Skip to comments.The prickly Catholic vote ["bargaining with evil" vs "sitting the election out"]
Posted on 09/14/2012 6:04:54 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
In the days immediately following Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate, the Catholic blogosphere was all abuzz with excitement, but it was also filled with a lot of hand-wringing over the Wisconsin congressman's alleged attachment to the philosophy of Ayn Rand.
Now, I'm not talking about liberals in Catholic clothing like James Salt of Catholics United and other likeminded posers who are engaged in a two-front war against both Jesus Christ and capitalism; rather, I'm referring to otherwise sensible commentators who sincerely love the Lord and His Church.
Over the last couple of weeks, speculation about Paul Ryan's Catholic bona fides seems to have died down. Perhaps this is due, at least in part, to the sobering sense of perspective provided by Cardinal Timothy Dolan who suggested in a recent interview that Joe Biden's self-proclaimed devotion to the Catholic faith (for which precious little evidence exists) is a cause for celebration in the Catholic community.
I mean, think about it — if Joe Biden has any reasonable claim to the name "Catholic" then surely it's more appropriate to chant Santo Subito in Paul Ryan's general direction than it is to question his commitment to the Faith!
In any event, far more troubling than the Ryan doubters are those respectable Catholic voices that are suggesting that it may be more morally responsible to sit this election out than to cast a vote for "the lesser evil" Mitt Romney.
As for how much less evil Romney represents, there seems to be more than a little confusion on this point. I have no interest in giving a point-by-point overview of Romney's positions as compared to those he is alleged to hold; one need only visit the candidate's website to find that out. Those who do will also discover that Romney, like every other candidate that ever ran for office, is not perfect, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.
The argument for abstaining from this election goes something like this:
If we continue to vote for such candidates, nothing will ever change; not the least of which is the flawed political system itself. On the other hand, if serious conservative voters cease to support them, perhaps by the time the next election cycle comes along the Republican Party will have gotten the message that we expect more than the usual half-hearted effort to restore moral order to our nation. This may even give rise to a third party that is truly worthy of our support, and if none of this happens, well, we tried.
That's just a thumbnail sketch, but presumably you get the point.
While I agree that there is a systemic problem evident in American politics, the "stay at home" proponents have misdiagnosed the core malignancy: The sad reality is that bargaining with evil isn't primarily a Republican problem; it's a Catholic problem.
Remember; it was only some thirty months ago that the USCCB was eager and willing to hand over the keys to the U.S. healthcare system to a homicidal maniac save for a few empty promises (read, compromises).
This isn't the situation in America alone; rather, a willingness to compromise with evil in order to get along with the power brokers of the world is a problem throughout the entire Church — from the people in the pews in San Francisco all the way up to the red hats in the Holy See. (Which reminds me, requiem in pace, Cardinal Martini.)
Prelates who are at odds with the teachings of the Church, I'm afraid, are just the tip of the iceberg.
You see, with the promulgation of the Vatican II document Dignitatis Humanae in 1965, the Catholic Church officially adopted a pluralistic approach to religious freedom, the inspiration for which was drawn in large measure from the U.S. Constitution. As a result, rather than calling up on the State (as once they did) to recognize the Social Kingship of Christ and the exclusive rights of the Catholic Church, our prelates now ask for nothing more than a place at the table; behaving as if the Law that comes to us from Truth incarnate is of no more consideration than the lies being proffered by the false gods and idols of the heathens and heretics. That, my friends, is the mother of all compromises!
[I've written at length about religious liberty post-Vatican II in the past. Those unfamiliar with this very important topic would do well to explore it more deeply.]
It's only right for faithful Catholics to desire a politician who is willing to proclaim the whole truth without compromise; i.e., a statesman who not only resembles Christ the King, but is willing to proclaim Him. (That is, after all, the whole truth, isn't it?) I get it. Let's be realistic though; this simply is not going to happen in a world where even the Bride of Christ doesn't dare hint at the Sovereign rights of Her divine Spouse in the public square.
