Skip to comments.What's wrong with Catholic voters? What's wrong with Catholics?
Posted on 11/10/2008 12:21:00 PM PST by rrstar96
Yesterday, according to the exit polls, between 53 and 54% of American Catholic voters cast their ballots for Barack Obama, despite the Democratic candidate's enthusiastic support for unrestricted legal abortion.
Nationwide, Protestant voters supported John McCain, by a solid 54- 45% margin. But the Catholic vote broke for Obama. Why?
Earlier this week the US Conference of Catholic Bishops released a helpful listing of the 50 American states [http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=997], with the proportion of population in each state. In 7 states, Catholics make up more than 30% of the population. Obama captured all 7 of those states on Election Day. In 8 states, Catholics account for less than 5% of the population. Seven of those states swung for McCain, and the 8th, North Carolina, is still listed as "too close to call" as I write this analysis.
To be sure, America's Catholic population is heavily concentrated in states that have a liberal political tilt. But is that a coincidence? Are those states hotbeds of liberalism despite the heavy Catholic presence, or because of it?
Yes, Catholics have traditionally leaned toward the Democratic Party for historical reasons. But why have Catholic voters remained doggedly loyal to a party that has come, in the early 21st century, to be wholly allied with the "culture of death" on issues such as abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, and embryonic stem-cell research?
The support that Obama won among Catholic voters is noteworthy because in the last presidential contest, in 2004, President Bush won 52% of the Catholic vote while his opponent John Kerry-- himself a Catholic!-- managed only 46%. Catholic support for the Democratic candidate rose markedly in this campaign, even though the Democratic contender was the most militantly pro-abortion candidate ever to win a major party's presidential nomination.
This trend is all the more remarkable because over the course of the past several weeks, dozens of American bishops issued strong public statements reminding their people of their moral obligation to vote in defense of human life. Those statements varied in candor and in quality, but their overall impact was remarkable. The 2008 campaign produced a seismic change in the attitude of the American hierarchy; the bishops as a group were far more outspoken, far more explicit, than in any previous election.
And still most Catholics voted for Obama. Again: why?
Before answering that question, let me cite one more vitally important piece of polling information: Among Catholic voters who attend Mass weekly, McCain won majority support: 54- 45%. Among those who do not attend weekly Mass, the margin for Obama was an overwhelming 61- 37%. Thus Obama drew his support from inactive Catholics. And unfortunately, most American Catholics are inactive.
In an interview recorded just before Election Day, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver explained that he had decided to take a prominent public stand on the obligations of Catholic voters because the "quieter approach to these things has not been effective." How right he was! He and many other prelates deserve the gratitude of loyal Catholics for their willingness to take a more energetic approach. This year, at last, the American bishops were clear and forthright in their teaching. Yet on Election Day it became evident that millions of American Catholics weren't listening.
Should we be surprised if Catholics ignore directives from the hierarchy? Should we be surprised that Catholics who do not attend Mass regularly-- thereby violating a precept of the Church-- ignore Church teachings on other issues as well? No, this result was predictable.
An entire generation of American Catholics has grown accustomed to dissent from Church teaching, and grown accustomed to seeing their bishops tolerate that dissent. In the 35 years since Roe v. Wade, Catholics have watched their Church leaders handle pro-abortion Catholic politicians with kid gloves, treating their moral treason as a minor annoyance rather than a public scandal. Yes, the bishops routinely denounced abortion; but at the same time they treated the public supporters of taxpayer-funded abortion with jovial deference. Puzzled lay Catholics concluded that the bishops didn't really take the issue too seriously, and the laity in turn stopped taking their bishops seriously. A few dozen statements from brave orthodox bishops in the autumn of 2008-- however clear, however compelling-- were not enough to undo a generation of damage.
Abortion is not an isolated issue. Lackadaisical American Catholics are not ignoring Church leadering on this issue alone, but on the entire range of Catholic teaching. Most Catholics skip Sunday Mass regularly. Most Catholics rarely if ever go to Confession. Most Catholics use contraceptives. Most Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence. Most Catholics no longer accept Church authority on any issue. Why should we be surprised, then, if on Election Day most Catholics ignore Church teachings on their moral obligation to vote in defense of human life?
