Catholics & the 2004 Presidential Election - Collected Readings & Resources


Thursday, April 29, 2004

There must be panic these days in the Kerry camp. David Broder, the "dean" of Washington pundits, a liberal columnist at the liberal Washington Post, has pointed out the obvious: the American public has figured out that Kerry is an unprincipled opportunist. Here is Broder quoting in part, and devastatingly, from the liberal (!) Boston Globe's biography of Kerry:
"Unlike many who are driven to succeed in public life by a core belief system, the arc of Kerry's political career is defined by a restless search for the issues, individuals and causes to fulfill a nearly lifelong" ambition for the White House. The election is still six months away. But Kerry's reputation has been built over 40 years. And the voters seem to be sniffing it out.
And what Broder does not say, but implies is that, in contrast, Bush stands for certain core beliefs, however unpopular with the liberal chattering classes and the liberal mainstream media. In this sense, Bush is following in Reagan's footsteps. They hold to core conservative beliefs and stick to them. A public that yearns for strong leadership reacts positively.

But Kerry is a symbol of a larger problem in American politics that emerged most dramatically with the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960. Kennedy was the product of a family obsessively driven to obtain the presidency at all costs. Ask someone what were Kennedy's core beliefs, and they will be hardpressed to be specific about anything. The usual response is that Kennedy's eloquence, glamour, and charm made the nation feel good about itself. "Vigah" is not the basis of a core belief system.

In this sense, Kerry is indeed like Kennedy and like that other politician besotted with Kennedy hero worship: Bill Clinton. Both Clinton and Kerry are empty suits in the Kennedy model of ambition for the sake of ambition. But problematically for both of them, neither are as remotely eloquent or charming as the original. Kennedy didn't stand for much of anything, but he made America feel good. Clinton and Kerry leave American cold. Don't believe the media chatter about Clinton's eloquence or charisma. Clinton can't even approach the Kennedy standard on those traits. Remember this is the same media that in 1988 labelled the Rev. Jesse Jackson's childishly rhyming speech to the Democratic Convention as extraordinarily eloquent. The standards for applying the adjectives "eloquent" and "charismatic" have gone through the floor.

In my view, Kerry, like Clinton, has had presidential political ambitions from a very early age due in no small part to being smitten with Kennedy's glamour. Like Kennedy, both men lack a distinctive core of belief to bring to politics. Unlike Kennedy, both men are personally dull.

But what does this have to do with a Catholic analysis? Well, the empty suit in politics brings that same lack of core conviction to the Catholic Church. The Church is a welcome affiliation in historically Catholic Massachusetts, and is part of the Kennedy legend. The rest is pure "liberal" religion, which George Weigel has aptly defined, as the religion that we make up as we go, as opposed to revealed religion. And so Kerry is the quintessential liberal, cafeteria Catholic. In fact, he is a perfect caricature of the empty suit that is the liberal Catholic. In Kennedy's time, no Catholic politician would publicly diverge from the Church's fundamental moral teachings. American society in 1960 still held to a broad, Judeo-Christian moral consensus. We now know, after the fact, that Kennedy recklessly and compulsively defied that moral consensus in private, but we also know that he correctly feared its ever becoming public because it would end his political career. In today's America in which the moral center of gravity has shifted, Kerry does not share the fear of flaunting his lack of a foundational moral core. And so after rallying pro-abortion forces, he gingerly steps into the communion line.


Ongoing commentary by the editors of CatholicKerryWatch


Sen. John Kerry stands with Kate Michelman (right) President of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Since 1995, Michelman's group has given Kerry a 100% rating for his voting record to defend abortion.

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Contributing Editors:

Oswald Sobrino of
Catholic Analysis

Earl E. Appleby of
Times Against Humanity

Jeff Miller of
The Curt Jester

Jamie
Ad Limina Apostolorum

Christopher Blosser of
Against The Grain


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Kerry's Critics

Bloggers

Ad Limina Apostolorum
The Black Republican
The Blog From The Core
Catholics for Bush [Blog]
Catholic Light
Defensor Fidei (Jimmy Akin)
Disputations
Domenico Bettinelli, Jr.
Fidelis
The Galvin Opinion
Just Being Frank
Laudem Gloriae
Let's Try Freedom
Mark Shea
[The Meandering Mind of a Seminarian]
The Mighty Barrister
Open Book
Pilgrimage
Thrown Back
TriCoastal Commission

Organizations

Catholics Against Kerry
CatholicVoter.Net
De Fide
Kerry Wrong For Catholics
Priests For Life

News Resources

CatholicFactor
CNN.com
Google News
LifeNews.com
Mallon's Media Watch
New York Times
Yahoo News

Kerry Communion Watch @ Beliefnet.com

The Candidates on Abortion: Where do they stand?

