"Faithful Citizenship"? What's that?

With another presidential election year looming, a new poll suggests most Catholics are unaware that America’s bishops have published guidelines for voting — and those who do know about it, don’t care:

Every four years, the Catholic bishops of the United States publish a detailed statement about how Catholics should think about key political issues in light of church teachings.

And every election cycle, activists on both sides of the Catholic political spectrum argue passionately about what the statement really means, whether it supports their position and why it needs to be overhauled if it doesn’t.

But what if nobody actually reads it?

A new poll of U.S. Catholics shows that just 16 percent have ever heard of the bishops’ document, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” and just 3 percent say they have read it.

Most worrisome for the bishops may be that three-quarters of those who were even aware of “Faithful Citizenship” say the document had “no influence at all” on the way they voted in 2008; 71 percent said it would have made no difference even if they had known about it.

Overall, just 4 percent of adult U.S. Catholics say the statement from the U.S. hierarchy either was a major influence, or would have been if they’d known about it.

“Those who think the bishops have too much influence on Catholic voters may be relieved by these findings,” said Peter Steinfels, co-director of Fordham University’s Center on Religion and Culture, which sponsored the survey. “Those who think that the bishops have too little influence or have influence of the wrong sort may be distressed.”

Continue reading.

  • Rudy

    Not surprised here. Most Catholics voted for president Obama, openly pro-abortion and who was and is a strong supporter of many issues that are at odds with the teachings of the Church.

    Lack of evangelization, improper catechesis, apathy? Don’t know, but American Catholics in their majority have truly a very secular outlook on things and are indistinguishable to the rest of the population in many behaviors such as divorce, abortion, cohabitation, etc.

  • naturgesetz

    It would be wonderful if we could get every adult Catholic to read “Faithful Citizenship.” For all the flaws of the 2008 version, I think that on balance it would have led to a stranger pro-life vote. Hopefully the 2012 rewrite will be better than the 2008 version.

    But there is a wider problem, as Rudy suggests. I think it is improper catechesis. How many students in religious ed programs are taught that the baptismal call to holiness includes how they vote — that they must vote in a way that makes the polity more the kind of place God, in his love, wants the world to be, just as they must spread the Kingdom of God in everything else they do? Beyond that, how many learn the ecclesiology which informs them that their consciences must be guided by the Church’s magisterium? Even though the national conferences as such do not exercise the teaching office, the guidance of their country’s bishops in applying the official teachings of the Church is something every Catholic should be taught to respect and ponder.

  • ron chandonia

    To follow up on naturgesetz’ comment, I think Faithful Citizenship has proven more useful for catechists and others involved in formation than for voters about to make choices among candidates. It is especially good at delineating the dimensions of the consistent ethic of life and at explaining the moral dimension of all our political choices. It seems to me a mistake to present it primarily as a voting guide when it better serves as a guide to political advocacy, a standard to which Catholics should regularly hold elected officials of both parties accountable.

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    I have never read it. I doubt it would affect my vote. I am not a single minded voter, and unless there was a single issue that over rided everything I can’t imagine listening to any advocacy. On rare occaision I’ve even voted for a pro-abortion candidate, either out of lack of choice or some other issue dominating. Plus the bishops never difinitively endorse or rule anyone out, even the worst abortionists. Until they actually definitively endorse, their guidelines are a waste of time.

  • Steve P

    A definitive endorsement would jeopardize their tax-exempt status, if I’m not mistaken. Not to mention it oversteps the bounds of forming one’s conscience, in my opinion.

    Of course, plenty of us as voters think we are all “independent”, but wind up voting with our like-minded group regardless. We rarely even give a listen to someone outside our self-imposed boundaries. I know I’m guilty of having a tendency to reject an idea just based on who proposes it, even though I know that’s stupid.

    But in a sound-bite electorate, realistically, that’s how far too many of us make these important decisions.

  • HMS

    The bishops’ document, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” isn’t the only way that Catholics can and have received information about voting: EWTN broadcasts (TV and Radio), Internet websites and blogs as well as forwarded email to name a few.

    I’ve experienced all of those media and, to tell the truth, they are often less civil than the bishops’ document.

  • Barbara Peters

    Rudy: “Most Catholics voted for president Obama, openly pro-abortion and who was and is a strong supporter of many issues that are at odds with the teachings of the Church.”

    Other than abortion and birth control, can you identify the “many issues” that the President strongly supports that are at odds wtih the teachings of the Church? I do not recall that he has stated that he supports gay marriage although I believe he has said that his views are “evolving” – I don’t know if he has spoken publicly about his views on pre-marital sex – but that still that doesn’t translate to “many” and those are all issues that some Catholics have struggled with in their own lives.
    Also, how should a Catholic deal with Gov. Perry’s outspoken support of the death penalty in last night’s debate?

  • HMS

    Barbara Peters #7:

    “….how should a Catholic deal with Gov. Perry’s outspoken support of the death penalty in last night’s debate?”

    I do not have any raw data to support this, but I think that the vast majority of Catholics here in the U.S. believe that the death penalty is just.

  • Art ND’76

    Barbara Peters #7:

    See the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2267, where it states when the death penalty is justified because it is necessary for the defense of society and when it is not.

    A reasonable argument could be made for the death penalty by the lack of assurance that a criminal will never be released on parole, due to future changes in the law or in judges’ “interpretation” of the law. I do not believe this is idle speculation when rapists have been paroled only to rape again.

    While I disagree with a part of Perry’s stated justification of the death penalty last night as “justice” where the word “vengeance” could just as easily be used, I could see a reason for the death penalty as a necessary means of assuring the protection of the innocent. I see this as a matter of a difference of prudential judgement that is within the teachings of the church (as opposed to direct abortion, which the catechism calls “gravely contrary to the moral law”, thus it is always wrong).

    Our prisons are only as secure as our politics and judges make them, and if their future security cannot be assured, then the death penalty (unfortunately) becomes the only assurance that innocents will not suffer again at the hands of those already convicted of grave crimes.

    I hope this helps answer the question from the point of view of thinking about the issue clearly as a Catholic, even if you still end up deciding the death penalty is not required.

    To me it isn’t a simple black/white, wrong/right question. It is about weighing the importance of protecting the innocent potential future victims versus protecting the potentially wrongfully convicted versus allowing a greater potential for the salvation of the rightfully convicted.

  • Greta

    The reason this document had so little impact is that it was written in a way to allow anyone to find whatever they wanted to find to vote either way.

