An illustration of the way in which the Church has been emasculated over the last half century is the fact that there is still no resounding mandate from the leaders of the Church here in the United States to make sure that Catholics know their obligation in regard to the support of the culture of life. We are a mealy-mouthed bunch of girly boys.
There was a time when the bishops even had the Hollywood hooligans quaking in their boots. By wielding its “threat of condemnation” the American bishops’ Legion of Decency “effectively censored films.” Film producers would send the reviewers of the Legion copies of films before release and then make adjustments afterward in order to avoid a bad rating.
Not only did Hollywood quake, but Catholics were eager to follow their shepherds. Here is the Legion’s oath which many Catholics devotedly took:
I wish to join the Legion of Decency, which condemns vile and unwholesome moving pictures. I unite with all who protest against them as a grave menace to youth, to home life, to country and to religion. I condemn absolutely those salacious motion pictures which, with other degrading agencies, are corrupting public morals and promoting a sex mania in our land. … Considering these evils, I hereby promise to remain away from all motion pictures except those which do not offend decency and Christian morality.
Can you imagine? Now what is the state of Hollywood? Remember the Golden Compass and Catholic reviewers behaved as thought their faith really had nothing to do with their role as “Catholic” reviewers?
Anyway, Archbishop Chaput has taken Douglass Kmiec and the other devotees of the anti-Messiah to task for their delusional support of the Candidate of Abortion. Think about it. Once upon a time, bishops were not afraid of telling catholic they shouldn’t watch girly movies. Now we tip-toe ever so softly when we suggest that Catholics should not support baby killing.
“To suggest—as some Catholics do—that Senator Obama is this year’s ‘real’ pro-life candidate requires a peculiar kind of self-hypnosis, or moral confusion, or worse,” Chaput said according to his prepared remarks, titled “Little Murders.”
The Obama campaign has been promoting an unusual-suspect sort of endorsement from Douglas Kmiec, a Catholic law professor and former legal counsel in the Reagan administration.
Kmiec wrote a book making a Catholic case for Obama. He argues the Obama campaign is premised on Catholic social teaching like care for working families and the poor and foreign policy premised on peace over war. Democratic efforts to tackle social and economic factors that contribute to abortion hold more promise, Kmiec said, than Republican efforts to criminalize it.
While applauding Kmiec’s past record, Chaput said: “I think his activism for Senator Barack Obama, and the work of Democratic-friendly groups like Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, have done a disservice to the church, confused the natural priorities of Catholic social teaching, undermined the progress pro-lifers have made, and provided an excuse for some Catholics to abandon the abortion issue instead of fighting within their parties and at the ballot box to protect the unborn.”
Pro-Obama Catholics “seek to contextualize, demote and then counterbalance the evil of abortion with other important but less foundational social issues,” said Chaput, who wrote a book this year, “Render Unto Caesar,” about Catholics and politics.
Why has it not been made more plain. Voting for Obama is a mortal sin. Plain and simple.
Dear Father Angelo,
Let me ask you, can bishops/archbishops/priests NOT tell people this? (Voting for Obama is a mortal sin, that is.) Has the government forbidden them from preaching this and publicizing this? Can they NOT shout this from the rooftops? Are parish priests forbidden to say this? It would end the ambiguity. I somehow keep thinking there must be something preventing them from doing this. Does the USCCB not even agree or something? I just don’t get this … I can be very naive, perhaps.
Friends of mine from evangelical churches are being told under no uncertain terms what they think of Obama. I know of NO evangelicals who are for Obama. How come their churches can preach this and ours cannot?
Good question, Jennifer. I can think of no reason why we should not do what the evangelicals do.
Dear Fr. Angelo~
Thanks for this! I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to live in Chicago…a.k.a. Obamanation. Part of me wants to walk up and down Michigan Ave. w/ Face the Truth Posters interchanged with “This is what Obama supports” signs…people don’t use their brains anymore, that is for sure…Thankfully, I was reminded yesterday that Christ is our Banner of Hope…and with that, we’ll keep proclaiming the truth, even if hard-headed “Catholics” choose to do and promote otherwise. Of course, this is just more reason for us to get on our knees and pray, fast…or, as Padre Pio said, “Pray, Hope, and do not Worry.” Praise God for Dear. Archbishop Chaput!
