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.
“54% of Catholics”
Look closely at Posting #27.
***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?***
Because we are the standard bearers, Salvation. Even when excoriating us, they all look up to us. On Easter and Christmas, even the smug, surly, atheistic mainstream media look to Rome for their articles. Rick Warren or Joel Osteen don’t cut it when articling on Christianity.
We are Christianity. If we falter, we disappoint all men and even more important, we fall even shorter from the commandments of Jesus. We must be Christianity in action or we abdicate our responsibilities to our fellow man and to God.
The many Christian churches have a serious problem with the secularization of our culture. I have a family and enjoy a good life and my wife and I have done what we can to raise our 4 sons with a sense of what is government’s place and what is God’s place in our lives.
To so many, and this includes Catholics who I know, they have been consumed by secular things and have forgotten that we are truly accountable for what we do and what we stand for. Sometimes we as a people need adversity to remember where our secular place belongs and that our true source of life is far greater than any political cause or ideology. Blessings sometimes come in disguise - we will see. For now, I am at least at ease knowing my 2 college aged sons voted McCain. For all his mistakes Sen. McCain verbalized strong pro-life positions and lashed Obama quite effectively in the 3rd debate.
As a Catholic I am very saddened to see how our culture has shown itself in this election. I prayed for our faith and our country in mass yesterday.
OR it suggests that many people who don't really have a faith still refer to themselves as Catholic. Further, using your approach looking at county maps, Mormons are the best Christians.
Secondly, evangelicals are converting Catholics both in the US and abroad.
And Catholics are busy converting non-Christians.
Self correction to all:
I made the erroneous statement that pius IX condemned socialism. While he did condemn liberalism:
It was Leo XIII who actually condemned socialism in the Papal Encyclical Rerum Novarum. www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_15051891_rerum-novarum_en.html
My apologies for the error.
So it’s not just the Jews...
xx% McCain, 23% Obama - White Evangelicals age 30-6411
75% McCain, 25% Obama - White7,10 Born Again5,10,12 Evangelicals1,8,10,12
xx% McCain, 32% Obama - White Evangelicals age 18-2911
65% McCain, xx% Obama - Weekly church-attending Protestants7
65% McCain, 34% Obama - White Protestants7,8
54% McCain, 45% Obama - Protestants6,8
46% McCain, 52% Obama - Non-Evangelical Protestants 12
xx% McCain, 67% Obama - Hispanic Protestants and other Christians11**, ****
xx% McCain, 94% Obama - Black Protestants11,13**,****
Why does everyone blame Catholics?
First, please take note that this "What's wrong with Catholics?" article came from a Catholic publication. It makes a number of good points re how Catholics voted (and why). IMO, I believe the reason that the Catholic vote has gotten so much coverage this go-round is because of the contrast between the strong, vocal pro-life stand that many bishops took (and many conservative Catholic FReepers with them) - and the overall Catholic vote skewing for Obama anyway. What's more, IIRC, I read that this was the first time in political history where the "faithful (i.e. weekly mass) Catholics" ended up supporting the losing candidate.
I wouldn't (and don't) "blame the Catholics" for Obama's win. If anything, I blame the Protestant and Evangelical churches for Obama's win, via the Hispanic and Black "Protestant" votes. Our congregations are (apparently) far more racially divided than 2004's vote let on. Hispanic and Black "Protestant" voters went for Obama in almost opposite ratios to White Protestants. That's not something the Protestant/Evangelical church should be proud of.
Elsewhere I've conjectured that IMO the faithful Church in America has shrunk so far as to lose (most) influence over morality and culture, and I won't repeat it here. In short, I believe that Christians in 2008 have lost ground, and are now too small a minority to sway elections in and of themselves. We have become strangers in a foreign land (Exodus 2:22, cf Jeremiah 5:19). That's the real story coming out of these election results, in my honest opinion.
It may be as gloomy as people say, or this election may be a bit flukey due to the economy.
Stand your ground everyone!
I was gonna mention that as soon as I saw your ping.
When we speak of the Catholic vote you speak of Hispanics as McC won White Catholics.
But this something wrong with Catholics, many were raised RAT just as they were raised Catholic and are reticent to change voting habits. And a “help the poor” mentality prevails. Of course we know it’s the dems who MAKE people poor.