    I was amazed that for example they listed abortion with race and “soladarity with the poor”. That would be like saying there is no difference between what was done in the death camps and government programs in Nazi Germany for the poor. The left used the weasal words to vote for the most pro abortion candidate in history. These is no doubt that at one time, racism was at the top of the agenda, especially at a time when it was supported by the democratic party including Jim Crow and lynching. When FDR was president and his party was blocking anti lynching laws or other civil rights programs, a good Catholic should have voted against that party. Today, while race is still an issue in America, it is no way comparable to the murder of 4,000 babies a day. Not even close. The document might have had more impact if they had used the words of Pope Benedict..

    “As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable. Among these the following emerge clearly today:

    - protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death;

    - recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family – as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage – and its defence from attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role;

    - the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.

    These principles are not truths of faith, even though they receive further light and confirmation from faith; they are inscribed in human nature itself and therefore they are common to all humanity.”

    I note he did not put up other things as being equivalent in any way. Since the Democratic Party alone keeps abortion legal and supported, and since the Democratic party is supporting “juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union” with gays, and the Democratic Party is fighting to protect teachers unions to dictate how our kids are educated including gay lifestyle equivalivent education over the objections of parents, it certainly seems like that Party is out of step with the Catholic Church.

    Once abortion and gay marriage are ended and off the table, then issues of poverty and race and the like can have a place of importance for Catholics. But even when we look at those issues, there can certainly be a debate that the big government programs are the solution. The Democrats gave us the welfare programs for generations now and not sure we have made a dent in poverty while destroying the very fabric of poor families. And last time I looked, no government program could help a dead baby.

  • Richard Johnson

    http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Did-Texas-execute-an-innocent-man-1559704.php

    “Sam Millsap Jr., the former Bexar County district attorney who made the decision to charge Cantu with capital murder, says he never should have sought the death penalty in a case based on the testimony of an eyewitness who identified Cantu only after police officers showed him Cantu’s photo three separate times.

    “It’s so questionable. There are so many places where it could break down,” said Millsap, now in private practice. “We have a system that permits people to be convicted based on evidence that could be wrong because it’s mistaken or because it’s corrupt.””

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/09/07/090907fa_fact_grann

    “In 2005, Texas established a government commission to investigate allegations of error and misconduct by forensic scientists. The first cases that are being reviewed by the commission are those of Willingham and Willis. In mid-August, the noted fire scientist Craig Beyler, who was hired by the commission, completed his investigation. In a scathing report, he concluded that investigators in the Willingham case had no scientific basis for claiming that the fire was arson, ignored evidence that contradicted their theory, had no comprehension of flashover and fire dynamics, relied on discredited folklore, and failed to eliminate potential accidental or alternative causes of the fire. He said that Vasquez’s approach seemed to deny “rational reasoning” and was more “characteristic of mystics or psychics.” What’s more, Beyler determined that the investigation violated, as he put it to me, “not only the standards of today but even of the time period.” The commission is reviewing his findings, and plans to release its own report next year. Some legal scholars believe that the commission may narrowly assess the reliability of the scientific evidence. There is a chance, however, that Texas could become the first state to acknowledge officially that, since the advent of the modern judicial system, it had carried out the “execution of a legally and factually innocent person.”

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113405213

    “A report that concluded that a faulty investigation led to the execution of a Texas man won’t be reviewed by a state board as planned after Gov. Rick Perry abruptly removed three people from the panel. The report criticized the arson finding that led to Cameron Todd Willingham’s execution for the deaths of his three daughters in a 1991 blaze.”

  • Art ND’76

    Deacon Greg #11:

    I agree that Perry’s lack of concern over potential innocents being executed is troubling. That said, did you notice his comments in the same answer concerning following proper procedures? I find his reply concerning the death penalty being “justice” troubling as well. It sounded to me like he could have used the word “vengeance” instead and have what he meant come out the same, but that’s just how I heard it.

    However, there was a third part of Perry’s reply that I think he also gave strong weight to: the protection of society from criminal behavior. That I don’t find troubling, but quite possibly completely righteous.

    So simply being for or against the death penalty oversimplifies the issue. When is the death penalty applied? Serial murder? Involuntary manslaughter? Speeding? Parking violations? I think one of these could be used to justify a death penalty means to protect society while most of the others obviously don’t. The gray areas are where prudential judgement are required.

    As to what in a culture leads it to give its assent to abortion? I think it is the same materialism that led to the child sacrifice to Molech condemned in the old testament, combined with weasel word definitions of who or what is a human being with a right to life and who is simply not considered to be a human being at all.

    I agree that a culture that believes some people deserve to be killed has a wrong belief – that means the culture either dehumanizes some people, believes in vengeance or both. That to me is a separate issue from the death penalty itself.

  • ron chandonia

    Deacon Greg’s point here is the basis for a consistent pro-life ethic. It does seem logical that those who justify killing in one instance would be be more likely to justify it in other instances. But in actual practice, these sorts of justifications fall into clusters. That is, those who justify abortion also tend to excuse euthanasia, while those who justify war tend to favor capital punishment. However, some of the most ardent foes of militarism and of the death penalty are also supportive of abortion/euthanasia, while traditional pro-lifers are often in favor of militarism and capital punishment.

    Like many evangelical Christians, Governor Perry seems to fall into the latter group. Their guiding principle seems to be “Protect the innocent by punishing the guilty.” That may be a notch up the ethical ladder from destroying the innocent and letting the guilty go scot-free. But it is certainly not even close to the moral challenge of “Love your enemies and do good to those who hate you.”

  • Jen

    Not surprised here. Most Catholics voted for Perry, openly pro-death penalty and who was and is a strong supporter of many issues that are at odds with the teachings of the Church.

    Goes both ways…then again I think it’s disgusting how many people who call themselves “pro-life” think it’s perfectly fine to support the death penalty, torture, and screwing people out of living wages.

  • naturgesetz

    Jen,

    I think it carries a fair point too far when you imply that a living wage is a pro-life matter. If the term “pro-life” is to have any useful content, I don’t think it should be extended to matters that are questions of social justice.

    I’m not familiar with Gov. Perry, but I am under the impression that he is more reasonable than a lot of people on “illegal” immigrants.

  • Art ND’76

    Ron #14,

    I agree that Perry may not appear to get close to the moral challenge of “Love your enemies and do good to those who hate you.” That said, my pet peeve with that verse is the rather loose and unthoughtful definitions of the words “Love”, “enemies”, “do good” and “hate you” that I have seen implied and/or stated by others over the years. I don’t know what your definitions of those are. I try to think more about what those words really mean in terms of helping all to be heaven bound (Love), even if they are trying to keep me from being heaven bound (selflessness to those who are innocent enemies or purposely hateful).

