring up the tired and idiotic catch phrase statement of “how can you be anti-abortion and pro death penalty” or such are folks who can’t distinguish the difference between guilt and innocence. Catholicism quite handily makes the distinctions. THose that try to portray holding those 2 views as hypocritical to one another are simply put intellectually dishonest, or just intellectually challenged.
I would not want to be in their shoes when these CINO’s meet God. They have excommunicated themselves by supporting abortion and commit a grave sin by taking the Sacrements of the Roman Catholic Church. My opinion is that their only hope is God’s mercy.
They may frequent the church, but the clearly have absolutely no understanding of the churches teachings. Showing up for mass every week does not remotely mean you have been exposed to or understand the doctrine of the Church, or more frighteningly the word of God.
The Catholic Church takes untold heat for its stands on abortion and birth control, but when you actually bother to find out how those stands are drawn from the basic fundamental truths of the world and God, there is truly no other conclusion one can make.
The rhetorical attacks the Church endures by those that hate her, are by and large based on complete ignorance.
Please FreepMail me if you want on or off my Pro-Life Ping List.
Any Catholic who obstinately denies that abortion is always gravely immoral, commits the sin of heresy and incurs an automatic sentence of excommunication.
Canon Law and Church Teaching
Canon 1398: A person who procures a completed abortion incurs a latae sententiae excommunication.
Canon 751: Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.
Canon 1364 §1: an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication.
The phrase latae sententiae means a judgment or sentence which has already been brought, in other words, a sentence or judgment which does not need a future additional judgment from someone in authority; it refers to a type of excommunication which is automatic. Such a sentence of excommunication is incurred by the very commission of the offense, (CCC 2272) and does not require the future particular judgment of a case by competent authority.
Apostasy, heresy, and schism are all offences which incur a sentence of excommunication automatically. Heresy is the obstinate denial of any truth of the Catholic faith, on a matter of faith or morals, which has been definitively taught by the Magisterium. The Magisterium has repeatedly and definitively taught that abortion is always gravely immoral. (CCC 2270 to 2275)
Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, n. 57: Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, and in communion with the Bishops of the Catholic Church, I confirm that the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral. This doctrine, based upon that unwritten law which man, in the light of reason, finds in his own heart (cf. Rom 2:14-15), is reaffirmed by Sacred Scripture, transmitted by the Tradition of the Church and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.
Obtaining an Abortion
Any Catholic who deliberately and knowingly obtains a procured abortion commits a mortal sin and is also automatically excommunicated, under canon 1398.
Under the laws of secular society, if one person commits a crime, then anyone who deliberately and knowingly provides essential or substantial means for that person to commit that crime is called an accessory to that crime and is also subject to the penalties of law. Similarly, any Catholic who deliberately and knowingly provides essential or substantial means for any woman to procure an abortion also commits a mortal sin and also incurs the same sentence of excommunication.
Any Catholic who substantially assists another in the deliberate sin of abortion is also guilty of serious sin and also incurs a latae sententiae excommunication.
Believing in Abortion
Any Catholic who obstinately denies that abortion is always gravely immoral commits the sin of heresy. The sin of heresy also incurs a latae sententiae excommunication.
Unfortunately, some Catholics obstinately deny that abortion is always immoral, and some Catholics claim that abortion can, at times, be a morally-acceptable choice, and some Catholics claim that a person can, in good conscience, choose abortion. Under the Code of Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church, canons 751 and 1364, all such Catholics are automatically excommunicated for the sin of heresy.
This sentence of latae sententiae excommunication applies to any Catholic who denies that abortion is gravely immoral, regardless of whether they keep this denial hidden or publicly reveal it.
Those Catholics who publicly announce their denial that abortion is always gravely immoral, or who publicly promote abortion, or who publicly argue in favor of legalized abortion, also commit a mortal sin and also incur a sentence of automatic excommunication.
This sentence of excommunication applies to Catholics who are politicians, as well as to those Catholics who are political commentators, or public speakers, or who write or otherwise publicly communicate their erroneous view that abortion can be morally-acceptable or that abortion should be legal. This sentence of excommunication also certainly applies to those Catholics who claim to be theologians or Biblical scholars, but who believe or teach that abortion is not always gravely immoral.
Those Catholics who promote abortion are automatically excommunicated for two reasons. First, they have fallen into the sin of heresy by believing that abortion is not always gravely immoral (canons 751 and 1364). Second, these Catholics are providing substantial assistance for women to obtain abortions by influencing public policy to make abortions legal, and to keep abortions legal, and to broaden access to abortion. Those who provide such substantial assistance commit a mortal sin and incur a sentence of automatic excommunication (canon 1398).
