Are enough Catholics still pro-Life for Obama’s game-playing to matter?

I have some familiarity with Church history and doctrine, owing to my background as a European history major.  I am woefully ignorant, however, about modern Catholicism — or, more specifically, modern American Catholicism.  I therefore have a question for those of you who are Catholic:  Does it matter to a critical mass of American Catholics that Obama is sponsoring a health care plan that requires Americans to pay for abortion and that he is lying about that fact?  Kathryn Jean Lopez thinks it matters a lot:

[T]he loss of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, one of the most prominent Catholic politicians in the United States, a leading proponent of the president’s health-care-reform push, should not obscure a pivotal fact: Barack Obama has put himself at war with the Catholic Church.

[snip]

On August 11, Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia sent a letter to members of the House of Representatives about the health-care legislation under consideration. He highlighted legislative language that would open the door to taxpayer-funded abortions. He pointed out that when amendments were introduced this summer that would have protected against this — would have protected life — they were shot down. That’s a bad precedent. If that’s how life fares when the C-SPAN cameras are on, what happens when it comes time for the behind-closed-doors compromises?

[snip]

On August 11, Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia sent a letter to members of the House of Representatives about the health-care legislation under consideration. He highlighted legislative language that would open the door to taxpayer-funded abortions. He pointed out that when amendments were introduced this summer that would have protected against this — would have protected life — they were shot down. That’s a bad precedent. If that’s how life fares when the C-SPAN cameras are on, what happens when it comes time for the behind-closed-doors compromises?

I agree with everything Lopez says — and I believe that Catholics who hold to the tenets of her faith will agree with her. I just wonder how many of those Catholics are left in America. I’m not talking about people who just say they’re Catholic, but people who actually believe this issue matters. Can you tell me how many of those people there are?  I know there were a lot in the 60s and 70s, but are they still around?  Or are the majority of Catholics people who pay lip service to these doctrines but don’t really belive that they apply to life in America?

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  • March Hare

    Candidate Obama’s pro-abortion policies were the subject of considerable discussion in my parish. While almost all of us agreed that abortion is wrong, many of those who supported Candidate Obama felt that the “social justice” he would bring outweighed his “pro-choice sympathies.” For others, his support of abortion-on-demand, with no restrictions, was the deal-breaker.

    Those who support ObamaCare do so because they feel the greater good of universal access to health care outweighs the evil of abortion, paid for by all Americans. Unfortunately, I don’t think American bishops & clergy have done a good job articulating the Church’s theology of the sanctity of life, from start to finish. Most Catholics I know stopped studying the Church’s theology about the time they received Confirmation, which, for most of us, was 13, and so have a teen’s understanding of what the Church is all about. So, unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a “critical mass” of Catholics who will oppose ObamaCare.

    Now, if the Catholic hospitals do as they threatened and close, rather than provide abortions, that would make a difference, as Catholic hospitals provide a significant percentage of health care. I don’t think Pres. Obama and the Pelosi-Reid-George Miller Democrats believe that will really happen, though.

  • Charles Martel

    Book, my orthodox Catholic friends and I distinguish between the Roman church and the American Church, which we call Amchurch for short.

    Unfortunately, Amchurch is in the driver’s seat for now. A majority of Catholics, although not perhaps the ones who attend weekly Mass, have no effective qualms about abortion, premarital sex, sodomy, embryonic stem cell research or divorce. For them, the question of having the government use their money to procure fetal deaths is not really that bothersome. (After all, who are they to impose their religious beliefs on others?)

    Where they may hesitate, though, is when Obama moves to force doctors to perform abortions under universal health care. There have already been rumblings on the left about making religious people perform the killings because the refusal to do so will be considered a violation of women’s civil rights. The U.S. Catholic bishops have already made it clear that they wll close down Catholic hospitals—about 1/3 of all the hospitals in the country—rather than submit to such a murderous demand. I would assume at that time even armchair Catholics might be stirred to protest.

    Of course Obama/Holder could use such resistance as an occasion to nationalize Catholic hospitals, in which case Amchurchers could shrug and say, “Thank God the government took care of that controversy! As long as the hospitals remain open, who cares if they take down all the crucifixes?”