    My point was there is not necessarily any connection between a culture that has a prudential judgement that the death penalty may be necessary in some cases and a “culture that believes that some people deserve to be killed”. They are not the same thing. The former are exercising their God-given responsibility to protect the innocent so that they may continue on their heaven bound path, while the latter are practicing vengeance or dehumanization that may cut off the path to heaven for more than those killed by the state. In the former the death “penalty” is given due to the inadequacy of the justice system to otherwise protect the innocent, while in the latter death is used either as “repayment”, a method of intimidation or to rid society of “undesirables”. I think the former follows Catholic teaching, while the latter does not.

    While I agree that the two cultures may be one and the same, I disagree that it is a foregone conclusion.

  • HMS

    naturgesetz:

    “… he is more reasonable than a lot of people on “illegal” immigrants.”

    I think you are right, especially his extension of in-state tuition to children of undocumented workers (at least that is was what he said in 2001, when he might have been considered a “conservative Republican” according to my friends who live in Texas).

    “We don’t care where you come from, but where you are going, and we are going to do everything we can to help you get there.”

    But will those who support him, aka Tea Party, think the same way?

    He said that the Arizona immigration law “would not be the right direction for Texas” since “Texas has a rich history with Mexico, our largest trading partner, and we share more than 1,200 miles of border, more than any other state.” (2010)

    He may be accused of knowing which side his “bread is buttered on? but I would like to think that he is sincere about the immigration issue.

  • Richard Johnson

    If the abortion issue is to be addressed by Governor Perry, perhaps someone should ask him why so many abortions occur in his state.

    http://www.abort73.com/abortion_facts/us_abortion_statistics/

    “In 2007, the highest number of reported legal induced abortions occurred in Florida (91,954), NYC (90,870), and Texas (80,886); the fewest occurred in Wyoming (9), South Dakota (707), and North Dakota (1,235) (CDC).”

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    @Barbara #7
    “Other than abortion and birth control, can you identify the “many issues” that the President strongly supports that are at odds wtih the teachings of the Church?”

    These aren’t necessarily Obama but mostly positions of the democratic Party. How about gay marriage (I know he’s “evolving” if you believe that), striking prayer from any event, the removal of any religious connotation from the public square, including the ten commandments from court houses “In God We trust” from coinage, and God from the pledge of allegence, the refusal to support any school choice, forcing Notre Dame to take down a crucifix when he spoke, sex education to pre-teens, condom distribution, the litigation of anything that smacks of religion. And to add, a hostility to any form of religious expression.

    It’s no coincidence that the overwhelming majority of atheists are on the left side of politics.

    Actually I have no idea why a Christian, but especially a Catholic, would vote for any Democrat.

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    @Deacon Greg #11
    “Knowing what we do about Perry and the death penalty — and the likelihood that some of those executed on his watch were innocent”

    With all due respect that line of argument is a canard. The odds of being convicted and executed for a capital punishment are so infintesmal that you are more likely to be struck by lightning. There are risks we assume every day by the mere fact of living. Just getting in your car you assume orders of magnitude more risk than being erroneously executed.

    One should either be for the death penalty or not based on whether you think it’s appropriate justice.

  • Barbara Peters

    I do not think it is fair to say Democrats are hostile to religious expression. I have heard and seen many Democrats engage in religious expression including the President, Vice President and Nancy Pelosi. I think given the freedom of religion that is part of our Constitution and tradition, there is disagreement and debate over the extent to which religious expression should be a part of the public square. I do not like to see religion and God become a political football or an avenue to political power – I think it diminishes religion — so I am comfortable with limited government expressions of religion. As far as school choice goes, I am a strong supporter of public education. I think it is a foundation of our democracy and has lead to the integration of our society. I think school choice can lead to self segragation and further divide this country.

  • Greta

    Catholic teaching on the death penalty is not defined in the same way as abortion. Last time I looked, the death penalty was allowed if certain circumstances were involved while abortion was always wrong. Pope JPII was against the death penalty in a society that had the ability to lock up the criminal to protect society from them killing again. He assumed that was possible in the USA and therefore the death penalty should end. However, I do not remember him stating that this was now settled and something that all Catholics must believe as with abortion or marriage between one man and one woman. Does anyone have anything that states not allowing the death penalty is a settled church teaching that all Catholics are required to believe?

    One concern is those who have to guard someone who has nothing to lose by trying to kill them or another prisoner. This has long been a complaint of those who guard prioners without possiblity of ever getting out. A second is that many do not see keeping a person in a cell with no hope of ever getting out is huamane treatment. Some believe that killing the person who has done such horrible things to convince a jury to sentence them to die can be a deterent although I do not buy that. It might have been one when the person was publically hanged and people in the town brought their kids out to watch. And of course we have a history of the Catholic Church killing people while abortion has always as been against Church teaching. Finally, with today’s liberal judges, one cannot be certain that the person to be killed if given life will be kept for life without any possibility of parole.

    Frankly, the Church makes a better connection between birth control use and abortion as seen in Humane Vitae than it does with the death penalty. However, if the Church does teach definitively that the death penalty is not to be allowed ever and we are to believe that, I accept it as a settled matter.

    Now, enlighten me as to which candidate for president has publically run on ending the death penalty and been elected to office?

    And as I understand it, in Texas, the Governor has limited powers in death penalty situations. In death penalty cases, the Governor can issue one thirty-day reprieve. He or she can also make recommendations to the Board of Pardons and Paroles and can either approve or reject the board’s recommendations on pardons or sentence reductions. This has not changed the outcome in cases no matter if the governor was democrat or republican in a single case. Ann Richards as governor never issued a pardon for one case.

    As to the numbers of abortions killed listed by Richard, you have to take into consideration the population of the states you quoted. However, as long as it is the law of the land thanks to the Democratic Party and those who vote to keep them in power, the governor of a state is severly limited. If we did not have Roe, and the state was pro abortion, you could then talk about the role of the governor and legislature.

  • Greta

    Barbara 22. Anyone who is not biased would clearly state that the democratic party is much more aligned with those who want God removed from everything possible within government. If the question comes up on the issue of
    “separation of church and state” during a judicial hearing, it is almost always a democratic concern to preserve this “not in the constitution” misreading of intent.