In Jesus our Hope,
Having come from Chicago and knowing people who worked directly with the Cardinal, there is no chance that he will ever speak up….neither will the Archbishop or Cincinnati. I had a blog awhile back about the inconsistency of the Cardinal’s response to Father Pfleger versus our parish priest (who was defrocked for one allegation from 40 years earlier). The media tyrannized our neighborhood, which surrounded the parish, and we begged the Cardinal to take a stand against our the media but he did nothing. Meanwhile, the media gave a pass to a gay, Episcopelian minister-who was by the way, convicted on multiple accounts of child abuse in a few different states….but the Diocese of Chicago said nothing….It was soo depressing to be a Catholic in Chicagoland. At least now I know that there are rays of hope scattered throughout the country. Take hope in that….
We get the Clergy we deserve – So God help us, we are beyond any other help!
By the way, how often do we pray for our Bishops and Cardinals? Perhaps we can take some of the blame upon our shoulders……
I know some Evangelicals who are supporting Obama, even from theologically orthodox Baptist churches. Granted, these are young adults, but I’ve noticed Obama has attracted a good number of typically Republican/consertive voters. As for the USCCB, I don’t know, but isn’t it against canon law for ordained ministers to publicly support any political candidate or party? By coming out against Obama, the USCCB would be implicitly endorsing McCain, and that takes us in a direction of Church involvement in the state that usually proves poisonous to the faith.
If the Church did not teach that abortion and the other life issues were non-negotiable and that the sins of abortion and euthanasia preeminently evil, I might be more interested in what the “theologically orthodox” Evangelicals and Baptists think about the election.
In regard to Canon Law the only thing I am aware of that it forbids is the direct involvement of clerics in political parties:
I am not a canonist, but in so far as the canon does admit exceptions, if permitted by the “competent ecclesiastical authority,” then there should really be no worries, especially since all a bishop would be doing is stating the moral character of support for Obama.
That being said, whether an outright condemnation of Obama’s candidacy is an implicit endorsement of McCain, it seems to me, is an argument that is going to be answered largely along party lines. Unless the bishops endorse McCain by actually endorsing him, then each person is going to call it as they see it.
The problem really is that the field of candidates in this country has become so narrow, and even more narrow when it comes to the non-negotiable life issues. One party has a pro-choice plank in its platform and the other party is a divided house. Catholic Democrats really have no one to vote for and Republicans have only a few. That’s the problem.
The point of this post is that historically bishops have provided guidance in matters like this and have had a tremendous influence. We would have all kinds of choices if we had more pro-life candidates in both parties. Instead we have a narrow field strewn with eggshells that we are afraid to tread on.
The Church has always retained the right to exercise is moral influence in matters of the public square and even the political forum. Politics is about the rule of law and law is about morality. The Church’s involvement on this level, does not poison the faith, it preserves it.
The fact is that for many Catholics, from both political parties, the life issues are not paramount and non-negotiable. That is poisonous to the faith, destructive of lives and ruinous to souls.
As I’ve followed the latest issue of the Bishop of Patterson, NJ where a watchdog group (Americans United for Separation of Church and State) has called for the IRS to check things out, I think I now understand why the Catholic Church has struggled in endorsing candidates … it’s not due to cannon law but it’s due to the fact that the IRS can remove our tax-exempt status. So, as always, people are backed into a wall for the green stuff (which we all need to survive, sadly). What is so upsetting, of course, is that if you view the website of this watchdog group. nowhere are they angered by churches or religious groups who are supporting Obama. My husband reminded me how the UCC (Congregational Churches) in CT sponsored a big Obama rally during the primaries. No one is threatening their tax exempt status …. no siree bob.
Well, this explains to me why so many bishops are ‘vague’. Although, I did get a letter inside our bulletin this past weekend telling all Catholics to vote YES for that Constitution question coming up. So, will we be in trouble for that I wonder??
Well I am not sure that God will view maintaining the flow of green stuff to be sufficient cause for dereliction of duty.
I say get rid of the tax exempt status if that is the cause of us abandoning our faith in the public square!