    All of this is a long way of saying that I’m not sure there are enough real Catholics left to call Obama on his death worship. As with the Jews and mainstream Protestants, an attitude of entitlement to the orgasm has co-opted millions of Catholics and made them view babies as (regretably) removable impediments to their pleasure.

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    “First they came for the…..”

    “Ask not for whom the bell tolls….”

    “Those who forget their history…..”

    Homo sapiens? I think not……

  • http://khemenu.blogspot.com aritai

    Who officiated at the Senator’s funeral mass? Maybe the (U.S.) Church has finally realized some lines must not be crossed. Tragedy descends into farce.

  • Oldflyer

    As one who is not Catholic, but has observed the “reformation” of the Church in America with some interest, I do not believe that anyone can predict what the Church and its adherents will do.

    We have seen a couple of comments already that indicate that Church dogma can be put aside in favor of a “greater good”. I wonder if the Church has recently established a category called “Catholic-lite”?

    I do not mean to pick on Catholics because the same questions could be asked of any other belief or discipline. Catholics are a convenient vehicle for such questions because Church dogma and discipline were traditionally paramount.

    The truth is that fewer and fewer people are willing to commit wholeheartedly to anything that might involve inconvenience or sacrifice. Sadly, I count myself among the many.

  • suek

    Ok…so Kennedy, after 20 years of marriage to Joan Kennedy, divorces his wife, then gets an annulment, then marries a _divorced_ woman.

    “Kennedy married Victoria Reggie, the daughter of a family active in Louisiana politics, in 1992. She was recently divorced and had two small children from her previous marriage. ”

    Quote from:
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/bloomberg/20090831/pl_bloomberg/ag6xcd0hjyta

    I ran across this while looking for info on the annulment. Note that it says something to the effect that “we weren’t specifically aware of when the annulment was finalized, but we were aware that he began receiving communion when he and Vickie when to Mass, which they often did.”

    The problem for me here is that I was taught that divorce is not morally wrong, but remarriage (without an annulment) is. It may be undesirable, but it’s not a sin. So here we have Kennedy not going to communion (which implies that he considered himself guilty of serious sin) until he gets an annulment, then he and and the woman he remarries – who is herself a divorced woman – begin receiving communion together. No mention of _her_ annulment. No mention of her conversion to Catholicism, which might be an indication that her first marriage was not considered valid in the eyes of the church. It’s just crazy.

    http://www.usnews.com/blogs/god-and-country/2009/08/26/qa-ted-kennedy-biographer-adam-clymer-on-kennedys-catholicism-.html

    About the abortion issue…I don’t know. I don’t understand how _any_ Catholic could accept abortion as ok for _any_ reason. The end never justifies the means. That’s like saying it’s ok to kill the rich guy in town so the rest of the town can split out his goods – fairly, of course. But I agree that the religious education has been sorely neglected, I think, so that people are almost without guidance.

  • suek

    Here’s another one that will explain some of the Catholic views a bit better – this one is about Kerry, but he was in the same situation as Kennedy from a religious viewpoint. He has an interesting conclusion regarding Kerry’s candidacy. (2004 election period of time)

    http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/5112.html

  • roylofquist

    As far as I can determine, a majority of the people in this country are opposed to abortion. It would seem to me that an even larger majority of Catholics would be. Question is – how important is it to them?

  • suek

    Yet another regarding a Kennedy annulment. You know…this sure looks like a definite pattern here. Sort of like families sharing their “know how”, as much as corruption within the church. Still, those in the church with the power to grant annulments are supposed to be intelligent men, and shouldn’t be so easily duped.

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/jun/07062101.html

  • Danny Lemieux

    I believe that during the time of Martin Luther, these “annulments” were called “writs of absolution”, available for a proper donation.

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  • Tiresias

    I think Charles has the right of it. Unless the bishops really stand up to the idea of forcing doctors to perform procedures antithetical to their beliefs, I don’t think there’s a “critical mass” of American Catholics who believe much of anything any more. (I would definitely separate out “American Catholics” from your actual “Catholics.”) In this country we are “cafeteria Catholics:” we pick and choose among doctrines, take what we agree with and like, and ignore what makes us uncomfortable.