    I would urge all Catholics to understand that the 1947 decision by the Supreme Court on the lie of “separation of church and state’ was devised by Hugo Black, a (supposedly) former klansman who was well know for his hatred of both Blacks and Catholics. The bishops united wrote a letter complaining about this decision and how it was clearly a violation of the written writes in the Constitution. A good read is from Archbishop (soon Cardinal Chaput) in this address…

    http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/politics/pg0249.htm

    It shows how this was used starting with JFK who was trying to get elected as a Catholic to the lie that one could have a personal viewpoint that did not have to reflect how one led their public life. Excellent article on the matter and also in alignment with Cardinal Burke who is in Rome leading what is in reality the Supreme Court for the Catholic faith.

  • Richard Johnson

    Greta #23: “If we did not have Roe, and the state was pro abortion, you could then talk about the role of the governor and legislature.”

    But Greta, we see many other states pushing to try to overturn Roe. Louisiana, South Dakota, Ohio, Nebraska…all of these states are passing laws with the intent of eventually giving the Supreme Court the chance to overturn Roe. They are taking the shot, to borrow a sports metaphor.

    Rick Perry has had a GOP majority in the legislature there for how many years? And while there have been pro-life bills introduced and passed (waiting periods and sonogram laws), there has been nothing approaching what these other states have done (banning or criminalizing abortion).

  • Richard Johnson

    Greta #24: “I would urge all Catholics to understand that the 1947 decision by the Supreme Court on the lie of “separation of church and state’ was devised by Hugo Black, a (supposedly) former klansman who was well know for his hatred of both Blacks and Catholics.”

    Supposedly? Carrying rumors now?

  • Fiergenholt

    Greta (esp: #23)

    I thought we all agreed — on a different blog — that we would be nice and courteous commentators and keep out posting to under 150 words with a maximum of three main points!

  • Deacon Norb

    Here is a story that came out of the 2008 election.

    Among my many local colleagues and support systems is an Ursuline nun who has a national reputation as a Roman Catholic voice in Social Justice issues. She is called upon quite a bit to deliver programs and courses on this broad topic.

    Just before the election itself, she is quotes to have said: “You know, I have studies both platforms and the lives and messages of both presidential candidates. I guess I’ll just have vote and then go to confession afterwards.”

    I have no idea who she voted for but — in essence — she correctly decided that NEITHER party nor NEITHER candidate was completely acceptable to Roman Catholicism. That truth, however, was not going to prevent her from voting.

  • Rudy

    Barbara Peters # 7

    Here is something I wrote back in 2008 about President Obama and his positions:

    http://rudy-soycatolico.blogspot.com/2009/07/president-obama-and-orthodox-catholics.html

  • pagansister

    So, the question for me to ask, if indeed Catholics are supposed to be guided in their votes for public officials—if a candidate they agree with on most issues happens to also be pro-choice—do they NOT vote for that person just because that candidate happens to be pro-choice? Perhaps the another candidate does not agree with abortion, but the voter doesn’t agree with the other platform ideas of the candidate, do they vote for that person anyhow JUST because that one happens to be against women’s choice on terminations? Personally, I think a religious institution can offer perhaps a guide (as I suppose this is supposed to be) but not say that what is written is a rule.

  • Deacon Norb

    The very night before the recent Republican Debate at the Reagan Library, in my college course “Introduction to Ethics” we spent the night discussing the role of religion and ethics and how these two topics interact. Of particular interest to the class, in fact it got a lot of them wound up, was the up-and-coming debate.

    So I listed the names of the eight participants and then asked this question to add some continuing flavor to this debate:

    “Given our cultural experiences in the three previous elections (2000; 2004; 2008), does the wider American electorate EVEN CARE what religious tradition the presidential candidate follows as long as that person DOES follow one ?” The general consensus in my class: “No.”

    “Would that mean a hard-core biblical fundamentalist (Governor Perry); OR a Mormon (Both Governor Romney and Former Ambassador Huntsman); OR a even former member of a splinter “uber-conservative Lutheran church (Representative Bachman) would have a far better chance of being elected that an avowed Atheist?” The general consensus in my class: “Yes.”

    Then a student asked: “Since when has it become constitutionally legal to use a ‘religious qualification’ for any elected office?”

    My response: “The constitution does not approve of either a religious qualification or disqualification to serve in the office, but in the mind of a lot of voters — in the secrecy of the voting booth — that religious qualification (or disqualification) looms big.”

  • naturgesetz

    pagansister,

    I think Catholic voters should realize that each issue is of a different importance, and is of differing significance for the office in question.

    For example, the willful killing of unborn humans must be regarded as one of the greatest evils possible. A candidate for legislative office or for chief executive has, IMO, come as close as possible to disqualifying him/herself if s/he supports keeping it legal. Any Catholic with a well formed conscience should consider it a big minus against that person’s candidacy. But if someone is running for the local Park Commission, his/her position on abortion really doesn’t have much bearing on what their official duties will be.

    Immigration would be important, but it is hard to see how it could trump abortion. The economy is important, but who knows what will really work? There are other issues: fair taxation, health care for all, gay marriage, environmental protection, foreign relations, dealing with terrorism, urban poverty, etc.

    Perhaps if one candidate is only slightly worse than another on right to life issues but is way better on a host of other important issues, it would be justified to vote for that candidate.

    IOW, the voter must take into account the intrinsic importance of the issues, the degree of difference between the candidates, and the relevance of each issue to the office.

  • HMS

    Rudy #30

    Thanks for your like – a very “fair and “balanced” analysis of the issues.

  • HMS

    Rudy:

    Correction:
    Thanks for your link.

    I meant link and I did like it.

  • Greta

    Richard Johnson 25, Rick Perry is a new player in the race to me and I do not have a full knowledge of what he has done or not done in regard to abortion. You are correct that in states with republican governors and legislatures, they are attempting to introduce challenges to try to save the lives of babies in their states. It is yet to be shown that the rates of abortions will drop dramatically by their efforts, but each live saved from this murder is positive and could give the courts an opportunity to rule against Roe.

    My point was that none of these governors can simply decide to ban aborton and say it is illegal in their states even with new laws passed by the legislature. It is also clear that the Democratic Party is the factor in keeping abortion legal and supported and if Catholics stopped supporting that party until it changed, Roe would go away. this would then take it back to the states and then governors and legislatures could move to end it in their states. The federal courts should never have stepped into this issue or others like gay rights or marriage but left them to the states. The fact that they had to “discover’ words not there in the text is a good indication that it was wrong.

