10.11.08

"Faithful Citizenship"?

Moral Courage? The pamphlet and homilies on "Faithful Citizenship" by the Bishops of the United States was largely disregarded. With the exception of a few, the mostly wishy-washy USCCB persuasion argument fell on deaf ears last week.... A finer piece of double talk has never been published.

...the U. S. Catholic Bishops will revisit the topic of "Faithful Citizenship" --their nuanced statement on how believers should guide their vote by a Catholic teachings on a broad spectrum of social issues including, but not exclusively, opposition to abortion -- tomorrow at their annual fall meeting, just a week after their efforts proved largely unpersuasive with the voting flock.

Scores of Catholic bishops counseled -- even threatened -- that a vote for Obama/Biden, who both support access to legal abortion, could endanger a Catholic's salvation by cooperating with evil. In an address titled "Little Murders," Archbishop of Denver Charles Chaput, said he was only speaking for himself but, "To suggest - as some Catholics do - that Senator Obama is this year's 'real' prolife candidate requires a peculiar kind of self-hypnosis, or moral confusion, or worse..." more...


Francis Cardinal George in a rather candid opening address at the 2008 Fall General Assembly of the USCCB said, ...We can also be truly grateful that our country’s social conscience has advanced to the point that Barack Obama was not asked to renounce his racial heritage in order to be president, as, effectively, John Kennedy was asked to promise that his Catholic faith would not influence his perspective and decisions as president a generation ago. Echoes of that debate remain in the words of those who reject universal moral propositions that have been espoused by the human race throughout history, with the excuse that they are part of Catholic moral teaching. We are, perhaps, at a moment when, with the grace of God, all races are safely within the American consensus. We are not at the point, however, when Catholics, especially in public life, can be considered full partners in the American experience unless they are willing to put aside some fundamental Catholic teachings on a just moral and political order. The hubris that has isolated our country politically and now economically is heard, but not usually recognized, in moral arguments based simply and solely on individual moral autonomy. This personal and social dilemma is not, of course, a matter of ultimate importance, for America is not the Kingdom of God; but it makes America herself far less than she claims to be in this world.

Catholics went largely for Obama. Perhaps, as New York Times columnist Peter Steinfels observed this weekend:

Many Catholics may understandably feel that the bishops are talking out of both sides of their mouths: Catholics are not supposed to be single-issue voters, but, by the way, abortion is the only issue that counts. The bishops do not intend to tell Catholics how to vote; but, by the way, a vote for Senator Obama puts your salvation at risk. Catholics are to form their consciences and make prudential judgments about complex matters of good and evil -- just so long as they come to the same conclusions as the bishops.

...but how can they if the Bishops arguments are so nuanced as to be indecipherable? When will the USCCB rise as in one voice and say "NO!" this is not Catholic teaching, your soul is in jeopardy if you persist the support of abortion. Perhaps I am asking too much... Of the 9 priority initiatives through 2011 life is down at #7.

Dieu Le Roy!
de Brantigny

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