    As more than one pope has pointed out, that isn’t how it works. On her recent visit to Rome, the idiot Pelosi got soundly spanked by Ratzinger, but even he doesn’t seem to have barred her from the sacraments – which would be Step 1. (It may be coming, though. He apparently didn’t like her to a remarkable degree, as well as considering her flatly idiotic in a doctrinal sense.) And there have, I seem to recall, been some parishes in this country where the local bishops have looked at some of our illustrious politicians and said: “nope. Stay away from the communion rail, you’ll just embarrass all of us.”

    I am advised by a familial source that there is great and ongoing argument about America in the halls of the Vatican. Benedict, and Jean-Paul before him: both major traditionalists, and hard-asses in a theological/doctrinal sense. Both, despite lovely, grand-fatherly images, no-nonsense guys who are/were pretty damn fed up with America’s version of Catholicism.

    On the other hand, being a vast multi-national operation the Church always needs dough, and the biggest source for the last hundred-fifty years has been contributions from America. Can Rome afford to piss off the piggy-bank by requiring strict adherence to rules most of America blithely ignores?

    Tough question. It makes clear leadership difficult. It keeps Pelosi and the Kennedys from being excommunicated. I would think that this current collection of offal in Washington might push a sufficiency of buttons to make the Vatican take a hand, or at least issue marching orders – but I’m not sure I’d count on it.

  • Charles Martel

    Tiresias, I hope you’re right about “I would think that this current collection of offal in Washington might push a sufficiency of buttons to make the Vatican take a hand, or at least issue marching orders.” Benedict is hard-headed enough to realize that the era of a wealthy church that is welcome in the highest political circles is over. Europe is shutting the door on its Christian past and Obama and the left are pulling out the long knives for Xianity in this country.

    Add to that militant Islam, which despises Rome and will soon enough begin directing its full fury at its arch-rival, Catholicism.

    So, if the Vatican has to go to the mattresses for a century or two, so be it. I fully hope and more than half expect that Pelosi, Sebelius, Biden and a few dozen U.S. Jesuits are soon going to be shown the door.

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    From your lips to G-d’s ears, Charles……!

  • SADIE

    As an outsider looking in …

    If the Vatican is ‘flexible’ inasmuch as I have not heard of excommunications for failing to adhere to the tenants of the faith, why would American Catholics feel as though they can’t split their vote, so to speak.

    Isn’t an annulment just repacking of divorce. I understood it to mean, once upon a time, if the marriage was not consummated, it could be annulled.

  • suek

    Sadie…no, not a repackaging of divorce. An annulment means the marriage never existed in the first place. “not consummated” is indeed one qualifying condition. The others are somewhat more technical – most having to do with whether the person is freely binding themselves to the vow they take. One of those articles said or postulated that Ted Kennedy’s annulment was based on the fact that when he took his vows, he had no intention of remaining faithful to Joan. Boy. If that’s correct – talk about a bogus excuse. And I have no doubt that Teddy swore before God that indeed – when he swore that he’d be faithful to her and forsake all others, he was lying. How about another “Were you lying then or are you lying now” question!

    Another reason is that one partner is Christian and one is not – that one has a special name, but I don’t remember it at the moment.

    There are actually a number of them, but almost all have to do with one or both person’s state of mind at the time they take the marriage vows. Pregnancy out of wedlock, for example. Is social pressure enough to call it a coerced vow?

    Of course, there are real reasons – being married already, eg – but as you can see by these, a lot of them are problems of intent, and impossible to prove or disprove. Lots of room for cheating. I assume that in the next life an all knowing God will call in all the chips, but in the here and now…lots of cheating going on, I think.

  • SADIE

    Thanks suek..

    Although I still remain a tad fuzzy over the technical details.

    So, if I got this clear or as clear as “if” can be:

    Teddy knowingly lied to get married.
    The marriage never existed (annulled). Do the children of a marriage that never existed have technical problem with the church later in life?
    State of Mind vs. State of Massachusetts

  • suek

    >>Do the children of a marriage that never existed have technical problem with the church later in life?>>

    One of the Kennedy wives…Sheila Kennedy – in that Lifesite link – was not even Catholic but was incensed by the annulment…said that the church had just bastardized her children and fought it tooth and nail. Apparently, she won her case, the marriage was _not_ annulled, and really, since Joseph didn’t wait for the annullment before remarrying the whole thing was just a kabuku theater dance anyway. Why did he even bother? “Easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven”, I fear.