For most of my life I have lived in Massachusetts, a state whose political culture was once thoroughly dominated by active Catholics. In my book The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston's Catholic Culture [http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1594032114?ie=UTF8&tag=cwnewscom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1594032114] I explain how that Catholic culture deteriorated, as the faithful drifted away from the Church, until today the political scene in Massachusetts is dominated not by Catholics but by ex-Catholics, thoroughly hostile to the teachings of the Church.
Are Catholics in other states following the same trend? Will the next presidential election see even strong support for the "culture of death" among voters who identify themselves-- inaccurately-- as believing Catholics? Regrettably, I see the same forces that corrupted Catholicism in my native state now active all across the nation.
To repair the damage, we must recognize that the problem is not restricted to abortion, nor to defense-of-life issues. Indeed it is not, strictly speaking, a political problem. To restore the integrity of the Catholic vote, we must first restore the integrity of the Catholic faith, and rebuild the foundations of a Catholic culture.
That will be my goal-- my crusade-- in coming years. I hope and pray you'll join me.
Faith of Our Fathers ping
A slippery slope following birth control to Planned Parenthood?
Already posted: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2126950/posts
This makes me sick as I was christened in the Catholic Church. 54% of Catholics and 78% of Jews let America and themselves down. It is disgraceful.
Already posted when it was published, 5 days ago.
I'm the only one who is pro-life.
I'm the only one who doesn't want 'free' health care at the expense of my free-dom.
I think most "Catholics" nowadays consider their church to be a social club.
The very word "morality" makes them snort with contempt.
Sorry for the duplication.
That’s easy. Catholics don’t live their faith. Evangelicals do. You will know them by their fruits.
It clearly sounds like the Vatican must do more to educate American Catholics about their faith. The monastic orders are the obvious choice to send through America on a mission of education, helping the laity steer away from heterodoxy.
Just for them to be available, to speak with and visit the young, adult and old, would be a grand experience for all concerned.
Oh, what about the significant percentage of Evangelicals who DID vote for Obama? Were they “living their faith”?
The dumbing down of many voters in general greatly benefited the political left at each and every level. Conservatives don’t even have anything that even comes close to equalling all of the advantages that the political left presently has, and this is why I’m not seriously convinced that this rapid shift to the profound left is only temporary and will end in either ‘10, ‘12, ‘14, ‘16... I give the conservative movement sixty years before it does make any kind of serious political comeback, if it even makes any kind of political comeback to begin with. I really do want to be wrong about all of this, but I don’t believe that I’m wrong. Look at how many countries throughout the entire world still maintain a socialistic form of government, even if they really don’t like it.
Protestant voters were evenly split between being registered as Democrats and Republicans. However, they sided with Sen. McCain by a 53% to 46% split. That 7-point gap was just half the margin accorded to George W. Bush in 2004 (57% to 42%), but within range of the 4-point preference given to Mr. Bush in 2000 (51% to 47%).
Nearly half of all registered Catholics were aligned with the Democratic Party (48%), compared to only about one-quarter associated with the Republicans (28%) and one-fifth who remained independent (20%). Their voting behavior was significantly different than that of Protestants: they backed Sen. Obama by a 56% to 43% outcome. That was far different than the even split in 2004 (49% for Pres. Bush vs. 49% for Sen. Kerry) and substantially more support for the Democratic candidate than they had given to Al Gore in 2000 (49%, versus 43% to Mr. Bush).
What a ridiculous statement.
Textbook example of a Type I Error.
When a Catholic falls away from the Church and doesn't live his faith any more, he generally still refers to himself as a Catholic anyway.
When an Evangelical falls away from the Christian life, he generally doesn't refer to himself as an Evangelical anymore.
That's the only difference.
The number of people who claim to have been born again at some point in their lives and the number of people who actually live a Evangelical life is as great a discrepancy as the number of people who are nominally Catholic and those who actually live a Catholic life.
Had two catholic church going friends bite my head off when I said I could never vote democrat while they were for abortion on demand, even for young girls without parental notification.
Color me stunned.
