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Friday, February 15, 2008



well if obama doesnt get the nod, i hope the dems wont run into a brick wall


If Mr. Obama is indeed the nominee against Mr. McCain, I'll probably go with the gentleman from Illinois. (I was a Giuliani backer in the primaries.) Especially if McCain fails to tap someone like J.C. Watts or Condi Rice as running mate. Getting this country over the racial hump would be huge. Also it's time to force the Democrats to start thinking about protecting the country again. Put them in the driver's seat, and show that modern liberalism can either be made to work or forget it as a political philosophy. I've heard of too many conservative Catholics who are marching in the Ron Paul parade. Are we that clueless that we'll vote for a strong pro-lifer, even if he voted against the Patriot Act (while liberals such as Wellstone and Kennedy supported it)?


The issue of capital punishment is used by the baby-killers as a smoke-screen to hide behind and to avoid doing anything to change their baby-dismembering ways.


I think I am loosing touch with the "Average Josephs and Marys" in the Church. I have been helping teach a series on the Church's social doctrine and have been challenged on more than one occassion the difference between abortion and capital punishment.

I am at a loss as to why it is seemingly so "complicated". ahhhhhh!

I have to say, if Obama was prolife (abortion, euthanasia, embrionic issues), he would be a pretty appealing candidate.

It is pretty sad and unfortunate that we will, yet again, be put in the position of voting for one evil vs. a greater evil. And not just that... but more, one who is "young and fun and exciting" vs. "an old fart who is anything but exciting".

But perhaps it is a blessing. Maybe enough people will get sick of the two party system and we will have more viable options next time.



Strange...not very insightful, from what I would assume to be an insightful mind.

"Pro-life postures collapse when it comes to the death penalty"- Obama is not against capital punishment either?

Immigration and climate change- Doesn't McCain's record in the senate show that he has addressed these issues with an interest in justice and the common good. What has Obama done to help immigrants? In all of the issues listed I don't see how Obama has been more "catholic" than McCain and Huckabee.


This is very surprising to see from Kmiec. He spoke at my law school, and my impression was that he was solidly conservative. Moreover his Con Law textbook was most attractive to conservatives. Disappointing.

Carl Olson


He seems to have swallowed some of the Obama Elixir. It definitely has a strange effect on folks.


What part of "Obama is a socialist with a capital C" don't you understand?

That Kennedy and Wellborn voted for the Patriot Act should clue you in on the fact that it flies in the face of the US Constitution. The Patriot Act (that is, an act against true Patriots) is a horrendous assault on our liberties. Witness the TSA. Frisking elderly fliers and ignoring 3rd world men? I've seen it happen in airports recently. Eavesdropping? Suspending habeas corpus, a right granted free men as long as 900 years ago by English King Henry II and recognized as important to a free nation? This is good? It allows for torture, incarcerating American citizens without due process and the abuses go on.

There are two choices for liberty and Constitution loving Americans: either write in Ron Paul or vote Constitution Party, which is THE ONLY party consistent with true Catholic values.


AJ -

Ron Paul is great. I really like him.

That said, neither he or the "Constitution Party" are "consistent with true Catholic values".

They may be consistent with "conservative values", but they are not simply "Catholic" in their socio-political outlook.

Don't get "conservative America" and "Catholic" mixed up. It only creates problems. ;)~

Carl Olson

What part of "Obama is a socialist with a capital C" don't you understand?

Where the capital "C" goes. That part.


''a consistent and realistic defense of life that actually takes steps to reduce the incidence of the practice, not just condemns it''

How do you reduce the incidence of a practice without primarily and consistently condemning the practice? Sounds similar to this scenario: If you keep alcohol widely available to teenagers, how can you expect to talk them into not drinking?


Sorry Carl. My response was to rawdawgbuffalo. "C" as in Communist, which is where Obama lands (see 'Che' flag at Obama's Houston HQ and his signing on to legislation which commits the US taxpayer to a 'global tax' to be determined by the UN).

As for American vs Catholic and Justin: the Constitution enumerates specifically what the Feds can and cannot do. Dr. Paul actually understands that and has signed onto that. It's one thing for the Church to ask for funds to help the poor and bring Christ's love, mercy and justice to man. For the government to do it gives the secular a chance to usurp the Church, which is why so many princes 'signed on' to Protestantism way back when: the state became savior. No Jesus necessary. You might want to research George Soros and his connection to Obama, Hillary and McCain. It will give you a clearer insight into the global agenda and what's at stake.