    But no…the children have no problem. The Church views the children about the same way Dear Abby did…”there are no illegitimate children – there are only illegitimate parents”.

    “Mind vs Mass”….

    Good one!

  • SADIE

    Glad you enjoy my humor, suek. Loose you sense of humor and you’ll loose your mind, otherwise.

    Oddly enough I have made this argument before– a decade ago, in a case involving Joe’s uncle. In the eyes of the Catholic Church, is Senator Ted Kennedy married to his first wife, Joan, or to his current partner, Vicki? To this day, no Church official has answered that question for the record. But if the sanctity of marriage is important to the Church– and it is vitally important– then the answer to that question is an important one: an answer the public should hear.

    Well, well, well…it does seem that the Kennedy boys were not only non-observant Catholics, but could be considered polygamists in the eyes of the church. I was thinking that Sheila Kennedy wanted no parts of annulment, particularly if it affected alimony. Who knows, no one is talking. When you have mega millions to spread silence …

  • gpc31

    Speaking as a poor R.C. I will engage in civil disobedience including cheating on my taxes before I pay one cent for abortions. Abortion is legal; I don’t think it’s right, but I do respect the law; compelling me to pay for it is over the line.

  • suek

    >>I was thinking that Sheila Kennedy wanted no parts of annulment, particularly if it affected alimony.>>

    Whoa. I hadn’t thought of that. If the marriage didn’t exist, how can there be alimony. I don’t think it matters. He didn’t get a _legal_ annulment, he got a _religious_ annulment. He was _legally_ married, and _legally_ divorced – but the marriage wasn’t _legally_ annulled. I didn’t see anything that indicated that he attempted to get a legal annulment.

    So, it’s just the religious part. The legal annulment probably wouldn’t fare so well – it depends on facts, not states of mind. If one or the other could show that there was coercion, a legal annulment could probably be obtained, but state of mind being grounds? I don’t think so. Of course, since the marriage is performed by a priest as a legal representative of the state, and since the marriage was annulled by the organization “authorizing” the priest, that could be grounds for a legal annulment…but to be honest, I think they were just covering the public face of the matter in order not to totally alienate their Catholic voters. I don’t think they really cared – but they had to look like they cared. Hypocrites.

  • SADIE

    suek

    I think you got it right. They just don’t care. It’s all about covering their public/political bases.

  • suek

    Ran across this today, and found it interesting in light of the question about whether Catholics are still Catholic. It discusses the shifting of Catholic doctrine by shifting the meaning of words, and how this is used to shift the entire theology.* It was only recently that I came across articles on the intent of Communism to destroy the church from within – because they saw Catholicism as being one of the strongest forces in resisting Communism – by insertion of individuals within the ranks of the priesthood. That shocked me. It shouldn’t have, but it did.
    And, since their goal was the destruction of the Church, why not see to it that those they sent to infiltrate were also sexual deviants? Let them follow their inclinations…that could be helpful. Now I see this. It all fits. We have been successfully infiltrated. The question now is how to resist and hold true to the Faith as it was supposed to be.

    http://www.ad2000.com.au/articles/1989/jul1989p8_637.html

    * I apologize for posting an article about matters of faith within the Catholic Church – for those of you who are members of other religions or of no religious faith it will be more than you want to know. I wouldn’t do so, except that it points out the original intent of certain vocabulary and the manner in which shifting that vocabulary only slightly shifts the meaning and intent to a different goal. So I ask your forbearance if you’re willing to plow through it…I do think it’s an important aspect of the infiltration of the United States – just a different avenue of attack.

  • suek

    Actually, the link to the above article was in _this_ article, which raises the point of the last sentence. It’s probably the place to start.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/09/the_point_of_the_dagger.html

  • Charles Martel

    suek:

    A lot of the moles in the Church are useful idiots, people who are so frantically pursuing their own narrow interests and ends that they don’t see the larger intent behind their destructive presence.

    I used to do writing for the University of San Francisco, a supposedly Catholic college that is now one of the most disgusting purveyors of sexual deviancy, moral relativism and cultural degeneracy (proud sponsor of “The Vagina Monologues,” pro-gay and pro-abortion student clubs, a Jesuit president who refers to God as “Father/Mother”) in San Francisco. Given the cesspool USF operates in, that is a mighty big backhanded compliment I’m giving it.