To put it another way, what these good people are longing for is a candidate who is arguably more Catholic than the pope! Hey, I do too, but it's a pipe dream to believe that sitting this election out (and let's be honest, paving the road for the Evil One's candidate of choice in the process) is going to make that happen.
That said, let's assume that abstaining from this election will in fact bring us closer to a political party of unassailable morality and a candidate to match. Ask yourself, if this was a present reality today, does anyone in their right mind really believe that the electorate at large would embrace it?
No, of course not! Such a movement would undoubtedly wither and die before it ever has a chance to blossom for the simple reason that the Church hasn't sufficiently fertilized the fields in many decades. How much more will this be the case after four more years of State imposed immorality? Heck, at that point a Christ-like candidate might reasonably expect to be imprisoned or worse!
Perhaps the most glaring oversight in the idea of voter abstinence as a vehicle for positive moral change is that it fails to account for the fact that evil most often takes hold of man and society incrementally, and even more importantly, the same can be said for God's grace.
Look, there's none among us who would neglect to seize an opportunity to aid a friend in ridding himself of an attachment to serious sin, even if only incrementally if that's the best he could do, in favor of keeping silent until he descends to rock bottom whence a glimmer of hope for a more complete conversion of heart might exist.
The very proposition sounds silly, doesn't it? Well, make no mistake, the same principle applies in the way we treat the upcoming election. Embracing the opportunity to cast a vote that positively addresses the evil in our midst (not to mention the increase in evil that is promised) even if only by degree is a vote for the good; it is not in any way a vote in favor of the evil that remains.
On the other hand, abstaining from the process altogether, no matter how well-intentioned it may be, is a calculated risk that is so unworthy of serious consideration based on the grave circumstances in which we find ourselves today (wherein the spread of evil in society is quickly approaching critical mass) that it is indefensible from the standpoint of reason alone.
I can understand how appealing waiting in joyful hope for the coming of a candidate who resembles our Lord Jesus Christ might be, but it simply isn't logical.
Nice try but no cigar.
The willardites have an infinite ability to rationalize. The facts are plain. Willard embraces abortion. He has done so as recently as two weeks ago. I would love to compromise for a marginal candidate. But willard doesn’t even rise to that standard. And innocent lives aren’t mine to bargain with in the first place.
What sort of LEGITIMATE government forces citizens to go against their conscience?
It is odd to come to a site where the site founder and many other stripes of conservative have posted at one time or another that it would be a cold day in hell before they pull the lever for Romney, and then post some blarney to single Catholics out. Called Goebbels for work?
In this election, it is impossible to sit it out. If you do, you vote for Obama. I’m not Romney’s greatest fan, but Obama is an Anti-Christ. This should be a no brainier for a person of faith, Christian or Jew. And I think everyone knows this. One ‘holdout’ makes the news... Typical lib hype.
... matter of basic Christian obedience to clear apostolic teaching re giving aid and comfort to antichrist missionaries and has nothing to do with weighing relative political evils. While I agree that abstention is not good practice in general, for some of us, in this cycle, there appears to be no alternative compatible with the exercise of Christian faith.
So Catholics are contemplating "sitting it out"? They'd rather have a muslim in the oval office? I suppose a burka is similar to a nun's habit, so they won't mind when 0bama demands that Sharia law be enforced.
I believe many Catholics "sat it out" once before and our friend Adolph became Fuhrer for life.
instead we should be focussed on the Catholics, Presbyterians, Mormons, Baptists, Evangelicals, Methodists, Lutherans, Jews, Anglicans etc. who vote conservative and those who can be brought from the dim side.
From now on, I refuse even to post responses to Catholic freepers who encourage people to sit this election out. I hold them in lower contempt than I hold “Catholic” Obama supporters, who are at least honest frauds.