Documentation

LifeIssues.Net

Periodicals

National Catholic Reporter
National Catholic Register
The Hill
Crisis Magazine
National Review
Weekly Standard

Related Documents & Articles

Worthiness To Recieve Communion: General Principles
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding The Participation of Catholics in Political Life
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Evangelium Vitae
Pope John Paul II

Worthy to Receive the Lamb: Catholics in Political Life and the Reception of Holy Communion, from Archbishop Donoghue (Atlanta, GA), Bishop Baker (Charleston, SC) and Bishop Jugis (Charlotte, NC).
August 4, 2004

Catholics in Political Life U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. June 7, 2004.

Catholic Politicians and Bishops. By Most Rev. Raymond L. Burke, Archbishop of St. Louis. America June 21-28, 2004.

A Time For Honesty, Pastoral Statement by The Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark. May 5, 2004.

Why Communion Could Be Denied to Anti-Life Legislators. Interview with Father Thomas Williams, dean of the School of Theology of the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum.

Why Don't Catholic Politicians Practice What the Catholic Church Preaches?, by Judie Brown. Washington Dispatch April 19, 2004.

How to tell a Duck from a Fox: Thinking with the Church as we look toward November, by Archbishop Chaput. Denver Catholic Register April 14, 2004.

On the Dignity of Human Life and Civic Responsibility, a Pastoral Letter by La Crosse Bishop Raymond L. Burke.

Blood On Their Hands: Exposing Pro-abortion Catholic Politicians, by Mark Stricherz. Crisis May 2003.

The Failure of Catholic Political Leadership, by Robert P. George & William E. Saunders. Crisis 18, No. 4 (April 2000).

Denying Holy Communion: A Case History, by Bishop Emeritus Rene Henry Gracida. [PDF Format].

Ten questions regarding the denial of the Eucharist, by Barbara Kralis.

Recommmended Reading

John Kerry, Abortion and the Catholic Church

Irreconcilable Differences", by Matthew Mehan. NRO Sept. 16, 2004.

John Courtney Murray and the 'Liberal Catholic' Justification of Abortion Investigative report by Christopher Blosser. August 30, 2004.

"Please answer the question, Senator Kerry", The Mighty Barrister. August 2, 2004.

You wouldn't even ask. Fr. Pavone (Priests for Life). July 2004.

Kerry isn't making abortion stand clear, by Raymond J. Keating. Newsday July 27, 2004.

Senator Kerry May Be Human . . . But is He a Person?, Catholic Kerry Watch. July 23, 2004.

Kerry's Catholic Problem, by Brent Bozell. July 7, 2004.

The Body Politic and the Body of Christ: Candidates, Communion and the Catholic Church. Debate btw/ Thomas J. Reese, S.J. and George Weigel. June 23, 2004.

The Kerry challenge, by George Weigel. May 5, 2004.

Rites and Wrongs: Why John Kerry should not take communion, by Philip F. Lawler. Wall Street Journal April 30, 2004.

John Kerry's Catholic Problem", by Cal Thomas. April 26, 2004.

Kerry Distorting Catholic Doctrine. Newsmax.com interviews George Weigel. April 16, 2004.

"Personally Opposed, But…" Five Pro-Abortion Dodges, by Todd M. Aglialoro. Crisis April 1, 2004.

On Embryonic Stem-Cell Research

Reagan vs. Reagan and The Stem-Cell Cover-Up, Catholic Kerry Watch, August 14, 2004.

Senator Kerry dismisses religious convictions as "ideology"  Catholic Kerry Watch. August 9, 2004.

Ron Reagan & Functionalism, Revisited, Catholic Kerry Watch. July 29, 2004.

Out of Touch, by Michael Fumento. Refuting Kerry's claims on the use of embryonic stem cells. Citizen Magazine August 2004.

Stem Cell Defection, by Ramesh Ponnuru. National Review August 16, 2004.

Stem Cell Research: Fact Sheets, Letters to Congress and Articles from the USCCB.

On Voting, "Proportionality" and Cardinal Ratzinger's Memorandum

What Ratzinger Said, by James Akin. Sept. 9, 2004.

Bishops Refute Flawed Theology (of Andrew Greeley) Barbara Kralis. August 22, 2004.

Thoughts on Proportionality, Catholic Kerry Watch. July 12, 2004.




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