Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The Vatican Says Its OK to Vote for Pro-Choice Politicians (Though Still Not OK to Be Pro-Choice Yourself) --
This story from the Washington Post gives details from Cardinal Ratzinger's letter to the U.S. bishops. It quotes: ""A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate's permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia."

I don't really believe that the legal status of abortion is going to change measureably any time in the near future, even if George W. Bush is re-elected and appoints two or three justices to the Supreme Court. Until Pro-Lifers get their act together and put forward arguments that don't require one to first be a religious conservative (or someone who depends upon the support of religious conservatives) and lay the foundation for a bipartisan approach to outlawing abortion, building up a Pro-Life wing of the Democratic Party, abortion will never be illegal.

So, basically, voting on the basis of abortion as a single issue does no good. It might if Catholics voted together on every issue, but that has never been and never will be the case. What I would really like to see is Catholic priests use their sermons for teaching Church doctrine. Set out the ten weeks before the election to speak each week on a different issue and how a faith perspective informs one. Some of these issues will favor George W. Bush and some will favor John Kerry. You might have the priests or bishops decide or have the parishioners vote on which issues they would like to hear about. Possible topics include: euthanasia, gay marriage, war, labor unions, taxation, globalization, and religious freedom.

There would be no endorsement of candidates or specific policy positions, only an outline of what the Church believes and does not believe and what areas are as yet undefined or still open to interpretation. One might also preach on the role of conscience in decision-making.

There is a little bit of PR in this idea. With sex scandals and abortion debates and gay marriage issues, the Church has come off as a bit sex-obsessed. By outlining beliefs on a wide variety of topics, which can't all possibly tied back to sex, Catholicism can be seen as an institution which cares about the totality of human life and not just the bedroom.

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