Vote for the AMERICAN (Romney).
Get rid of the un-American non-American America-hater terrorist-loving 0bummer.
Anyone with brains can see this. But then ...
It is odd to...post some blarney to single Catholics out.
Would you like FR to censor articles, so that every Catholic reference smells like roses?
Called Goebbels for work?
When did your desk come up for grabs?
You would THINK that, by now, people would understand that there is a GREAT difference between “Catholics in-name-only” and PRACTICING Catholics!!!
Catholics who practice their Faith will be overwhelmingly voting for Romney against the most PRO-ABORT, ANTI-RELIGIOUS LIBERTY inhabitant of the White House in our history.
Speaking as a Catholic, I have nothing but contempt for any Catholic who quibbles that Romney/Ryan is inadequately conservative, but fails to denounce Democrat-voting Catholics in the strongest possible terms.
Sadly, God disagrees.
"Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.
Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:
therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.
Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.
And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.
From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report.
For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it."
- Isaiah 28:14-20
The lesser of two evils is still evil. God's word is crystal clear.
The willardites have an infinite ability to rationalize. The facts are plain. Willard embraces abortion. He has done so as recently as two weeks ago. I would love to compromise for a marginal candidate. . . . . .
When I was about to be born, my father took me and my mother to a good Catholic hospital. My mother was very ill and I was coming VERY early. I was unlikely to survive outside the womb in those days early births didn't end well.
A priest at the hospital explained how grave the situation was for both my mother and me. He also explained that if there was a choice that had to be made of either saving my mother or me it would be me. He didn't want to take a chance of my being born dead and not having a chance to be baptized. While it was a kind policy my father would have none of it. My father scooped my mother up into his arms and carried her to his car and went to another hospital where he made them understand that whatever happened they would save his wife first and me second.
We both survived well although I lived in an incubator for a couple of months.
What has all this to do with anything? Mitt Romney says he believes that abortions are OK in certain circumstances. One is to save the life of the mother, so he believes like my father and as I too am inclined to believe. The next two categories are not so simple. Mitt Romney also believes that the option of abortion should also be allowed in rape and incest. He says the OPTION should be allowed. Interestingly as a bishop and stake president in the LDS church he had to council young women in both situations. He ALWAYS counciled the girls to carry the baby and give it up for adoption.
Should a rape victim be forced to carry the baby of the rapist? I'm not sure I have made up my mind on this issue. I would like Mitt Romney council one of my daughters to carry the baby and then give it up for adoption. Pregnancy is difficult and for some dangerous. I'm still not sure how to resolve this but, victims should not be punished. I would hope that we get to a place in this country where abortion never occurs except in extremely rare cases where the life of the mother can not be saved in any other way. But Romney is not pro abortion like Obama is pro abortion.
I am not ratioalizing. History is history. Romney has history on this subject. Obama has history on this subject. Obams is much worse.
Abortion is not the only subject on the platter of ideals on the ballot this election. It is big but not alone. If the USA as we know it is destroyed then your thoughts and mine on abortion won't make any difference. Obama would destroy this country, he may still. If you stay at home and don't vote for Romney then you will be complicit in it's destruction.
Goodness like evil is won in increments. At least with Mitt Romney we are going in the right direction. You will never get enough votes in this country to elect Jesus Christ or any of His Apostles, they would seem to conservative to the masses. We can only do a little at a time.
I would rather go slowly in the right direction than continue down the path we are on at breakneck speed.
I am not a Mitt Romney supporter, just a pragmatist.
I think a deeper analysis is in order.
To start with, Catholics need to recognize that America still represents a new paradigm to Earthly government, and that the church will be most satisfied by embracing this paradigm instead of trying to hold onto a old, failed order.