    One fellow I interviewed for an article was a student counselor who was a Jesuit priest with 27 years of formal education: K-12, graduate, post graduate, and post graduate, and post graduate, and post graduate, ad nauseum. He was a pantheist and openly acknowledged it when I asked him if he believed in any Roman Catholic teachings. The guy was gay, and I learned that he was sexually active, but there seemed to be no tension created in him by the disparity between his sacred vows as a priest and his proclivity for probing other men’s digestive tracts.

    I was flabbergasted. Here was a man who had pursued the chimera of “if I can take enough courses I’ll be able to prove to myself once and for all whether there is a God, and if so, must I obey Him?” I realized that he was surrounded by similar men, self-entered and self-absorbed in their intellect, but empty of faith or inspiration beyond finding the next butt to exploit or amusing soiree to attend.

    Closer to home, the parish vicar at my church, Fr. Joe, is very old and will soon retire to a Jesuit community in Wisconsin. He’s a member of that credulous older generation, the ones born before the Boomers, who seeking to be vindicated as formidable and daring thinkers fell for Maslow and “reformers” like Kung, Curran and Drinan. He once told a 10-year-old girl at a Mass I attended that “by the time you’re a woman, I pray that the priesthood will be open to you.” Never mind that three years before, JPII had dismissed that possibility for good.

    Fr. Joe’s a nice enough guy, but being nice isn’t one of the major building blocks of the road to Heaven. I have noticed that as his foolish generation fades away, the younger priests replacing it are more orthodox and less likely to suffer innovations or theology that detracts from the Church’s salvific message.

    I think that just as the rot and corruption at the heart of Obama’s administration are becoming more and more evident, the stink from heretical Jesuits and theologians, and the appalling appetites of clerical sodomites is something that many, many people are finally noticing. Those “progressive” folks have had their chance and are now being exposed. In the case of the Roman Catholic Church, the gates of Hell are not prevailing against it.

  • SADIE

    suek..actually your comments are very timely. It’s the semantics or the ‘antics’ of the activists’ agenda of the day. The ‘vetting’ process in the church is as challenged as it is anywhere else i.e. school boards.
    I watched Tucker Carlson last night on Fox (check below for repeat times). It had all to do with textbooks, what’s in them and who is writing for whom and at the request of whom, the politics of it all and the larger picture of what students are being ‘fed’. I strongly recommend watching it or getting a transcript if possible – a real eye popper.

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2009/09/03/tucker-carlson-textbooks/

    semantics

    1. the branch of linguistics concerned with the nature, the structure, and the development and changes of the meanings of speech forms, or with contextual meaning
    2.
    1. semiotics
    2. the branch of semiotics dealing with relationships of signs and symbols to the things to which they refer, or with referential meaning
    3. the relationships between signs and symbols and the concepts, feelings, etc. associated with them in the minds of their interpreters; notional meaning
    4. loosely deliberate distortion or twisting of meaning, as in some types of advertising, propaganda, etc.

  • suek

    Sadie…

    You mean…semantics antics????

    The Tucker Carlson show is on now – as I sit doing this response. I’m pretty aware of the problem. In California, we have to choose state approved texts. We can use other texts in addition, but the curriculum is based on the state approved texts. We normally have a choice of a couple, and the teachers have input. We also had to have the texts available to the public for about a month before they are accepted for adoption by the district. Our district is pretty right leaning, but it would be easy to make more radical choices, and easier yet for teachers to subvert the board’s intentions by minimizing or by expanding on various parts of the texts. You have to have a Principal or Superintendent who’s on top of stuff to keep it in hand.

  • SADIE

    suek..

    Yes – semantics antics :)

    You have to have a Principal or Superintendent who’s on top of stuff to keep it in hand.

    And if you don’t have someone at the top who is minding the store, the kids will be reading Tango, the penguin story.

  • SADIE

    I have had no success in getting a response, of course if you want to take a stab.

    As you can imagine, I had few things to say about Bishop Williamson.

    Vatican

  • SADIE

    oops…

    email: benedictxvi@vatican.va

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