And church views on abortion they often disregard.
You claim to be conservative. If so, then you are a minority in your church. Whose fault is that? It certainly is not the fault of Protestants that you are in a minority faction of your church.
The majority of Catholics voted for Obama. Rather than acknowledge that, you want to claim those people are not Catholic. Burying your head in the sand won't change anything.
So how does the Catholic Church change so that you are not in the minority? What steps does it take to make that minority a majority?
“So how does the Catholic Church change so that you are not in the minority? What steps does it take to make that minority a majority?”
The bishops have to start treating abortion as what they say it is.
I agree. They seem to turn up the heat on the issue every 4 years at election time, and then they put it on the back burner to simmer the rest of the time. I am still waiting for Biden and Pelosi to be denied communion. I will be waiting a long time.
I’d like to further see added to these polling numbers something like:
“Are you a Catholic voter?” and “what is the name of your parish?” as if this needed to be cross checked.
Because otherwise, I think a good number of these Catholics really are not authentic followers of the Faith and of Christ’s Vicar on Earth.
I suppose This statement from the catholic charities usa website fosters individual responsibility
Catholic Charities USA supports tax policies that strengthen low-income families and individuals and address the needs of the poor and the vulnerable. This includes expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which is widely credited with lifting millions of families and individuals out of poverty every year. Catholic Charities USA also supports protecting low-income persons receiving EITC from predatory financial practices in tax preparation servicesI'm giving you the benefit of the doubt by considering you a bigoted ignoramus, but I have my suspicions that you're a redistributionist trying to cover the blatantly socialist orientation of the Catholic bureaucracy with your lies. .
I’m sorry that you’ve seen so many Obama stickers at your kids’ Catholic school. Glad to say that that has not been my experience, as at our kids’ school, McCain had an overwhelming advantage.
I know it’s not scientific or anything, but the day before the real election, the school held a mock election for the upper grades (4-8). My oldest son came home ecstatic because McCain won by a whopping 82%-16% (some voted for Ralph Nader). I asked him who voted for Obama and he gave me the names of those he knew — they were the few non-Catholics in his grade. (They were also black.) Interestingly enough, the black kids who ARE Catholic voted McCain.
Needless to say, my son was bitterly disappointed last Wednesday morning.
As an aside, my youngest son recently forgot a book he needed for homework and we went back to school to fetch it. We arrived at the same time as the CCD kids were arriving for religious ed. The parking lot held many cars with Obama stickers — and they were NOT black families. There is a definite split between those who take their Catholicism seriously and those who don’t.
BTW, I live on Long Island in an area that went for McCain at the same rate as Mass-going Catholics: 54%-46%. That’s a pretty high number for Metro NY.
...to borrow the words of President Reagan:
"I didn't leave the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church left me."
(BTW, I still am a part of, and will always practice, the Catholic faith...)
***To so many, and this includes Catholics who I know, they have been consumed by secular things and have forgotten that we are truly accountable for what we do and what we stand for. Sometimes we as a people need adversity to remember where our secular place belongs and that our true source of life is far greater than any political cause or ideology. Blessings sometimes come in disguise - we will see. ***
The Lord will not abandon His Church; as it so often happens, many churchgoers abandon Him...
***That sounds very Tolkein-ish :-P***
Tolkein was a good Catholic, by the accounts I have read. LOTR was written as a Catholic morality play.
At any rate, it is true. To those whom much is given, much is expected. We have been given the Church; it is up to us, with the grace and help of the Holy Spirit, to live up to that. We will fall short, yet much like Mithrandir, we must persevere but we must never, like Saruman, fall into despair. Despair and despite are the gifts of satan; love and faith are the gifts of God.
Explain what you disagree with regarding this summary of Rerum Novarum, since you seem to think the Church is a socialist organization. Do you believe workers don't have a right to unionize? Do you believe that free markets untempered by personal morality are desirable? Catholic Charities is not the Church.
He absolutely was, and he fought to drag Lewis along with him.
bigoted ignoramous? That’s the best you can do? How about puerile and obfuscatory, or myopic and boorish? If you want to swing vocabulary instead of something else, brush up on your William F. Buckley, now there was a man who knew how to insult people.