There is nothing wrong with Catholics. Those that vote democrat aren’t catholic. You can’t be pro-abortion and be Catholic.
They and the church are strong believers in socialism. How many times has the phrase "social justice" been used in catholic newspapers (Social justice meaning taking from those who earned it and giving it so someoen who didn't so that the robber can feel good) Catholic Charaties USA gets over $1,000,000,000 of taxpayer loot annually in grants. Don't think that the church is going to say "no don't trob the taxpayers - we don't want the money."
The Catholic bureaucracy has been bought by the statists in government and paid for with our tax dollars. Look for some more endorsement of the obomanation's gun control agenda like the American council of Catholic Bishops did in 1994 for Clinton's gun bans.
There's a HUGE difference between what the Church actually teaches (socialism in all its forms is pretty well condemned) and what much of the Church leadership in America preaches. Communists have made a Long March through the Church much as they made a Long March through the secular educational system.
Still, Rerum Novarum and all its sequel documents remain the true teaching of the Church. I suggest becoming acquainted with them ... as a good first step toward making their teachings better known.
Secondly, evangelicals are converting Catholics both in the US and abroad.
Mighty broad brush you’re painting with there.
You might try a qualifier. I am sure I can find some evangelicals who don’t also. I’ve known more than one or two in that category. And I’ve known Catholics who’s faith colors everything they do from waking to sleeping.
Won’t deny, though, there are too many people who are cultural catholics and choose which part of the walk they want to do. Else they would have put life issues at the top of determiners of who they voted for.
They are a scandal upon the rest of us.
When measuring the Catholic vote, I think it is important to distinguish between practicing Catholics who regularly attend Mass versus the non-observant. Without having access to any figures before me, I would be willing to bet that John McCain won the observant Catholic vote. Does anyone seriously consider people like Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, and Ted Kennedy to be genuine Catholics?
However, it will get stronger albeit probably with a smaller contingent. The fact that so many Bishops are now speaking out against these pro-abortion polititians after so many years of indifference is a good sign of hope.
Conscience bothering them most likely the reason. You are better off not dealing with these friends any-more. The great falling away that Paul spoke of has begun, many will no longer endure listening to the truth.
You'd win your bet. You can find a detailed breakdown of the polling numbers on my profile page; here are the relevant ones for Catholics of all stripes:
55% McCain, 43% Obama - Weekly mass-attending Catholics 6,9
52% McCain, 47% Obama - White "regular-mass-attending" Catholics12
51% McCain, 49% Obama - White Catholics1,7,11
45% McCain, 54% Obama - Catholics1,4,6,8,9,10,11,12
37% McCain, 61% Obama - Non-weekly-mass-attending Catholics6,12
xx% McCain, 67% Obama - Hispanic Catholics8,11**,***, ****
** No source provided voting percentages for the other party.
*** Associated Press (citation #11) reports this number as 72%, instead of the 67% other media gave it.
**** Note that some media are reporting the same numbers for the Hispanic and Black vote in general, as well as for those same groups with Catholic or Protestant affiliation.
1 The Awesome Blue God -- How Obama Forged A New Faith Coalition
2 Exit polls: 78% of Jews voted for Obama
3 Utah's red loses some of its luster
4 Obama's Religious Appeal: Still Missing Evangelicals - which TIME renamed as Obama: Bringing (Some) Evangelicals In
5 The Evangelical Electoral Map
6 What's wrong with Catholic voters? What's wrong with Catholics?
7 Evangelical Voters Favor McCain by Wide Margins
8 Catholic voters heavily favored Obama, analysis shows
9 What Happened to the Catholic Vote?
10 Loyal to the End: Evangelicals Stay the Course
11 Obama results show gains in key religious voters
12 How the faithful voted
13 Exit polls: How Obama won
All numbers cited above are the earliest ones reported in the press. In cases of multiple reports, some percentages cited were not exact. However, the numbers above are within 2% of all sources cited, lending credence to the general number & placement overall.
I'm not so sure. We know many observant Catholics who attend mass regularly, send their children to Catholic school with princess riverdawg, etc. but have Obama bumper stickers on their vehicles.
