Saturday, November 8, 2008
NY Times: Catholics and Choice (in the Voting Booth), by Peter Steinfels:
Anyone constructing a list of the big losers on Tuesday would probably include the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops. Will that fact be candidly addressed when the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops meets next week in Baltimore?
After a presidential campaign in which it was widely perceived that the dominant message from the bishops was that Catholics were morally obliged not to vote for a candidate supporting abortion rights, exit polls show that Catholics voted 52 percent to 45 percent for Senator Barack Obama. That was seven percentage points more than the Catholic vote in 2004 for Senator John Kerry, a fellow Catholic....
If the bishops sweat a little over these figures next week, the reason won’t be worry about their political prowess but about their pastoral and moral effectiveness. By appearing to tie their moral stance on abortion so closely to a particular political choice, have they in fact undermined their moral persuasiveness on that issue as well as their pastoral effectiveness generally?
And here's my favorite part. Despite the Republican party's callous attitude toward life in myriad contexts including war, health care, criminal justice, and poverty, it's the Democratic position of allowing women to choose whether to abort an embryo or fetus that amounts to embracing death:
Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, recently transferred to Rome from the Archdiocese of St. Louis, declared the Democrats “the party of death.” Bishop Robert J. Hermann, the church’s interim leader in St. Louis until a successor to Archbishop Burke is named, invoked “Judgment Day” a half-dozen times in a column leaving no doubt that Catholics should decide their vote on the basis of abortion alone.