  • Greta

    pagansister 30

    The issue is one of importance. If Hitler ended unemployment and made the trains run on time, but had a little problem with death camps, the Church is saying that if the opponent wants to stop the death camps but is in your view lousy on full employment or making the trains run on time, you cannot vote for the death camps because you want jobs. It requires you to have a reason or good that is equal to the death camps and I have yet to meet anyone who could give a reason that was equal to 4000 babies a day being killed with abortion. Some have said war, but even the war does not compare as I have yet to see anything approaching a sustained 4000 deaths a day over a 40 year period leading to 54 million dead innocent infants.

    Some who say they are pro abortion do so without religious conviction or faith in their lives. Catholics according to Church teaching have to understand that abortion is a grave evil and because of the numbers involved each day, it is one of the top evils of our time. Several Bishops, Cardinals, and even the Pope took time out to inform Nancy Pelosi of her grave error about Church teaching and abortion. We still see stories and hear speeches about the 6 million dead killed in nazi death camps. Many ask what did the German people know and why didn’t they stop it. One day, I expect when Jesus returns if not before, that the question will be asked of all Americans, especially those in the Catholic faith, what they knew, how they voted, and what they did to stop this evil…

  • Dudley Sharp

    Reply to #7:

    I think Catholics should agree with Gov. Perry on the death penalty.

    His position is in line with nearly 2000 years of biblical, theological an traditional teachings of the Church, all of which have more weight than the recent teaching of CCC 2267, which is basd upon the secular foundation of prison security.

  • Deacon Norb

    Re: Dudley #39

    “all of which have more weight than the recent teaching of CCC 2267, which is basd upon the secular foundation of prison security.”

    OK, Dudley, prove that statement

  • pagansister

    One should vote as one feels is right—and what is “right” is a judgement that should be made by the individual. Sometimes it will agree with the church and sometimes I expect it won’t.

  • greta

    pagansister,

    That might be fine if you are not Catholic. As a Catholic, you agree to believe certain things that the Church teaches and we do so because in matters of faith and morals, the Pope and Magesterium have been blessed with infalibility. Most who are not Catholic and unfortunately many Catholics do not understand this often arguing a point the pope has made to counter a settled Church teaching. The Pope can be completely ignored on matters that are not around faith and morals. However, to support abortion, or to support any type of marriage except that between one man and one woman, that mary was a virgin and Jesus was a virgin birth, the Popes infallibility, or to think women can become priests are all examples of settled church teaching. That is why we are called to have a “well formed” conscience which starts with what we are to believe as the firm base to start its formation. When we dissent on these settled church teaching, we are placing our formation at grave danger. Americans, especially after 1960, became very anti authority and many have translated that to their own harm into their beliefs upon which they form their conscience thinking it is OK to be a cafeteria Catholic. The USCCB has not done a great job of making sure that the firm and infallible beliefs are well taught and understood. The work they put out on voting is in my view a good example of this in that they confuse anything to be in any way close to abortion which has killed 54 million babies. The teaching would have been better had it stated very simply that if one candidate is opposed to abortion and the other is not and their role in the government impacts abortion such as voting for it to be legal or supported or for judges to do the same, that the pro abortion candidate cannot be supported by a good and faithful Catholic. To leave it to the unformed Catholic to try to find a reason to vote for the pro abortion candidate like Obama that is
    “proportional” to the killing of 54 million is impossible for the USCCB to detail and so should not have been included. While race was mentioned, I do not know of a single candidate for anything that comes out and states they are part of the KKK and white supremist going back to the time when the democratic party acted in this way on civil rights votes, anti lynching laws, and Jim Crow answers. I wonder if the Bishops back then advised their Catholic parishes not to vote for a party that was so closely tied to the KKK and was fighting civil rights legislation. To think one might be a racist because they do not support the big government solutions is a farce since they have failed miserably and been very harmful to the African American family as well as any poor family.

    I still have yet to have a Catholic with a well formed conscience tell me they voted for Obama and what the reason was that was proportional to the 54 million dead with 4000 added every day.

  • deaconnorb

    Greta:

    I find your focus on abortion as an evil solid and commendable; I also find your understanding of how the American Political environment really worked to be seriously flawed:

    –During the late 1800′s, the Republican Party adopted a strong plank against immigration which — at the same time — was anti-Irish and anti-German and anti Catholic.

    –During the 1920′s, the Klan literally owned the entire State of Indiana. Those KKK folks were all Republican, not Democratic.

    –To this day, in southern Illinois, southern Indiana, southern Ohio, are staunch Republican. Throughout these areas there remains s a strong undercurrent of Klan.

    –During World War II, New Yorker Democratic President Roosevelt took the first steps in anti-discrimination against African Americans when he issued an Executive Decree prohibiting that activity among defense contractors. Immediately after his death, Missouri Democratic President Truman continued his policies.

    –Kansas Republican President Eisenhower did absolutely nothing to encourage any Civil Rights laws during his term.

    –It was during the Democratic presidencies of both Massachusetts Kennedy and Texas Johnson, we saw that large group of Civil Rights legislation. The “old-South” only became Republican when one of their own — Johnson — forced through the Fair Housing Act. They felt totally betrayed.

    –Finally, during the 1976 campaign; Democratic challenger Jimmy Carter was anti-abortion; his opponent, Republican President Gerald Ford was “pro-choice.”

    BTW: “hms” is actually writing a history of how/why/when the Republican Party became “pro-life” and the Democratic Party became “pro-choice.” I can’t wait until it comes out.

  • pagansister

    Greta #39: Obviously I’m not Catholic, but I was raised in a strong Christian family—but as I grew older started having a large amount of doubt as to what I was being taught. At 17, I chose to not continue calling myself a Christian which is a decision I have never regreted. My cousins, sisters, aunts & uncles and their families, are all strong in their Christian beliefs. Let me say, however, that I have a huge amount of respect for those that can believe and carry out their faith as taught by their respective churches (temples, mosques, etc) that they have chosen.

    I have chosen to follow the teachings of many faiths that guide me in my spiritual life—and those have served me well. My children, raised in a UU community, have grown to be loving, caring, and responsible human beings who follow their own muses.

    I could not obey the teachings of a singular religious group that was telling me who to vote for or not vote for if that candidate’s views were not in line with what that religious group was teaching.

