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Mary Breslin, Editor
Catholic Explorer
St. Charles Pastoral Center

402 S. Independence Blvd.
Romeoville, IL 60446-2264


26 April 2004

Re: Catholics for John Kerry?

Dear Editor,

The Church has repeatedly affirmed that “a well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals.” [1]  Sacramento bishop William Weigand has stated, anyone “…who thinks it is acceptable for a Catholic to be pro-abortion is in very great error, puts his or her soul at risk, and is not in good standing with the Church.” [2]

Presidential candidate John Kerry publicly claims to be Catholic and “personally opposed” to abortion, but consistently and vocally promotes abortion rights.  He is a man whose public policies clearly contradict his stated personal convictions.  Either he lies about his core beliefs or chooses to disregard them.  In either case he can’t be trusted in any important matter, and so is unfit for high public office. 

Any Catholic who supports such a candidate similarly is Catholic in name but not in truth, “is not in good standing with the Church”, and “puts his or her soul at risk”.  John Kerry may be willing to sell his soul for the White House… are you willing to sell yours for John Kerry?

Sincerely,

John Robin


[1] Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding The Participation of Catholics in Political Life. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, November 24, 2002.
http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20021124_politica_en.html.

[2] Address of Bishop William Weigand at Annual Pro-life Mass, Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, January 22, 2003.
http://www.diocese-sacramento.org/bishops/bishop.prolife.homily.2003.htm.

 

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21 May 2004, New Catholic Explorer:

 

Rebuttal to letter

As a Catholic who supports John Kerry for president, I challenge John Robin’s assertion that any Catholic who supports such a candidate is “Catholic in name but not in truth.”

As Catholics we are all called to support a culture of life, from conception to death.  Abortion is a strong component of this calling, but not the total.  Life does not end at birth, and abortion will not end by changing a law.

Catholic voters have but two choices in November.  They must decide which candidate is more pro-life.  Neither is without blemish.  To believe otherwise is to ignore the events of the past four years and is morally indefensible.  Consider the following under the leadership of (Pres.) George W. Bush during the past four years:

-Absence of childcare support for working parents faced with increased working hour requirements in order to qualify for aid;

-Continued delay in passing badly needed TANF legislation;

-Failure to raise the minimum wage beyond the current level which is barely enough to cover food costs for a family of three.

These are pro-life issues that impact directly on the abortion rate; 21 percent of abortions in the United States are a result of inadequate finances.

Even more damaging is the pre-emptive bombing of Iraq despite the warnings and pleas of Pope John Paul II, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and other church leaders.  Events in Iraq since that time add to the tragic and widespread results from that ill-fated action.  The proposed federal budget for 2005, with its unprecedented military spending and failure to meet human and nutritional needs, is but one unfortunate side effect.

Bob Reardon,

Bloomingdale.

 

 

10 May 2004: K writes:

John,

Please explain why the Bishop of Boston (O’Malley???) refuses to deny (double negative) Kerry Holy Communion.  If the Bishops for our Church cannot stand up for what is right, I can’t really do anything.

K.

 

[JR]:

K, I can’t answer for individual bishops, and I can’t judge what’s in their hearts.  Obviously, it’s tempting to attribute such a position to a lack of backbone, but I would feel unjustified in assuming that.  However, I strongly support the Church in this country taking a much stronger position, and there are clearly some bishops who now are doing just that.

Also, it’s good to keep in mind that God does not command us to be successful in achieving visible victories against evil; He commands us to be faithful to the Truth, even if it seems that we’re dwarfed by the forces arrayed against us.

Best wishes,

John.

 

8 May 2004:  M writes:

Discussions or debates on any and EVERY other issue cannot occur outside of the primary and foundational issue of the right to life.

 

[JR]: Way to go, M!

 

7 May 2004: DM writes:

Well said John....I am on the Parish Council and the Respect Life committee and I struggle with Catholics voting pro choice all the time. Catholic Answers has a voting guide that I tried to use in our parish and was told "no". 

 

Abortion would end tomorrow if Catholics voted the way we should!!!   It's unbelievable that the Catholic population votes the same as the rest of the country...  in favor of abortion... 

 

Hope your letter gets published...unfortunately Bishop [name deleted] is no Bishop Weigand !!!

DM

 

[JR]: DM, keep up the fight for what’s right!

 

7 May 2004: G writes:

I feel that supporting a warmonger would be more damaging to my everlasting soul than someone who supports a womans right to choose to have an abortion.

 

[JR]: G, I don’t know about your soul.  However, I do know that while war is sometimes justifiable, elective abortion is objectively wrong and unjustifiable under all circumstances.  The Supreme Court decision which mandates legal abortion consequently is an unjust law.  Nobody has the right to cooperate with the unjust demands of an unjust law, much less to defend or support it.  No person who does so is fit for high public office.

 

While war tragically causes the death of innocent persons, this result (at least in a just war) is an unintended consequence.  Elective abortion, on the other hand, is the deliberate and premeditated killing of an innocent person.  I hope you can differentiate the moral difference between these two very different types of actions.

 

Not only are the actions different in terms of their type, they are different in terms of their magnitude.  In the present U.S.-Iraq war, the U.S. casualties are on the order of several hundreds killed.  The Iraqi dead number perhaps somewhere in the several thousands.  But in the United States alone, elective abortion snuffs out the lives of more than 4000 persons per day: not as the result of a tragic accident, but rather a systematic execution enshrined and protected by federal law and the Supreme Court.

 

You don’t want to support a warmonger?  Good!  Don’t vote for one.  But don’t pretend that there is some logic that can justify supporting a presidential candidate committed not only to tolerating but positively promoting free access to elective abortion.

 

7 May 2004: SC writes:

…For better or worse, being the President of the US is about a lot more than their position on abortion. While I don't like Kerry's position on abortion (and I've always had serious issues with the form of reasoning underlying his justification of his position), there is much more that I don't like about Bush.

 

If you are a single issue voter--and abortion happens to be that issue--then Kerry is clearly not your man. Otherwise, choosing a candidate may require a little more thought.

 

This isn't about arguing for a separation of faith from moral action or moral framework. As you know, JP2 makes is clear in Veritatis Splendor that such cannot be the case. And, he happens to be right, I think.

 

I worry about equating political views (and parties) with one's status as a member of the body of Christ. Thankfully, Christ never placed such burdens on people. And, having a political view stand as a litmus test for the depth or veracity of one's faith is not only wrong, it's dangerous.

SC

 

[JR]: SC, it’s not that I’m a “single issue voter”; that misses the point.  The point is this: the inalienable right to life is so basic and essential to human existence that if it is not carefully protected, every other legitimate human right will stand or fall with it.  Anyone who is so confused as to not recognize this basic truth can not be trusted to defend basic human rights, and therefore is completely unfit for office. 

 

He may have great abilities in terms of economic policy, administration, or any other traits that may help make a great president.  But if he can’t differentiate between right and wrong on so basic an issue as whether a just society should permit the deliberate killing of its posterity, he is not worthy of high public office. 

 

I think you’re wrong to characterize this as “equating political views with one’s status as a member of the body of Christ”.  The issue is one of truth, basic morality, and decency, not politics.  It’s a question of whether right-thinking people will permit our nation to be ruled by those who will permit and even endorse the killing of the defenseless.  The Church is right on the money in teaching that one who rejects basic moral implications of natural law and Divine Revelation should not think he is in good standing with the Church.

 

SC, it’s not having a moral litmus test that is dangerous; it’s in failing to have good litmus tests –or in failing to insist upon them- that the real danger lays.