Sunday, November 02, 2008

Work to do.

According to yesterday's Houston Chronicle, "Abortion [is] not main Issue for Catholics." The point of the article is that, according to a recently-commissioned poll, only 44 percent of Catholics consider abortion the main issue when they vote. The piece also notes that
  • The Catholic hierarchy is beginning to respond to what has been a pretty laissez-faire sense that there is fundamental moral freedom for Catholics to vote as they please, based on practical political concerns and preferences. A growing number of the bishops, including Houston's Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, have begun to use some definitive language to describe the abortion issue as a genuine and foremost concern, because human life is a foundational right. [The bishops are taking their jobs as shepherds more seriously, responding to the sense of the global Church and a growing segment of the domestic faithful. Other clergy I have seen strong statements from recently are Cardinal Egan of New York City and Archbishop Chaput of Denver.]
  • Church-going Catholics are expected to favor Republican candidates, while non-practitioners poll in favor of Democrats. Part of the secret to change, then, appears to be to get the faithful back into the pews on Sunday.
  • In the interest of the "choice" position, there are now groups who, with pretense of broad acceptance as well as "legitimacy" within the community of Catholics, promulgate the position that it's OK to place the whole panoply of election issues in an equivalence with abortion. They say that as long as the party or candidate speaks for regulation of abortion access in some fashion (while apparently maintaining a "pro-choice" credibility), it is permissible to vote for that candidate over one who is clearly pro-life. This position purports that the abortion issue is lost anyway, so we should save whatever we can. [Take your pick: is this position venal? disingenuous? manipulated?]

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