Voting for Abortion
Any Catholic politician who casts a vote with the intention of legalizing abortion, or of protecting laws allowing abortion, or of widening access to abortion, commits a mortal sin.
When such a vote indicates that the Catholic politician believes that abortion is not always gravely immoral, such a politician incurs a sentence of automatic excommunication, under canons 751 and 1364, because of heresy.
When such a vote is intended to have the effect of making abortion legal, or more easily obtainable, or more widely available, such a politician incurs a sentence of automatic excommunication, under canon 1398, as someone who is attempting to provide substantial or essential means for women to obtain abortions. Catholic politicians who pass laws which legalize, protect, or widen access to abortion, are providing essential assistance to women who want to obtain abortions.
It is not sufficient for Catholic politicians to claim that they are personally opposed to abortion. If any Catholic politician favors legalized abortion, despite a claim of personal opposition, such a politician commits a mortal sin by promoting abortion and by voting in favor of abortion.
The same is true for any Catholic who casts any vote with the intention of legalizing abortion, or of protecting laws allowing abortion, or of widening access to abortion. Such a voter commits a mortal sin and incurs a sentence of automatic excommunication for two reasons. First, they are committing the sin of heresy by believing that abortion should be legal and available. Second, they are committing the grievous sin of providing women with substantial or essential assistance in obtaining abortions, by attempting to legalize or broaden access to abortion.
However, if, for a period of time, Catholic politicians and voters are unable to enact a law prohibiting all abortion, then Catholic politicians and voters may in good conscience vote for whichever law offers the greatest restrictions and limits on abortion. Subsequently, Catholic politicians and voters are required by the moral law to continue to enact further restrictions and limits on abortion, to the greatest extent possible, and, at every possible opportunity, to vote for laws which completely outlaw abortion.
Voting for Politicians
In general, the moral law requires Catholic voters to vote for those candidates who oppose abortion over those who favor abortion. However, there are exceptions to this general principle. For example, if a political candidate favors abortion, but is a member of a party which generally opposes abortion, a Catholic voter may, in good conscience, vote for that candidate, with the intention of giving more political power to the party which opposes abortion.
In another case, a Catholic voter might, in good conscience, vote for a pro-abortion candidate, if the political office would offer no opportunity for the elected candidate to vote for or against abortion. Even so, every Catholic voter should consider that anyone who supports abortion, as if it were a womans right, or as if it could ever be a moral choice, must necessarily be someone who has a seriously limited understanding of morality and justice. Such a person would not often be the better candidate for any office in place of one who understands that abortion is gravely immoral.
In every case, a Catholic should vote in such a way as to obtain as many restrictions on abortion as possible, and so as to obtain the end to legalized abortion as soon as possible.
Within any constitutional form of government, it would be ideal to have a constitutional clause or amendment which permanently and completely outlaws all procured abortions. Such an amendment must ban all abortions, regardless of circumstance, so that the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent prenatal human being will be always contrary to human law, just as it is always contrary to the moral law.
A constitutional amendment can permit certain medical procedures, which are absolutely necessary to save the life of the mother, and which indirectly result in the unintended and unsought death of the prenatal, only if there is no possible way to save the life of the prenatal. A prenatal is defined as any human being from conception to birth. Every reasonable effort should be made to save the lives of both mother and prenatal. If the life of the prenatal can be saved by no other possible option than by risking or allowing the death of the mother, then the prenatal must be saved.
Catholic teaching clearly allows for certain medical procedures, which indirectly and involuntarily result in the death of the prenatal, to save the life of the mother, but only when all options to save the life of the prenatal have been exhausted. Such a procedure is not an abortion and is not an exception wherein abortion is allowed.
On the other hand, a constitutional amendment which bans abortion with exceptions for various cases, such as rape, incest, or a risk to the mothers life, would be worse than having no such amendment at all.
Any woman who is willing to commit the sin of abortion, would also be willing to lie. If a constitutional amendment permitted abortion in cases of rape, then any woman willing to lie and to falsely claim that she was raped, would be able to also claim that she had a constitutional right to an abortion. The result would be that a constitutional amendment, which seems to ban abortion with some exceptions, would end up giving every woman who is willing to tell a lie, a purported constitutional right to abortion. This situation would be worse than having no such constitutional amendment at all.
Therefore, the only acceptable pro-life constitutional amendment would be one that, in accordance with Catholic teaching, bans all procured abortions without exception.
Here is an example of a just constitutional amendment protecting human life.
--- by Ronald L. Conte Jr.
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1 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion,
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2 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A
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2 From its conception, the child has the right to life. Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a "criminal" practice (GS 27 § 3),
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gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent