Skip to comments.Catholic Leaders React to Obama Victory, Offer Advice
Posted on 11/06/2008 11:52:24 AM PST by marshmallow
Washington DC, Nov 5, 2008 / 10:25 pm (CNA).- Prominent Catholics reactions to the election of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama as president have been cautionary, advising increased catechesis and cultural engagement while for Catholics warning that Obamas use of the presidency to advance abortion rights must be opposed.
Austin Ruse, President of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, told CNA Catholics should support Obama where they can and oppose him with all of our being on issues like abortion. He also emphasized a focus on catechesis.
If Catholics were really acting on a proper understanding of their faith, Barack Obama would never have been elected, he claimed.
Voicing his suspicion that regular Mass-goers favored McCain but generic Catholics favored Obama, Ruse said he thought the organized Catholic effort in the McCain campaign was very weak.
It never really got off the ground and was hamstrung by bad planning and bad execution. I was fairly close to it and I know it was sadly gummed up with personal agendas that had little to do with electing John McCain and mostly with protecting turf. The Catholic outreach for the McCain campaign was extremely unedifying.
However, Ruse said, the bishops were stars.
We have never seen anything like it. More than 100 came out publically against the Culture of Death. I suspect that many of them will be hassled by the IRS. I hope they remain strong. I suspect they will and that they will be even stronger as the months progress.
Ruse cautioned that Obama and his allies will be the most pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage of any administration in history. The Church will be in semi-permanent opposition to the adminstration on these most important public policy issues in the church. I expect that the bishops will be very active as will faithful Catholic laity, he told CNA, saying the Church will have to fight more vigorously for life and family.
Father Frank Pavone, President of Priests for Life, said Catholics should focus on challenging Obama every day of his Presidency to stop the ongoing killing of children in America, and to work for change in the Democratic Party so that it no longer is a herald of death for the unborn.
Father Pavone noted that Catholics always play a key role in deciding who will be president and said bishops have made many excellent statements on the primacy of the right to life as an election issue. He claimed that the bishops teaching in Forming Consciences For Faithful Citizenship was abused and distorted both within and outside the Church, calling for those distortions to be corrected by the same mechanisms that created the document.
He added that the Catholic Churchs effort to register voters could have been much stronger, urging that registration drives for the 2010 election cycle begin now.
Turning his attention to voter education material, Father Pavone criticized many dioceses policies against allowing material from outside groups.
It fosters a view of the Church which is bureaucratic and institutional rather than one of the Spirit-filled Body of Christ with many different parts, gifts, and ministries all encouraging one another, he told CNA.
I find it particularly unhelpful to be referred to as an outside group and to have our vigorous efforts to educate our fellow Catholics in the teachings of the bishops be greeted with we can only use our own materials, as if the teaching ministry of priests or the unity of the Church gets shut down at election time.
When CNA asked about the role of the Church in the public square under an Obama administration, Father Pavone replied:
The Church will face increasing pressure to not interfere with the positions of public officials on issues like abortion and marriage; yet the actions of a pro-abortion administration and a pro-abortion Vice-president will necessarily prompt a response from the Church. In other words, we have to be ready to fight.
Vatican journalist John L. Allen Jr. told CNA that the Catholic Church isnt a political party, and its primary concerns arent about policy or legislation.
The Churchs focus should be where its always been spiritual life, the sacraments, fostering a relationship with God through Christ.
That said, the Church is obviously interested in public affairs from the perspective of justice, and as it does with every government, it will want to try to work with the Obama administration to promote human dignity. In practice, that will mean continuing to make moral arguments on behalf of unborn life, while also pursuing natural areas of agreement with the new administration such as immigration reform, economic justice, peace, and environmental protection.
Allen suggested the Church and the Obama White House could work together to promote development in Africa, saying 2009 is shaping up to be a Year of Africa for global Catholicism. Pope Benedict XVI plans to visit Cameroon and Angola in March and the Synod for Africa will be held in October.
Citing exit polls, Allen said Obama captured a majority of overall Catholics while narrowly losing among white Catholics. Noting that many of those white Catholics were undoubtedly motivated by life issues such as abortion, he said that if Obama truly wishes to be a unifier, he needs to reach out and find common ground on the life issues, especially abortion.
In Allens view, most of the bishops adhered to the position of their Faithful Citizenship document, with only a small minority making statements with a clear partisan edge.
I think it would be a mistake to treat the result as a defeat for the bishops; for the vast majority of bishops who taught that making specific political choices is the task of a well-formed laity, the election of Obama (or McCain, had it turned out that way) could not be a victory or a defeat.
He explained that the Church now faces the challenge of establishing a relationship with the Obama administration that isnt exclusively one of chronic opposition. Allen suggested the bishops study the work of Vatican diplomacy, which has centuries of experience in dealing with regimes that are in one way or another are hostile to some aspect of Church teaching.
Allen stated that the prospects for an outright reversal of Roe v. Wade are extremely limited under an Obama administration.
Perhaps the challenge is therefore to shift gears a bit, investing greater resources in winning the argument for life at the cultural level. In other words, perhaps we should rely less on the coercive power of the state, and more on the disposition of the human heart to respond to the truth, Allen wrote.
George Weigel, political commentator and biographer of Pope John Paul II, said serious Catholics should focus on trying to protect pro-life legal gains over the past thirty years from President Obama and a radically pro-abortion Congress led by a self-described ardent Catholic.
Weigel reiterated the necessity of defeating the federal Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), which would eliminate abortion restrictions and could remove protections for pro-life conscientious objection.
The Catholic vote also needed to be studied, he told CNA:
It will be interesting to see how the Catholic vote finally broke, but it will be essential to pick that vote apart and look at how regular-Mass-going Catholics voted as distinguished from occasional church-goers and other tribal Catholics.
Weigel argued that the bishops can no longer ignore the question of the reception of Holy Communion by national leaders who persistently and willfully advance the culture of death.
He added that if Congress repeals the Hyde Amendment, which prohibited federal funding for abortions, bishops and theologians will have to consider the ethical consequences.
The Washington State euthanasia victory was a large blow to the cause of the Culture of Life, and we clearly need to revisit the question of how we argue that issue, he closed.
Jesus Christ was not a SOCIALIST...
Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” - 2 Corinthians 9:7
Gotta disagree with him on this one. Catholics should pretend this jack@ss doesn't even exist, because in the larger scheme of things he doesn't matter anyway.
Do you think St. Benedict gave a flaming sh!t about who the emperor was in Rome when he was building monasteries all over Europe back in the sixth century?
The bishops are scared out of their minds. Losing that tax exemption is about the worst thing in the world they can imagine. But that’s just because the bishops are not a very imaginative lot.
Something is going to happen - I don’t know exactly what - that will trigger the showdown. The failure to act on Biden and the fact that 45% of weekly-mass attending Catholics voted for Obama show that the bishops have no authority and are essentially powerless in their own church. Thus the bishops are no threat to Obama, and he’ll feel no hesitation about directly attacking the Church.
Sadly, many bishops will probably abandon the Church and become part of the New American Catholic Church (taking all the property with them).
“Sadly, many bishops will probably abandon the Church and become part of the New American Catholic Church (taking all the property with them).”
Why is that sad - if they arent willing to be persecuted for their faith then they are not Christians. Good riddens this is a weeding out process - Im starting to wonder if that is not God’s plan all along - we are weeding out non-belivers - we are going to have to take a stand pretty soon - you need to know who’s side your on.
What exactly would losing the tax exemption entail? Property tax, obviously. What else?
Just like many say they are Christians and many say they are Catholics, my question is: are they? Am also glad that I do not have to answer the question. But the Lord, one day, will.
Which of his policies should we not oppose?
Is Hussein right about anything???
0bama = Abortion
As for me and my house: We will serve The Lord.
If you didn’t want more dead babies, the time to oppose it was Tuesday.
The Catholic church in the US obviously needs considerable overhaul at the grassroots level. The Catholics who voted for Obama, and many others are in need of spiritual repentance and renewal.
The Vatican should designate a special authority to bring this about. Likely the Holy Office and the Dominican Order of Dominicans should be tasked with traveling North America while speaking out against heterodoxy.
There are some very disturbing anecdotes that have come out over decades, of practices deeply disturbing. Mostly this concerns the embrace of death over life. Be it abortion, euthanasia, or the cult of Santa Muerte, this seems to be the focus of the variance of the faithful from orthodoxy.
That’s really it. Most dioceses don’t have much but their property, especially after the lawsuits. But they would also lose those exemptions that institutions get for local sales taxes, etc. In addition, believe it or not, in many localities, it’s optional for churches to pay into unemployment. (Many church employees are shocked to discover that they’re not covered.) So presumably they’d have to pay things like that, as well. And I imagine it might affect Church-connected non-profits such as hospitals.
**oppose him with all of our being on issues like abortion.**
Never give up on fighting abortion.
Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:
Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of interest.
Obama Says A Baby Is A Punishment
I disagree with you. One-fourth of the bishops found their courage during this election.
Pope Benedict is watching. Expect the bishops to continue to speak out on life issues, especially.
I say “Bravo” for the bishops who proclaimed that life was the primary issue! May the Lord reward them abundantly.
**If Catholics were really acting on a proper understanding of their faith, Barack Obama would never have been elected, he claimed. **
So we need to instruct more Catholics on what their Catholicity contains!
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