Skip to comments.What a Kerry presidency would mean for Catholics
Posted on 04/12/2004 11:20:02 AM PDT by Straight Vermonter
Many CWN readers are worried that having John Kerry in the White House would be disastrous for the United States. I share their concerns. But right now I want to offer a few thoughts on what a Kerry presidency could do to the Catholic Church.
What would it mean for the Catholic Church if John Kerry is elected?
We all know where Kerry stands on crucial moral issues such as abortion, stem-cell research, assisted suicide, same-sex unions, and parental choice in education: he stands against the teachings of the Church.
Last week, the Massachusetts senator gave us a vivid reminder of his commitment to the "culture of death." He has rarely cast a vote in the Senate during the past six months; he's been too busy on the campaign trail to fulfill his legislative duties. (As one of his constituents, I'm perfectly happy with that arrangement, since he always votes the wrong way. But that's a different story.) This past week, however, he flew across the country to be in Washington just so that he could vote against a bill that established penalties for harming unborn children in the course of a federal crime. The bill passed, and President Bush has signed it into law. But Kerry wanted to take a stand with the abortion lobby.
As the presidential campaign shifts into high gear, first Time magazine and then the New York Times have carried stories depicting Kerry as a serious practicing Catholic. That's not an accurate picture. The truth is that he doesn't even pretend to take his faith seriously-- at least outside of election years.
When Kerry marched into a Catholic church for Mass-- late-- wearing his designer ski clothes, a campaign aide told reporters frankly that the event was a "photo-op." That's a horribly cynical attitude toward the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. But there may be worse in store. According to the American Spectator, the Kerry campaign may be plotting to arrange a much more sinister much more serious "photo-op" in a ploy designed to sharpen divisions with the Catholic Church.
For more than 40 years-- ever since the regrettably famous "Houston speech" in which John F. Kennedy that he would never let his Catholic beliefs influence his public policies-- there have been tensions between loyal Catholics who support the Church and politicians who wrap themselves in the mantle of the faith while flouting key moral teachings. That conflict has been sharpened during 30 years of debate over legal abortion-- with euthanasia and homosexuality added to the mix in the past decade. Year after year, loyal Catholics have asked why the US bishops do not take effective disciplinary action against pro-abortion "Catholic" politicians.
Last year, in a doctrinal note on the moral responsibilities of Catholic political leaders, the Vatican asked the same question. And now at last, a few bishops have shown an inclination to take some action. By far the most forthright is Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis, who has said that he would deny the Eucharist to a pro-abortion Catholic politician, and specifically included Senator Kerry in that category.
The result? According to the American Spectator, Kerry's campaign staff is considering a plan to set up a situation in which the Senator would be denied Communion-- with plenty of reporters and cameras on hand to record the event. Evidently, some Kerry strategists feel that the incident would increase their man's popularity-- at the expense of the Catholic Church.
If Kerry goes through with this stunt, of course, we'll know exactly how seriously he takes his faith, since he would be risking his soul for the sake of a few votes.
But the gesture could have grave significance for other Catholics in America, too. If Candidate Kerry is willing even to consider such a direct slap at a Catholic bishop, can there be any doubt that President Kerry would pursue policies directly hostile to the Church? If he is ready to make a faithful bishop the object of contempt, isn't he likely to encourage contempt for Catholics in general? Anti-Catholicism has a long and lurid history in America, but with the election of a President who had gone out of his way to offend against the Church, we would have reached a new low.
And that's not all.
In our nation's continuing culture wars, there is more and more pressure to force Christians into compliance with policies that are at odds with their faith. We've already seen Canada pass legislation that makes it a "hate crime" to preach against homosexuality. We've seen young students barred from prayer in school, but required to attend sex-education classes at which they are instructed in the use of condoms. We've seen landlords forced to accept homosexual tenants, and employers required to hire gay activists, under the guise of civil-rights law. We've seen medical students denied degrees because they refused to participate in abortions. We've seen judicial candidates rejected because they professed beliefs that the vast majority of American Christians would share. The pressure is mounting.
If Massachusetts recognizes same-sex "marriage"-- which now seems virtually inevitable-- new challenges to Christian morality are inevitable. How long will it be before someone suggests that the Catholic Church is discriminatory in refusing to solemnize these unions? For that matter, how long will it be before feminists ask for government action against a Church that does not ordain women?
In any such battles, Americans can count on their First Amendment rights to religious freedom. But those rights can be eroded, when there is no common agreement on what the religion teaches and requires.
Now imagine that, two or three years from now, some anti-Catholic group inaugurates a campaign to outlaw all public protest against abortion. Catholics would protest, naturally, and point out that their faith requires them to oppose the slaughter of the innocent. But the pro-abortion activists might then say: "But look, the President is a Catholic, and he doesn't see anything wrong with this new plan, so it can't be an anti-Catholic policy!"
In 1960, John F. Kennedy promised that if elected as President, he wouldn't act on his Catholic faith; that promise assured his election. But we've come a long way in 44 years, and if John Kerry is elected, we know that he won't act on his faith. The relevant question, with Kerry in the White House, will be how long any American Catholic will be allowed to act in accordance with the moral teachings of the Church.
I don't know how it would all play out, but I would LOVE it if that happened. I want to see someone stand up and do what's right. It's bad enough to have the CINO Mary Landrieu as my senator...to have Kerry as president would make me absolutely sick.
This would be interesting at the Church I go to, because they don't allow "kodak moments" during the actual service (including baptism and first communion). Our Priests stance, correctly, is that photography (including without a flash) is a distraction.
The democrat party was systematically taken over by the socialists. The big push came in the mid 60s, and continues to this day, where they have taken over almost completely.
But old ideas are hard to kill and a lot of democrats still think the party is democratic, when it is in fact a socialist party.
That's why a democrat like Zell Miler sticks out like a sore thumb. He's a democrat dinosaur still kicking around in the socialist (dem) party.
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