"It is...Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as 'profane novelties of words,' out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: 'This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved' (Athanasian Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim 'Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,' only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself." -- Pope Benedict XV, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum 24 (1914)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Quietly, Catholic bishops draw a stark choice for the faithful between Romney-Obama


Posted 10/31/2012 09:06 AM ET

Al Smith Foundation (So, a Catholic, a Mormon and a Chicagoan walk into a bar....)

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney sure looked to be having a swell time at the recent Al Smith Foundation dinner in New York. We wrote about the many laughs and published a video of the charity roast here.

But here's another apparent truth:

As a result of what Catholic church leaders regard as some blatant double-dealing by the Democrat president on his ObamaCare regulations, the church has quietly launched a massive national information campaign among millions of church faithful.

Catholics are famously independent when it comes to their votes. Even if they were voting simply by religion, both vice presidential nominees are Roman Catholics, the first such time in U.S. history.

However, in such an apparently close contest, the switch of even a few hundred thousand votes in the right states could well suck sufficient ballots away from Obama to swing next Tuesday's election toward the Republican ticket.

The breadth and specificity of this year's determined education effort by the church is unprecedented in the memory of many close church observers.

As regulations were written earlier this year to implement the president's prized healthcare legislation, Cardinal Dolan and other church leaders believed their direct talks had negotiated a religious exemption from certain ObamaCare provisions that violate constitutional religious protections and run counter to Catholic teachings.

These included mandating free contraception as part of required health insurance at scores of Catholic hospitals and institutions. Another was an ObamaCare requirement to recognize same-sex marriage and grant adoptions to those couples. Next Tuesday voters in four states -- Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington -- will decide on same-sex marriage, whether to join the 30 other states prohibiting the practice.

However, when the Obama administration announced the regs, there were no such exemptions. Bishops and Catholic institutions have since sued the Department of Health and Human Services.

In public, church leaders refrain from partisan political statements. Indeed, Cardinal Dolan offered prayers at the national conventions of both parties, even the Democrats who for a time excluded mention of God in their platform and roundly booed bids to restore the deity.

Under American tradition any church would be unlikely to explicitly dictate to or advise followers on which candidates or parties to choose in an election, such as next Tuesday's presidential decision.

However, since Republican Mitt Romney has promised, if elected, to begin issuing exemptions and repealing ObamaCare on Day One, it doesn't take a theology degree to figure out which candidate the Roman Catholic hierarchy would prefer to deal with as president beginning next Jan. 20.

Charles Dharapak / AP

So, as early voting began this month, Catholic publications, dioceses and individual parishes began distributing millions of pieces of literature advising members, in the words of Philadelphia's Archbishop Charles Chaput, "to make sure that they're Catholic prior to being Democrat or Republican."

In an interview with EWTN the Global Catholic Network, the archbishop said, "We do believe in the separation of church and state. But we don't believe in the separation of faith from political life. It's very important for Catholics to make distinctions when voting that they never support intrinsic evils like abortion, which is evil in all circumstances."

One piece of widely-distributed literature given to church members on recent Sundays carries the photograph of Pope Benedict XVI and the title: "Voting and the Non-Negotiable Moral Principles."

Faithful parishioners are given lengthy excerpts from the Republican and Democrat party platforms and left to choose, using their Catholic values:

"Life. The protection and dignity of every human life from conception to natural death. The framework within and against which every other issue must be measured."

2012 Democratic Platform:

'The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right. (p. 18)'

'President Obama and Democrats will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers. The Affordable Care Act ensures that women have access to contraception in their health insurance plans. (p. 18)'

2012 Republican Platform:

'Faithful to the 'self-evident' truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children.' (p. 13-14)

'We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. (p. 13-14)'

"Marriage & Family. The primacy of the family as the first cell of society. The protection and honor given to the faithful marriage between a man and a woman and the family built upon it."

'2012 Democratic Platform:

'We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. (p. 18)'

'We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (p. 18)'

2012 Republican Platform:

'Congressional Republicans took the lead in enacting the Defense of Marriage Act (p. 10)'

'We commend the United States House of Representatives and State Attorneys General who have defended these laws when they have been attacked in the courts. (p. 10)'

'We reaffirm our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. (p.10)'"

The third part of the literature examines: "the first freedom, religious freedom."

It provides lengthy excerpts of the Democrats' platform extolling reproductive rights, gay rights, same-sex marriage and administration efforts to apply these values domestically and in other countries.

And then it provides the Republicans' platform:

'The most offensive instance of this war on religion has been the current Administration's attempt to compel faith-related institutions, as well as believing individuals, to contravene their deeply held religious, moral, or ethical beliefs regarding health services, traditional marriage, or abortion.

'This forcible secularization of religious and religiously affiliated organizations, including faith-based hospitals and colleges, has been in tandem with the current Administration's audacity in declaring which faith-related activities are, or are not, protected by the First Amendment—an unprecedented aggression repudiated by a unanimous Supreme Court in its Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC decision. (p. 12)'

'We support the ability of all organizations to provide, purchase, or enroll in healthcare coverage consistent with their religious, moral or ethical convictions without discrimination or penalty. (p. 34)'"

So, what do you think? Tough choice for practicing Catholics?

Or maybe not.

Read More At IBD: http://news.investors.com/politics-andrew-malcolm/103112-631540-catholic-church-leaders-outline-party-platforms-on-catholic-values.htm#ixzz2B4YtATPX

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