You don’t have the slightest idea of what you are talking about, and claims like “Catholic Charaties USA gets over $1,000,000,000 of taxpayer loot annually in grants” are outright falsehoods.
The amount of lies told in the Spanish-language and Kreyol-language media about Obama's abortion stance were criminal.
And almost no Catholic bishops in the US speak either language fluently enough to make an impact in those quarters.
Catholics who do not attend church are not Catholics - they are former Catholics, or more accurately, secularists.
Real Catholics supported McCain, 54-45%, although he didn’t give them (or anyone else for that matter) much reason to.
That number would have been even higher if the bishops were willing to condemn pro-abortion, pro-stem cell liberals. Instead they go to dinners with them.
There are two distinct Catholic Churches in this country whether we like it or not. One is true, the other heretical.
St. Jude hospital... named after their saint of “lost causes.” Like the rest of us, they have their good and bad moments.
Those 54% of the Catholics that voted for evil should be baned from the Catholic faith. By casting a vote for B Husein Obama they agree and condone: Abortion, Euthanasia, Embryonic Stem Cell research, Human Cloning, and Homosexual Marriage. All of which are strictly forbidden by the Catholic Church and the Word of our Lord.
Religion, unfortunately, is taking a back seat to most Americans, they have been told (over and over and over) that there need to be a separation, and are buying into it.
As for the abortion issue, I don't think there is a Catholic alive that doesn't think its a sin...the problem is that most Catholics don't think it should be regulated, i.e. its a moral issue. The Republicans better find a way to make this a societal issue, or drop it from the platform. (I prefer the former.)
Wow....who'd a thunk it..........???
In the 35 years since Roe v. Wade, Catholics have watched their Church leaders handle pro-abortion Catholic politicians with kid gloves, treating their moral treason as a minor annoyance rather than a public scandal. Yes, the bishops routinely denounced abortion; but at the same time they treated the public supporters of taxpayer-funded abortion with jovial deference. Puzzled lay Catholics concluded that the bishops didn’t really take the issue too seriously, and the laity in turn stopped taking their bishops seriously.
***Sounds a little bit like some chickens coming home to roost, unfortunately. The leadership of the church should not be sending messages that generate the result of “puzzled lay catholics”. This is very sad. But I doubt anything will really change.
It will be interesting when the county-by-county voting maps come out. AFAIK, with a little work, it should be possible to match up voting habits with dioceses/bishops, and draw some conclusions re who's catechizing their parishioners poorly.
Also, I’d not forget that even if Catholics can make a good showing to pack a Sunday Mass... which many Churches can and do...
There is also the fact that there are so many Roman Catholics to begin with. Catholic means Universal too. I honestly hope they can get it together.
Someone put up the sponsorship of FOCA, what is there in Maryland, a Mikulski? Very bad if this is a (practicing?) Catholic with a Polish heritage. Quite a few other names are suspect to.
"Going rogue", Catholic-style.
I know a lot of Catholic Democrats, and a lot of Catholic Republicans. Hardly any of them use abortion as a litmus test for choosing political candidates. It’s just a minor issue to most people, not the end all be all that it seems to be to some people. Most people, Catholic or not, are a lot more concerned about the economy, taxes, the war in Iraq, etc. If you look at exit polls you’ll see that abortion is way down there on the list of priorities for most voters. Personally, I’m sick of hearing about it.
Nothing is wrong with Catholics. Nothing is wrong with Catholic voters.
Those Catholics in Name Only who voted for Obama have excommunicated themselves and are no longer Catholics in Good standing.
How about the Baptists, Methodist, Presbyterians, Lutherans, evangelicals who voted for Obama?? Why does everyone blame Catholics?
Evangelicals also voted for Obama.
We cannot judge everyone with such broad blanket monikers.
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Obama Says A Baby Is A Punishment
Your comments betray a level of ignorance that amazes me. You know nothing of Catholic history, Pius IX condemned socialism for its godless stance. Left leaning catholics (note the small “c”) advocate social justice but they NOT the majority anymore than left leaning protestants.
I think you’re going to be proven right. Just as conservative Bishops have more vocations! By their fruits, (or lack thereof) ye shall know them.