Republican Catholic Bishops

August 30, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

It sounds as if Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the big, jolly face of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has for the moment dodged accusations of sheer Republican favoritism by agreeing to give the closing prayer at the Democratic National Convention next week as well as at the Republican gathering this week. He is even taking criticism from some to his right about having invited the “pro-abortion” Obama to the New York archdiocesan fundraiser  to take place on October 19.

I am not massively relieved by all of this. Paul Ryan, that distinguished Ayn Rand Catholic nominated by the Republicans last night for the vice-presidency, is still personal friends with Dolan from his days in Wisconsin.  And don’t let Dolan’s scheduled appearance at the DNC obscure the unvarnished attack by the USCCB he leads on the signature  achievement of Obama’s presidency, the Affordable Care Act, which provides health coverage for 40 million uninsured Americans.

I must confess that I continue to find this attack by the US bishops, in an election year, on the Democratic candidate for president, genuinely stunning. Now as I detailed in an earlier blog-post, I am an Irish-American Catholic of a certain sort. My father told my brother and me that if we ever voted Republican, we would go to hell. I was in college before I realized that there was such a thing as a Republican Catholic. Franklin Roosevelt modeled the New Deal on the services the New York (Irish) Democratic machine had provided its constituents for decades. How could our bishops now be supporting candidates who want to abolish the social safety net and go back to the laissez-faire economics that  caused a million of my ancestors to starve to death?

I asked one of my very smart Irish-American reform Catholic friends in Philadelphia why she thought the bishops were doing this. “They’re Republicans,” she responded. I still couldn’t believe it.

I couldn’t believe it, that is, until I had a conversation with a priest-friend from another part of the country. His bishop, my friend reported, had told him that he had a moral obligation to vote for the Republican candidate for president because of Obama’s support for abortion. My friend, who is nearing retirement and doesn’t have a lot to lose, told the bishop that since this is America, he has the right to follow his conscience and vote for whomever he chooses. So now it has come to me: the US Catholic bishops, whose predecessors were the shepherds of huge numbers of poor, suffering white-ethnic immigrants, and who are presently the shepherds of millions of struggling Hispanic, Haitian, African and Asian Catholic immigrants, have transferred to the every-tub-on-its own bottom party. Why? Because they oppose the government mandate of free contraception for American women, as a result of which a significant number of said women may well avoid having abortions.

As I argued back in 2010, for the bishops, only sex matters, and in this election year, even more so.



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  1. Well said Marian! It’s sad to think that all you said is so true! Just signed on to your blog and I am enjoying your writing very much. keep up the good words…


  2. Marian, Your Priest friend is spot on. As a Catholic, there is nothing greater than the right to life. The rights of the unborn will never be protected unless we as Catholics stand up. This is why the Bishop in Delaware said he would deny Joe Biden Holy Communion a few years ago. Elected officials who are Catholic have to decide whether they are going to follow their faith or perhaps throw their faith aside in favor of their constituents. This is why Paul Ryan has become such a rock star with Catholics today.

    If Jesus were here today, I’m quite sure he would be quite disappointed with both parties. Unfortunately, the Democratic Party today isn’t the same as the party of our fathers. The party did not support abortion rights for women as a platform until the 1980’s. And, as we just witnessed, the Democratic Party has just supported gay marriage rights. Both of these issues are such serious sins to Catholics, that it has really driven a wedge right into the heart of Catholic teaching and what Catholicism is all about.

    Unfortunately, most Catholics do not take their faith seriously today. While the faith is the same as it ever was, “cafeteria catholicism” has become the norm where people pick and choose what they want to believe. I believe that there is real evidence to create a new political party based on church teaching. If that party were to exist, it would support social programs for all people, eliminate abortion, protect the sanctity of marriage, and the economy would be secondary, not the primary issue.

    Nice job Marian!!


  3. Marian,
    Thanks for a thoughtful posting. I do not support abortion, as I feel it is not my call to make to end a life. For the same reason I do not support the death penalty. I am a lifelong democrat, which I have no problem reconciling with my Catholicism. My issues recently are with the decidedly un Christlike positions taken by the church in denying gays, reinforcing the second class position of women in both public and spiritual roles, and the increased politicizing from the pulpit.
    Please continue publishing your insightful words.


  4. Neither Party is aligned with Christ teaching so I think it would be appropriate for a Catholic to abstain from voting. I think most would agree the Republican position today is more like the Democratic position of 30 years ago as the modern Democratic position has grown to include “fringe” issues. However, the Republicans’ stance on poverty, the Death Penalty, etc. are not Christ like. That said, the Democratic Position on birth control, abortion, and Gay marriage go completely againt the faith. The faith is clear on homosexuality (sodomy), but as Catholics we are compelled to love the Sinner, but hate the Sin. We should treat everyone with respect regardless of their sins and pray for them to refrain from the deviant behavior. It is not up to any of us to judge, but rather to lead a life that is Christ like.


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