  • greta

    Deacon Norb, not sure where you learned your history. I am over 70 now and lived through much of the time you discussed. Long but you threw out about 10 points which need response…

    The Democratic Party going back to its founding was pro slavery and went to war finally to protect slavery. I would assume we both agree with this fact. The Republican Party, which was not founded by Lincoln as Obama stated, was founded to try to work to end slavery in this country. Lincoln became attractive as a candidate for the Republican Party after his battle with Douglas and his famous talk in NYC.

    After the war, Democrats in the South formed the KKK which became the terror wing of the party to stop blacks from gaining freedoms. The Republican Party was busy passing the 13-14-15th Amendments to the constitution granting freedom and protecting freed blacks rights. The terror by the democrats in the south included beating, burning houses and churches, and lynching. this continued up and including the presidency of FDR. Woodrow Wilson, a stauch southern democrat, segregated much of Washington and the federal government during his time in office. FDR was being pushed to do something to stop the lynching, but refused to throw his weight toward bills introduced and thus allowed the solid KKK southern democratic South to stop it. This is well documented and known and upset FDR wife to no end. Many say it leaves a huge black mark on his record.

    As to the KKK in Indiana, it was strongly tied to the Democratic Party as the Grand Wizard of Indiana and 22 other states up to the time of his downfall in the mid 20′s was D. C. Stephenson who was born in Houston, Texas, and moved with his family to Maysville, Oklahoma, where he worked as a printer’s apprentice and was active in the Socialist Party. In 1920, he moved to Irvington, Indiana, where he became a salesman and joined the Democratic Party and the Ku Klux Klan. Within a few years he had risen to the position of Grand Dragon. Later, because he saw the state going Republican and he wanted to be governor, he severed ties to the Democrats and ran unsuccessfully for governor. During this change, he severed his ties with the KKK, but started another organization similar which was strong prohibitionist. Later, what did him is was that Stephenson was responsible for the abduction, forced intoxication, and rape of Madge Oberholtzer (who ran a state program to combat illiteracy), all leading to her suicide attempt and eventual death. Among other atrocities, Stephenson had bitten her so many times that one man who saw her described her condition as having been “chewed by a cannibal.” He tried bribing everyone he knew including some Republicans without success and was convicted thus ending his hope of higher office and dooming the KKK in Indiana. After this the state became strong Republican for years as a result.

    Since I live in Southern Ohio, I would bet I am much more versed in politics in this area than you. So not sure where you get off saying there is a strong undercurrent of the Klan. This is the typical NY view of the midwest as we are all a bunch of racist. What is strong is that we are pro life in huge numbers which made the democrat running against Chabot argue he was pro life until he voted for ObamaCare and lost his job to Chabot.

    That is the mistake many make about the Republican Party and the so called southern strategy. It was never about trying to attract the Lester Maddox, George Wallace, Bull Connors away from the Klan and the Democratic Party. What the southern strategy was to win over the democrats as fed up with the racist and the leftward turn of the democratic party which became a party of big government, weak on defense, and morally missing which attracted both men and women with strong religious beliefs and morals to the Republican Party. The racist stayed democrats up until they died. the most notable convert to the republican party was strom Thurmond but he had to leave his past racist views behind which he did reject. You cannot name a bunch of well know KKK democrats who became republican, but I can name a huge number who stayed democrat all their lives.

    Last time I looked, it was Ike who sent troops to several states to enforce civil rights. JFK was dragged into supporting civil rights, but did not bring up the civil rights act during his lifetime and had put it on the back burner until his reelection which upset MLK to no end. It was Bobby who pushed him to send marshalls to protect the freedom riders because he convinced him that he would not be reelected if they were beaten and killed and even then, he did a number of back scratching deals with the racist southern democrats to get them to play ball. LBJ had been with his fellow southern democrats filabustering the 1957 civil rights legislation put forward by IKE and the Republican Party and the 1964 legislation was filled with loopholes that were filled by Nixon. In 1960, less than 5% of schools in the nation were integrated. In 1968, after 8 years of democrats and civil rights legislation, only 14% were integrated. After 4 years under Nixon, it was up well over 50% and Nixon had set up the first affirmative action program to fight the union racist in Philly.

    While I know that Ford, especially his wife, was pro choice, he also recieved no support from the just starting pro life movement at the time which hurt him in the election. Carter told different things to different audiences about his positions on the then recent Roe decision. He told the Catholic bishops he was pro life, but within a week of this had informed a strong feminist pro abortion group he felt that abortion was the law of the land and he would do nothing to change that. Now in a book he has come out as pro life, but if you look at judges he put on the lower federal courts including Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Breyer who went to the supreme court under Clinton, there is not a pro life judge in sight. He also appointed Sarah Weddington who argued the case for the winning side in Roe and was known staunch pro abortion. Of course some other Republicans ended up appointing judges who supported abortion as well. This is the only election I did not vote for President in my voting life. I thought Ford should not have pardoned Nixon and I would never vote for Carter who I felt was a horrible president.

    If HMS history is anything like yours Deacon, I hope he does more fact checking. I am so tired of the Democrats getting a pass on their KKK slavery lynching background which did not really end until almost 1970. at the same time, the Republicans were founded to end slavery, fought long and hard for the rights of African Americans, were the majority in every civil rights legislation vote and had introduced most of them.

    [Greta...PLEASE, refrain from long and meandering comments that stray off topic and wander into self-indulgent distractions (like dumping on Ford for pardoning Nixon.) Your answer was twice as long as Norb's comment. Dcn. G.]

  • naturgesetz

    Deacon Greg,

    It seems to me that it usually takes longer to respond to a charge than it takes to make it. Granted, the bit about the Nixon pardon was off topic, but the rest of Greta’s comment struck me as responsive to what Deacon Norb had said about Republicans.

  • greta

    Deacon Greg, there was a lot wrong in the comment from deacon norb to correct. It is a common mistake many make about the republican party that somehow all the racists who for 160 years were democrats and KKK suddenly switched parties. I challenge anyone to name 10 prominant racist who came over from the democratic party of the 1950′s to the republican party and stayed pro segregation. I named a few but could easily name a hundred prominant Democrat segregatist who stayed with the democrats up until they died. What came to the republican party from the south and made up the southern strategy was those who were pro defense when the democrats were going soft on defense; pro life when the democrats went solid for abortion; and pro patriotic america when the democrats seemed to be descending into the party of acid and protests and anti American. Democrats like Ronald Reagon became Republican because the party left him behind when it became a party led by Mondale and Mcgovern and big government solutions to everything.