That is, in European history, the church adapted to the feudal concept, that there is an elite, hereditary nobility that rules over a much larger peasantry. Unfortunately, the nobility, to assure its power, adopted a philosophy:
“The hereditary nobility is the nobility because they are predetermined by heaven to be nobles; just as the peasants were predetermined to be peasants. And since the nobility is sanctioned by heaven, their laws are *also* sanctioned by heaven. So if you disagree with their laws, you are opposing heaven as well.”
And thus many kingdoms prefaced their laws by stating that the king was anointed by God, so everyone else has to do what he says. (In her youth, even Queen Elizabeth was approached to use the magical “healing power of kings” on sick people. She declined.)
However, by the 17th Century, the idea of the heavenly investiture had fallen out of fashion, so there arose a need for a new kind of legitimacy for government. This was found in republican-democracy, and it solved the problem.
In American terms, the idea that the legitimacy of government is derived by the people, not heaven, so that the laws of man are not sacred, and can be changed.
Importantly, this does not disrespect heaven, in fact it does the opposite, by permitting that while people might be inspired by heaven, our laws are not written in heaven, so may be changed without *offending* heaven, as long as they conform to important religious doctrines.
For this reason, while this is not the dictionary definition, Americans distinguish between “ethics”, which they see as obeying the laws of men, and “morality”, which they see as obeying the laws of heaven. In the latter case, morality based on a person’s religion.
This matters a lot, because religions and sects vary tremendously in what they consider “moral” acts to be; so voters tend to be dubious of politicians who embrace “morality”, because someone like Nancy Pelosi can claim to be “moral”, in agreement with her beliefs in the church of Baal-Moloch.
“Ethics”, on the other hand, is easier for voters to figure out, because it is up to a grand jury to decide if a politician is ethical or not. And if they are not, it is not left up to heaven to punish them, either.
In any event, the Catholic church in many ways is still hung up with the idea of embracing the Catholic nobility, which in the US are absolute scum, like the Kennedy family.
Those “real” Catholics in power, who are ethical, are careful not to create the impression that they are beholden to the church, or will grant the church special favors, but only that they will behave in a “moral” manner, to the teachings of the church.
This clearly works more to the advantage of the church, as far as its important doctrines are concerned, as these good Catholics will be strongly opposed to things like abortion and euthanasia.
However, it also moderates what the church wants when some in the church decide to embrace foolish ideas, like “liberation theology” or socialism.
So in the final analysis, in future the church should embrace good Catholics, who as men want to write the laws of other men; as opposed to “social Catholics”, who cling to wealth and power by virtue of heredity and assumed elitism, despising the important values of the church, yet parading their Catholicism like harlots on street corners.
Does Paul Ryan Want to Take Medicare Away From Seniors?[It's OK, Grandma, he's not a meany]
Cardinal Dolans Paul Ryan Problem [Amy Sullivan rant]
Paul Ryan at Prayer
With Ryan on the Ticket, Spotlight Focuses on the Catholic Church
Does Ryan have a Catholic problem?
Paul Ryan Urges Catholics to Act Before Religious Freedoms Erode
Wisconsin bishop praises Paul Ryan, discusses intrinsic evils, prudential judgments
Paul Ryan urges Catholics to act before religious freedoms erode
Dolan: Ryan Is a Great Public Servant (great insight into Ryan's views)
Paul Ryans Bishop Defends Him Amid Attacks on His Application of Church Teaching
Paul Ryan, Catholic Who Looks to Church's Social Teaching, Tapped as Romney Running Mate
The other Ryan: the candidates wife, Janna
Paul Ryan, Joe Biden, and Liberal False Equivalence
Ryan as VP Pick Continues Election Year Focus on Catholicism
Paul Ryan Faces Left-Wing Religious Attack
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Holiness (Paul Ryan)
Paul Ryan: Midwesterner, Catholic, intellectual
The hereditary nobility is the nobility because they are predetermined by heaven to be nobles; just as the peasants were predetermined to be peasants. And since the nobility is sanctioned by heaven, their laws are *also* sanctioned by heaven. So if you disagree with their laws, you are opposing heaven as well....
