I’m sorry to report that this also seems to be the case amongst the Catholics I work with and meet from around the country. They may call themselves Catholics, and they may even go to Mass, but when it comes to life choices they are virtually indistinguishable from everyone else in America. They don’t live radical Christianity out in any real sort of way. Their lives look just like the lives of their worldly neighbors. They don’t give any more than the average joe. They seem just as likely to divorce their spouses, have only 2.5 children as their non Catholic neighbors and they seem just as materialistic as everyone else. They attend church if they feel like it, but if there’s a weekend football game or the call of the beach house they’re just as likely to respond to that demand. When it comes to voting, they’ll vote as they wish according to wherever they get their opinions from–TV, the newspaper, the mass media–just like their neighbors. The one source they won’t consider when informing their vote is their priests and bishops.
Of course not all Catholics are so complacent, dull and worldly. There are some who will vote according to their Catholic conscience. There are a good number who will stand up for Catholic principles and allow their fundamental convictions to inform their vote. There are some who will vote as if their lives–and the lives of the future generations depended on it. If people want to discover what the ‘Catholic vote’ is they should talk to them. The difference between these informed and convinced Catholics and the other sort is clear to see.
What we are really looking at is the fact that the ‘Catholic Vote’ reflects the same two nation divide that is seen right across our country. You can even give names to the two types of ‘Catholics’ who make up these two voting blocs: Biden or Ryan, Kennedy or Santorum, Pelosi or Boehner. The divide is not just ‘right’ or ‘left’ or ‘Democratic’ or ‘Republican’. It’s those who’s political convictions–no matter how spotty and incomplete or faulty–are informed by the genuine teaching of the Church, and those who believe the Church should be informed by their political convictions.
Have I said it before? Every argument is a theological argument. The real divide is therefore between Catholics who believe their religion is a human and historical construct which can (and ought) to be changed according to the times and circumstances in which they live and those who believe that the times and circumstances in which they live are to be corrected and informed by the eternal, God-revealed truths of the Catholic faith.
If they want to assess the ‘Catholic vote’ they must poll those who believe the latter not the former for the latter is the Catholic faith. The other is called ‘historicism’ which is one of the gals in that brothel called ‘Modernism’.