Brian Schuettler

It is truly a shame that the libertarian base was hijacked in the 60's and 70's by liberal revolutionaries e.g. crypto-communists and anarchists. If that were not the "perception" of libertarian thought by so many, Ron Paul would not have been so isolated in the Republican debates. The average American voter, I believe, would be surprised by the conservative authenticity of Paul's message, expecially in contrast to the rhetoric of Obama. If Paul became a third party candidate I would surely be tempted to vote for him. Unfortunately such a candidacy would virtually guarantee a Democrat victory in November.

Wouldn't it be wonderful, for the first time since Reagan, to have a "real choice"?

Mark Brumley

For the record, this website is not about partisan politics or about supporting particular candidates. I called the article from Kmiec to Carl's attention because I found perplexing the discussion of capital punishment in relation to abortion and catholic teaching confusing.

I am not a big fan of capital punishment, for a variety of reasons. However, it is permissible under Catholic teaching. Indeed, it can even be obligatory. That cannot be said of abortion. Kmiec should have clarified that point, notwithstanding his enthusiam for Obama.

I once contributed to a book called THE FIVE ISSUES THAT MATTER MOST, which dealth with abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, cloning, and same-sex marriage. My contribution to that discussion distinguished matters of Catholic principle from their prudential applications to concrete issues. While Catholics should all agree on the basic principles of Catholic social teaching, Catholics' differing assessments of circumstances and policy implications can give rise to significant differences of opinion regarding prudential applications of Catholic social principles.

It seems to me, as it seemed to Cardinal Ratzinger in his letter to the US bishops a couple of years before he became Pope, that the question of the applicability of capital punishment and abortion are on different levels. Can we all get that through our heads, even if we happen to have made the judgment that capital punishment is a bad idea here and now? I think state-sponsored gambling is a bad idea, but that conviction is much harder for me to come by than my opposition to state-sanctioned abortion, though I think (at least I hope) both convictions flow from my Catholic faith.


While Cardinal Bernardin's concept of a seamless garment and a consistent ethic of life appeared good externally, I fear one consequence of it was this notion of an equal playing field on all life issues. I don't think that this was the Cardinal's intention, but Kmiec's statement seems to follow this type of argument. Logically speaking, the seamless garment has more than a few loose threads. For some reason, certain Catholic intellegentsia assume that capital punishment is intrinsically evil and speak out more on that and social justice issues than abortion. IMO, even the commentary by politicians such as Obama tends to regard the Iraq war or the actions of our own country as evil. This fits what J. Budziszewski terms the revenge of conscience, that by not acknowledging evils such as abortion, one's conscience loses sight of the good, thereby adopting some type liberal self-loathing found in what one claims to love-country, church, etc....

jack flannery

Brian, I retired 13 years ago to teach religion in a catholic high school. Capital punishment was consistently opposed as "just always plain wrong" by an average of 60-70% of classes. Abortion was seen as legal and simply a "choice" by a similar percentage. Now that is in N. J. and Ma. but I fear that it also reflects the parent's outlook which has been shaped by years of media slant. There was always shock when I explained the Church's position by using the Gospel of Life. At mass today, abortion and capital punishment were linked by the priest as equally abhorrent. No sense worrying about it but we must go out of our way to get this truth out. I won't give you their outlook on contraception, living together and same-sex marriage. Just keep a good sense of humor and keep on punching the pillow. Sooner or later the feathers fly.


Let's not forget that Obama is in favor to kill a child who survives abortion and Clinton is against banning partial-birth abortion so that those children who have a physical or mental defect can be aborted.

O Lord, why do You hide Your face from us? Why do You deliver us to our enemies? Have mercy, Lord, have mercy, for truly we have offended You.


Our country practices a separation between church and state so that we can choose to be Christians (specifically, I am a Catholic Christian, but that is not the point I'm making), or Jewish or Muslim or whatever other religion one chooses to be.

Our responsibility in choosing a political leader is to choose a leader who will represent the interests of all people, not just those interests that coincide with our personal religious beliefs. It is our responsibility as Christians to refrain from abortion, not the responsibility of our political leaders to make it illegal.