....In any event, the Catholic church in many ways is still hung up with the idea of embracing the Catholic nobility, which in the US are absolute scum, like the Kennedy family. Those real Catholics in power, who are ethical, are careful not to create the impression that they are beholden to the church, or will grant the church special favors, but only that they will behave in a moral manner, to the teachings of the church....
....in the final analysis, in future the church should embrace good Catholics, who as men want to write the laws of other men; as opposed to social Catholics, who cling to wealth and power by virtue of heredity and assumed elitism, despising the important values of the church, yet parading their Catholicism like harlots on street corners.
Thanks for posting this!
Your reply is predictable and a standard willardite talking point. Selecting the lesser evil is still selecting evil. All the moreso when there are other candidates running on second party tickets who aren’t pro abortion.
But since you seem to think that selecting the lesser pro-abortion candidate is a morally laudable act let’s put some numbers to it. How many abortions are acceptable to you as a “compromise.” Let’s not talk in platitudes. Let’s pick a number. Is it 10,000? 100,000? A few million?
How much of the blood of the innocents is a “fair” price to pay so we can elect someone with an “R” after their name?
How many abortions are acceptable to you as a compromise. Lets not talk in platitudes. Lets pick a number. Is it 10,000? 100,000? A few million?
I’m sorry your argument can too easily be turned around.
First, as of now there are millions of abortions, likely every year. The president on his own can do nothing about that, he can only sign a bill that then becomes law. If Obama care is killed at least we won’t be paying for abortions. In my opinion reducing by 1 abortion, that is saving even one human life, is an accomplishment. I am working to save at least one, not throw a tantrum and turn my head and watch millions die.
Second, Obama supports more than abortion, he supports infantcide. We have to remove him and install something better.
Third, how much blood of the innocents is a fair price to pay for your desire to only elect someone who is perfect. You have never voted for someone who is perfect. Possibly you have voted for someone who is perfect in one or a few areas but there are no perfect people, all of us are sinners. Any sin is a perversion to God. Any sin adds to the paiun of The Savior. So sit there in your ivory tower and not vote because there are no perfect candidates. I will hold my nose and happily vote for something better than Obama. Actually the more I learn about Romney the less I think I will have to hold my nose. He appears to be a good man, something rare in politics. I think that is why he chose Ryan, because he saw that he too was a good man.
Which is exactly why abortion, gay marriage etc. are being pushed to legality (or are already legal)
The founding fathers were aware of the paradox.
They were well of the fact that the heavenly laws you obey can be extremely different from the heavenly laws your neighbor (a Muslim) obeys, as well as those of the guy down the block (a Hindu).
At the time religions weren’t so diverse in the US, but still, various Christian sects often bitterly fought and tried to suppress each other.
This was a great reason to create an inviolable Bill of Rights that everybody had to follow, but at the same time the law, *as long as it did not conflict with the Bill of Rights*, should generally conform to the desires of the majority.
They even included agnosticism and secularism into the mix, as well as busting up the creation of the law at several levels, both within the federal government, and between the federal and state governments.
The two examples you cite both “broke the rules” to evade the constitution. Roe v. Wade was purely legislating from the bench, putting the desire of the majority (at the time) above the rules.
And gay marriage is popular nowhere, being forced through by corrupt state legislature and judges.
But if you compare these aberrations to the vast amount of good law that has been created in over 200 years, it is clear that they had the right idea, which goes back to my point of ethics vs. morality.
Morality is created by heaven and interpreted by religious people, but it is not universal. You would find it loathsome to be ruled over by someone else’s morality (such as your examples, again, whose proponents insist are both morally demanded).
But ethics, the law promulgated by the people, that goes through the meat grinder of the legislative process, may result in a law you don’t particularly care for, but it will not terribly oppress you or deny you your rights.
And, unlike someone else’s morality, the written ethical law can be changed.
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