That’s the title of a post by Ruth Hunt today on RH Reality Check.
I read that and wondered who are they beholden to then? It appears the Obama campaign has accelerated the thought among some Catholics that abortion is but one issue of many and can be trumped.
Before I get to that column, I want to excerpt from another posted by Deal Hudson yesterday, blaming the bishops themselves for the problem:
I never thought it likely that Catholic voters could be persuaded to support a candidate with both the most extreme record on abortion and who favors gay marriage. Yet, barring a miracle, that paradox is only a week away.
If Obama wins on November 4 with the help of Catholic voters, the biggest factor in his favor will be the bishops’ own document and Web site, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” [adopted in November 2007]….
As I have watched the campaign unfold, especially Obama’s outreach to Catholic voters, the USCCB document has played a decisive role. “Faithful Citizenship” provided Obama’s Catholic supporters the escape clauses needed to convince Catholics they could vote for a pro-abortion candidate in “good conscience.”
There are two major loopholes in the document. First, it states that Catholics are allowed to vote for a supporter of abortion rights so long as 1) they do not intend to support that position (34) or 2) there are offsetting “morally grave reasons” (35).
And now the column by Hunt, a Catholic pro-abort:
Catholics have often been urged by their clergy to be single-issue voters when it comes to abortion. But the tide has turned, and this year a much broader social justice agenda is guiding these voters….
In the late 1980s, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin in Chicago championed the so-called Consistent Ethic of Life or “seamless garment” approach to the question of abortion. In this view, abortion, while important, is joined by moral concerns about war, capital punishment, euthanasia, economic justice, racism, and the like. There is dispute among adherents as to whether abortion is the preeminent concern or one among equals in this approach. This discrepancy is key to the current shift among anti-abortion Catholic citizens who are choosing pro-choice Barack Obama over anti-abortion John McCain….
Recent events have served to dislodge abortion and install a much broader social justice agenda that guides Catholic voters. An economy teetering on recession and a failed war in Iraq have shifted the moral focus for most people from personal to social ethics, from abortion to the common good….
The real story is with bishops who have taken to heart their own November 2007 document, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States.” Rather than dictate policy, they wrote, “We bishops do not intend to tell Catholics for whom or against whom to vote. Our purpose is to help Catholics form their consciences in accordance with God’s truth. We recognize that the responsibility to make choices in political life rests with each individual in light of a properly formed conscience….” (No. 7) They go on to say: “There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences or to ignore a fundamental moral evil” (No. 35).
This formulation allows some bishops to counsel against single-issue voting….
It is clear that these bishops have not backed off of abortion, but it is equally the case that they have not so focused on it that they miss the many conditions – racism, poverty, sexism, war, among others – that form the context in which abortions are necessary, the context that needs to change if the number of abortions is to be reduced. This larger context constitutes “gravely moral reasons” why a Catholic could, some might say should, vote for Obama over McCain despite their respective positions on abortion….
No, no, no. The “condition” that “form[s] the context in which abortions are necessary” is promiscuity, sex outside of marriage. It is really that simple. This takes us back to the “love the one you’re with” mentality introduced in the 60’s in conjuction with widespread contraceptive availability.
Protestants by and large don’t yet see the connection (By golly, I am going to write that book.) but the Catholic Church does.
The problem is many priests have backed away from teaching on this issue. First, teaching against contraception is counter-cultural right now, and second there is a disconnect between understanding why contraceptives are morally wrong.
Someone recently said abortion won’t go away until our society begins practicing chaste living again. This is true.
Obama’s so-called solutions to lower the abortion rate based on the aforementioned “conditions” are all wrong and won’t work. Catholics and Evangelicals following this thought are helping push America over the cliff.