    And the comment about KKK racist republican Ohio and Indiana and Illinois I notice went without comment from you that this was wrong and in bad taste. I had to take time to comment on that as a life long resident of Ohio and person who has fought for the rights of all people my entire life. Yes, there was a KKK resurgence in the midwest in the 1920 but as I pointed out, the grand wizard who led that growth was a Democrat who later converted to Republican after leaving the KKK but was rejected by the Republican party.

    Seems like when you are attacked, you ought to have time and space to clear up distortions and false truths. I did not accuse anyone of lying or distorting the truth, but of poor education which is not uncommon. It is being done again to the Tea Party by those who do not know what they are talking about. The Tea Party is not racist in any way and its mission to live by the Constitution and to try to end the spending is as American as the original Tea Party in boston without the violence or distruction.

  • hms

    The Democratic Party’s association with the KKK is indeed shameful, yet has to be seen in the context of the (ignominious?) defeat of the Confederacy, at least in its earliest days. The early KKK members hated the Republican Party and the Reconstructionists. In addition, the emancipation of slaves signaled the end of the Southern way of life and social structure.

    For a fuller picture and in the interest of fairness and balance in your post, I wish that you had mentioned
    1) Truman’s executive orders which essentially desegregated the military and ended discrimination in civil service position applications
    2) LBJ’s success in convincing Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

    I doubt that Strom Thurmond’s repudiation of his racist and segregationalist past can be validated as well as Sen. Byrd’s repudiation of his KKK association.

  • deaconnorb

    The topic of this blog was “Faithful Citizenship.” I am rather surprised it deteriorated into a debate about who was/is more faithful: devout Roman Catholic Republicans or devout Roman Catholic Democrats.

    Bottom line “All Men sin and fail to reach the glory of God.” While I do not doubt there are sinful Democrats out there; there are also sinful Republicans as well. Go back on this blog stream to my post #27 to get a better insight here.

    AND I do not have the time to “fact-check” all of Greta’s assertions. Probably would not do any good anyway. But here are two “FACTS” she has stated that are 100% wrong:

    –I am not a NY liberal. In fact, I was born and raised within fifty miles of the area of Ohio she now calls home. I know about the KKK infusion of the area below US Highway 40 — in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio — from first-hand experience because I lived there for many years. ’nuff said.

    –”hms” is not a “he.” I’m not sure she appreciates the trans-gender reference.

  • hms

    Deacon Norb:

    It doesn’t bother me at all. I was a chemistry major in college. A woman told me: “You must think like a man.” I told her: “No, I’m logical.”

  • dmwelch02

    Patheos has been having a couple of log-in issues on this blog. I am posting this on behalf of the user dudleysharp:

    To Deacon Norb Re #37

    Dudley wrote: “all of which have more weight than the recent teaching of CCC 2267, which is based upon the secular foundation of prison security.”

    Deacon Norb responded: OK, Dudley, prove that statement

    The clear foundation of CCC 2267 is based upon a near complete exclusion of the death penalty, based upon a mistaken belief that the prisons throughout the world, with a myriad of security issues, are sufficient to defend society.

    In the past 2000 years, through today, there are very strong biblical, theological and traditional teachings of the Church, supportive of the death penalty, based upon eternal teachings (1), all of which overshadow, rightly, any secular considerations of security, for which there are near countless examples, annually, of immense failures which put more innocents at risk (2).

    Some brief reviews. Many more upon request.

    1) a) “Moral/ethical Death Penalty Support: Christian and secular Scholars”
    http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2009/07/death-penalty-support-modern-catholic.html

    b) Christianity and the death penalty
    http://www.prodeathpenalty.com/DP.html#F.Christianity

    c) Catholic and other Christian References: Support for the Death Penalty,
    http://homicidesurvivors.com/2006/10/12/catholic-and-other-christian-references-support-for-the-death-penalty.aspx

    2) Upon request, but all you need to do is research the constant failures of the prison systems to protect innocents.

  • Deacon Norb

    To: dmwelch02 and dudleysharp:

    I think I’m a pretty smart guy, but for the life of me, I’m having a real problem connecting the dots here. Do I understand the two of you correctly:

    Quoting post #48 “The clear foundation of CCC 2267 is based upon a near complete exclusion of the death penalty, based upon a mistaken belief that the prisons throughout the world, with a myriad of security issues, are sufficient to defend society”

    Do you really believe that the sole reason why many of our church folks — those who are against the death penalty — are holding that position simply because of the strength — or weaknesses of the security within various prison systems? Are you saying that this moral position they have taken is not a moral position at all but a political one? And that it is based on faulty factual information about how secure our prisons really are? And that this faulty factual information was really the basis for a universal church document statement on the death penalty?

  • naturgesetz

    Deacon Norb,

    While many opponents of the death penalty are absolute in their opposition, CCC 2267 is clearly conditional: “If … bloodless means are sufficient …,” whereas the death penalty is acknowledged as licit “when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively….”

    With paroles and pardons, there is no way of being sure, at least in this country, that a killer will be permanently sequestered from society. And Deacon John Bresnahan has pointed out that killings take place inside prisons as well. Therefore, it seems obvious that in this country, at least, bloodless means are insufficient and a strong case can be made that de facto the death penalty “is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively.”

  • Greta

    Deacon Norb, the post was about faithful citizenship and the USCCB effort to guide Catholic voters. That by its very nature is going to turn political and with issues like abortion and gay marriage, it is also a matter of religious understanding. Catholic teaching tells us that different sins have different weight. Popes JPII and Benedict XVI have consistently taught on the problem of the culture of death with abortion and that marriage between one man and one woman is also a key to the important structure of families.

    I think the Pope was very clear when addressing the issue Catholic involvment in society..

    As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable. Among these the following emerge clearly today:

    - protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death;

    - recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family – as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage – and its defence from attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role;

    - the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.

    Note the statement non negotiable and that these are the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena. I wish the USCCB had stated these as clearly in their document. I also note that you seem to be inferring that I do not think there are both sinful Republicans and Democrats which is not in my post anywhere. I am looking at the history of both parties and what they have stood for over the years as well as to what the parties stand for today. If you look at what the Pope calls these not negotiable issues, the Democratic party is as wrong today as it was when it was pro slavery and pro Jim Crow and pro lynching and part of the KKK. Many do not know the history and try to blend in issues or distortions in order to support a party that is wrong on these not negotiable issues.

