Catholics & the 2004 Presidential Election - Collected Readings & Resources

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Further—and First—Reflections 

Posted by Earl at 8:15 AM

One doesn't like to spoil the good mood of a friend, especially when he's a likeable chap like Catholic Kerry Watch's newest editor, Jamie Blosser.

Jamie, previously described on this blog by his brother Christopher, as "less than enthused" with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB's) Catholics in Political Life, is having second thoughts about his initial sober assessment. He shares his "Further Reflections" in the post immediately following this one.

Having been out of the country when the bishops' statement was issued, this commentary offers my first reflections, but I would like to start with a brief look at Jamie's further thoughts.

First, I must commend Jamie for taking time to revist his analysis. A closer look is always in order. This point bears emphasis in a sound bite society "in which television radically simplifies...our view of the world" and in which it is is difficult to get anyone to take even an initial look at a problem that lasts longer than a glance.

The second thing to be noted is that Jamie's second look is prudently and appropriately cautious. Thus, while he claims a distinction between the purported "authority" of the USCCB's Catholics in Political Life and the the Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians' Interim Reflections, he notes "the question of whether the USCCB has any real authority at all" and describes the difference in the following terms:
The latter is only a collection of "reflections," which lack even the pseudo-authority of the USCCB, and are simply the unambiguous "reflections" of a couple of theologians.[emphasis added]
I understand what Jamie is saying about the numbers, a point he proceeds to expand upon, but the Task Force is somewhat more than just "a couple of theologians" in that its members, who are bishops, were appointed by the same USCCB, whose "pseudo-authority" is appealed to. After all, Cardinal McCarrick led the discussion at the bishops' spring session by invitation—not usurpation.

As for the numbers, the Church, Deo gratia, is not a democracy, pace the dubious "authority" of episcopal bureaucracies, and, more to the point, a weak statement is not strengthened by "the collective weight" of the bleat of the sheep, er, shepherds endorsing it. As has been said elsewhere, God makes a majority of One. Thus I will continue to stand with the remnant of bishops who are defending the Faith, the Eucharist, and the unborn.

Which brings us to Jamie's principal point.
All of positions I liked, or at least found agreeable, were in the official statement itself. All of the positions I didn't like, or just found disagreeable, were in the Task Force's "Reflections." [emphasis added]
Hardly, a glowing endorsement, but I respectfully ask my esteemed colleague to reflect yet further. His initial assessment of the USCCB statement was not only sober but sound.

The Orwellian double talk that Jamie aptly cites may indeed have first appeared in the Task Force's Reflections, but it is "highlighted"—their word, not ours—by the USCCB in their Catholics in Political Life, hardly the mark of a statement that is "vastly different from McCarrick's reflections."

"Our obligation as bishops at this time is to teach clearly," the bishops declare. How disappointing, if predictable, that instead they have, once again, given us a statement that, as a wise observer once wrote, "is vague enough, in every aspect, to justify nearly any interpretation."

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

Ad Limina Apostolorum

Christopher Blosser of
Against The Grain

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Ad Limina Apostolorum
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The Blog From The Core
Catholics for Bush [Blog]
Catholic Light
Defensor Fidei (Jimmy Akin)
Domenico Bettinelli, Jr.
The Galvin Opinion
Just Being Frank
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Let's Try Freedom
Mark Shea
[The Meandering Mind of a Seminarian]
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Kerry Communion Watch @

The Candidates on Abortion: Where do they stand?




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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. 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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