If you’re going to throw insults, bring more than excerpts and the abridged dictionary. As far as bigotry goes, your blatantly anti-Catholic screed shows that you are engaging in nothing more than projection. In the thread I also listed two Papal Encyclicals, maybe you want to try reading something rather than burning it.
Redistributionist? You obviously know nothing about me, or my economic stance which is an embrace of Adam Smith, free markets, and supply side economics. Your anti-catholicism puts me in mine of a quote by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen:
“Not more than a hundred people in the world hate the Catholic Church; thousands however hate what they think it is.”
***He absolutely was, and he fought to drag Lewis along with him.***
And Lewis was much the better man for it.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was a great work; yet it pales beside the epochal creation of Tolkein. LOTR was such a small portion of his works. The Silmarillion and the Unfinished Tales, together with the rest of his creations have an unparalled universe, yet still very much a Catholic morality play. The evolution of Morgoth is very pointed, for instance.
You may wave some piece of paper and say "look here they say they're not socialists." But, the reality is that what they say and what they do are two totally different things.
Marxists are wrapping their ideology in Catholicism. They are using terms such as “Social and Economic Justice” to advance their deception. We must find a way to challenge them.
I have asked several of them, “by what means would these programs be administered?”
Quoting Rerum Novarum (written in 1891)at me shows just how totally out of it you really are. (or maybe how naive you think I am) You're either blind enough to think that a piece of paper written over a hundred years ago has some sort of power over the current church bureaucracy or you're thinking that this wins you some sort of debating point. Got news fer ya Jack, That was then and this is now. As I explained to another poster, what they say and what they do are two different things. Catholic Charities USA is a good source of getting what they really are up to today - like this gem:
Catholic social teaching tells us that every person has a basic human right to adequate health care.
Sound familiar? It is one of the UN's so-called rights. - something called a positive right. If you have a "right" to health care (which I firmly believe you do not) then someone by definition has an OBLIGATION to provide you that health care. Either health care professionals are to be forced to provide it without compensation, or the taxpayers are to be robbed of their hard earned cash to pay for other peoples' wants. This is SOCIALISM my freeper friend and it is espoused by the catholic church regardless of something written by Leo XIII.
The Church doesn't move at the same pace as modern society. Rerum Novarum absolutely holds power over the modern Church. If you were looking at most Catholic scholarship, you will see that it is generally faithful to that letter.
Catholic Charities USA is a good source of getting what they really are up to today
No, it's not - you have apparently invested in them a teaching authority which it does not have. It has a total of 4 clergy and religious on its board (of 20+) and 1 priest on the member of its executive staff. If you think that is enough to speak authoritatively for the Church, you are sorely mistaken. It is about as useful as "Catholics for a Free Choice" is in understanding the Church.
Now, you can probably find a small number of Bishops who espouse the same thing, but that still would not prove your point. A single Bishop is not the Magisterium.
Would the American Conference of Catholic Bishops make up a "small number of bishops?"
Rerum Novarum absolutely holds power over the modern Church
We disagree, and the evidence is on my side. look at the agenda of the American conference of catholic bishops It reads like the Democratice party platform with support for minimum wage, environmentalism, the worship of the poor, wealth transfer, etc. You are clinging to the past, but the Catholic heirarchy has moved on (.org)
I forgot to mention that you should look under the “social justice” header for the marxist teachings of the American conference of catholic bishops. If you’re unaware of this it should be an eye opener. I especially like their support for “easing global poverty” by fleecing the us taxpayers. This is right from the obomination’s play book. If you’re aware of it, then with your “rerun novarum” comment you are dishonestly trying to pull the wool over anyone whose bored ehough to read this thread’s eyes as to the nature of the church today.
“In an e-mail interview, Newman cited a survey earlier this year by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life that showed fewer than 25 percent of the 65 million Americans who call themselves Catholic attend Mass each Sunday, a “disturbing fact of life” that he said shows the vast majority of those baptized into the church “do not live as disciples of Jesus Christ in any observable way.”
Mass-attending Catholics, he said, “vote overwhelmingly” for candidates who oppose legalized abortion.”
So, really, only a quarter of those saying they are Catholics according to this quote should possibly considered as such.