    As to your comments on my posts, I note you do not dispute them except for two. One you say you came from this area and know there was KKK. I will give you that you might not be a NY liberal, but you have distorted facts in your previous posts like one. Being over 70 and born and still living in this area, I did not deny that there were KKK in the area, but you said it was Republican KKK. I simply pointed out the the Grand Wizard that grew the KKK was a Democrat. I note that you did not repeat the claim that the KKK in this area was all a bunch of Republicans. The KKK and the democratic party were hand in hand for most of its existence when it had real size and scope and was lynching blacks.

    I note you did not address the other points made which refuted much of why I assumed you were an ill informed NY liberal.

    The second one was that I had identified HMS as a male. If I did, it was a generic as with the use of the male in most Catholic liturgy as I have no way of knowing HMS gender.

    So I will stick with what the Pope calls for in judging how we should evaluate what is important in how we look to bring our Catholic faith into the public sphere when voting.

  • Greta

    Deacon Norb, You say “Do you really believe that the sole reason why many of our church folks — those who are against the death penalty — are holding that position simply because of the strength — or weaknesses of the security within various prison systems? Are you saying that this moral position they have taken is not a moral position at all but a political one? And that it is based on faulty factual information about how secure our prisons really are? And that this faulty factual information was really the basis for a universal church document statement on the death penalty?”

    Not sure what point you are trying to make here. I do think a lot of Catholics who value their faith and what the Church actually teaches do make their judgement the right way. I think that is unfortunately a small number. I also think those in this group will come down on both sides of the death penalty which is also OK with the Catholic Church position. As long as they take the time to listen to the Church teaching, understand if it is a belief that is to be believed based on Papal/Magestrial teaching, and if not settled, to make it based on a well formed conscience, it is fine with the Church.

    However, the real tragedy is that many Catholics fail to firmly believe and accept what the Church teaches on settled matters like abortion and one man one woman marriage, but also with birth control, the virgin birth, the Eucharist, and the infallibility of the Pope in matters of faith and morals. If they did, then we would not have seen the large numbers of Catholics vote for the most pro abortion candidate in history or one who is pro gay marriage which he says he is evolving toward but most believe in reality is already there.

  • Dudley Sharp

    Reply to 49 Deacon Norb, who writes:

    “Do you really believe that the sole reason why many of our church folks — those who are against the death penalty — are holding that position simply because of the strength — or weaknesses of the security within various prison systems?”

    No and that is not what I said.

    I said that it was the wrong and secular based standard of both CCC and PJPII’s Evalgelium Vitae” and that such an error based, prudential judgement is very weak compared to the strength of 2000 years of Cathoic teaching supportrive of the death penalty.

    I think I was very clear.

    The recent change in Church teaching is not morally based, it is, strictly, based upon the secular security of prisons, which was wrongly based upon an improper evaluation of that system.

    Deacon Norb, you may have some other reasons to be opposed to the death penalty, but I was not discussing those.
    ——————————
    PLEASE NOTE THAT dmwelch02 was not an author of my post #48, but is a technician on this site, who posted my reply because the site is having some problems with log ins.

    I have no idea how I am posting, now – if this goes through. I didn’t sign in.

  • Dudley Sharp

    Deacon Norb and naturgesetz:

    Had EV been properly thought through (3,4), it would have concluded that innocents were better protected with the death penalty and, therefore, it is a greater defender of society and, as such EV would have not created the errors which were then wrongly put into the Catechism.

    2267 “Today, in fact, given the means at the State’s disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender ‘today … are very rare, if not practically non-existent.’ [John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae 56).

    The Catechism and EV are, hereby, using the secular standard of penal security as a means to outweigh justice, balance, redress, reformation, expiation and prior Church teachings. 2267 cannot stand.

    This is such a poorly considered prudential judgement as to negate its “prudential” moniker.

    Let’s look at “the means at the State’s disposal”.

    All villages, towns, cities, states, territories, countries and broad government unions have widely varying degrees of police protections and prison security. Murderers escape, harm and murder in prison and are given such leeway as to murder and/or harm, again, because of “mercy” to the murderer, leniency and irresponsibility to murderers, who are released or otherwise given the opportunity to cause catastrophic losses to the innocent when such innocents are harmed and murdered by unjust aggressors. (4)

    Incarcerated prisoners plan murders, escapes and all types of criminal activity, using proxies or cell phones in directing free world criminal activities. All of this is well known by all, with the apparent exception of the authors of the Catechism. (4)

    Some countries are so idiotic, reckless and callous as to allow terrorists to sign pledges that they will not harm again and then they are released, bound only by their word, a worthless pledge resulting in more innocent blood. (4)

    It has always been so.

    The Catechism, as does EV, avoids the many realities whereby the unjust aggressor has too many opportunities to harm again. The authors of the Catechism appear to have no grasp of reality? (4)

    The only known method of rendering a criminal “unable to inflict harm” is execution. “Unable to inflict harm” (2265) has the same meaning as “impossible to do harm”.

    In addition, there exists the clear conflict between (1) this unprecedented and unjustified restriction on the death penalty and (2) “Preserving the common good requires rendering the unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm” found earlier in this same Catechism.

    Which is it? Is the Church going to require “rendering the unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm” or is the Church going to require that we do everything but render the unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm?

    Has a prudential judgement ever been placed in a Catechism, before? If not, the current one would seem to make the reasons clear and would denounce any possible repeat of that error.

    Inexcusably absent from consideration, within the Catechism, is any specific discussion of harm to “innocent” murder victims and potential murder victims and the effects on their earthly and eternal lives when we give known murderers the opportunity, too often realized, to harm and murder, again (4).

    It is as if the Church didn’t consider that executed murderers cannot harm, again, but that livings murderers can and do.

    Why has the Church chosen to depend upon widely varying and error prone incarceration systems, when the reality is that so many innocents are caused further suffering by known unjust aggressors, because of the failings in those systems?

    It appears the Catechism’s (& EV) authors never considered the reality of such sufferring. (3&4)

    And why has the Church done this when it commands “Preserving the common good requires rendering the unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm.” ? 2265

    Here are the known realities of all unjust aggressors, murderers and other violent offenders. They can morally/criminally/spiritually:
    (a) improve, which can mean everything in a spectrum from still quite bad to sainthood;
    (b) stay the same, a bad result for them and others; or
    (c) become worse, a more severe, negative outcome which puts the unjust aggressor and all others even more at risk.

    The only way to, humanly, make a criminal “unable to inflict harm” is to execute them. Rationally, factually, there is no other way.

    The Church has reversed its longstanding emphasis on protecting innocents. This Catechism, to the contrary, has decided to give much more deference to guilty murderers than it has to protecting the innocent or defending society.

    contd


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