Carl Olson

Our responsibility in choosing a political leader is to choose a leader who will represent the interests of all people,

Including the unborn, right? Consider this from the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the [Catholic] Church:

570. When — concerning areas or realities that involve fundamental ethical duties — legislative or political choices contrary to Christian principles and values are proposed or made, the Magisterium teaches that “a well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political programme or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals”[1191]. In cases where it is not possible to avoid the implementation of such political programmes or to block or abrogate such laws, the Magisterium teaches that a parliamentary representative, whose personal absolute opposition to these programmes or laws is clear and known to all, may legitimately support proposals aimed at limiting the damage caused by such programmes or laws and at diminishing their negative effects on the level of culture and public morality. In this regard, a typical example of such a case would be a law permitting abortion[1192]. The representative's vote, in any case, cannot be interpreted as support of an unjust law but only as a contribution to reducing the negative consequences of a legislative provision, the responsibility for which lies entirely with those who have brought it into being. ...

571. The political commitment of Catholics is often placed in the context of the “autonomy” of the State, that is, the distinction between the political and religious spheres[1194]. This distinction “is a value that has been attained and recognized by the Catholic Church and belongs to the inheritance of contemporary civilization”[1195]. Catholic moral doctrine, however, clearly rejects the prospects of an autonomy that is understood as independence from the moral law: “Such ‘autonomy' refers first of all to the attitude of the person who respects the truths that derive from natural knowledge regarding man's life in society, even if such truths may also be taught by a specific religion, because truth is one”[1196]. A sincere quest for the truth, using legitimate means to promote and defend the moral truths concerning social life — justice, freedom, respect for life and for other human rights — is a right and duty of all members of a social and political community.

When the Church's Magisterium intervenes in issues concerning social and political life, it does not fail to observe the requirements of a correctly understood autonomy, for “the Church's Magisterium does not wish to exercise political power or eliminate the freedom of opinion of Catholics regarding contingent questions. Instead, it intends — as is its proper function — to instruct and illuminate the consciences of the faithful, particularly those involved in political life, so that their actions may always serve the integral promotion of the human person and the common good. The social doctrine of the Church is not an intrusion into the government of individual countries. It is a question of the lay Catholic's duty to be morally coherent, found within one's conscience, which is one and indivisible”[1197].

stephen m. bauer

I think Obama will have great appeal to Catholics despite his stand on abortion. Of the death penalty: what would Jesus say?

Cristina A. Montes

"It is our responsibility as Christians to refrain from abortion, not the responsibility of our political leaders to make it illegal."

But Christians are against abortion not just because we're Christians but because abortion is against the natural moral law. Abortion is murder, and you don't have to be a Christian to be against murder.


"It is our responsibility as Christians to refrain from abortion, not the responsibility of our political leaders to make it illegal."

It is our responsibility as Christians to refrain from racial discrimination, not the responsibility of our political leaders to make it illegal.

Yes, no?

For that matter,

"It is our responsibility as Christians to refrain from X, not the responsibility of our political leaders to make it illegal."

Where X is literally any immoral act.

Yes, no?

Stephen M. Tefft

How 'bout we turn this around a bit...

"Our responsibility in choosing a political leader is to choose a leader who will represent the interests of all people, not just those interests that coincide with our personal secular beliefs. As secularists, we believe abortion is perfectly okay, but it is not the responsibility of our political leaders to make it legal."

Does that work?


What would Jesus say about capital punishment? He did say render unto Caeasar...if a just form of government sees fit to use it as a means of justice, there is no intrinsic evil with capital punishment because when used properly it is a just form of killing. According to Scripture, Tradition and the Natural Law, capital punishment can be and has been used as a form of justice. The problem today, especially in our country, is that it has become problematic as a form of justice for many reasons so it should rarely, if ever, be used.

The same cannot be said of direct procured abortion, it is always intrinsically evil.


How can a practicing Catholic politician or voter ever be secular? It is like renouncing his Baptism. It is the responsibity of Catholic voters to put people in office that will enact laws and legislation that upholds the Natural Law. The idea of the separation of church and state advocates neither secular laws nor a secualr state, it is a Christian concept that has roots in the early Church as shown in Augustine's City of God.

Yvon Thivierge

Kmiec is right and Olson is wrong. Period.


Ahh,the gipper..evil empire? I dont recall any crimes against humanity trials for these murderers at all! I guess communists are not as bad as nazis and jap imperialists so just cheer on the gipper and let em off scott free! Carl makes sense for a while then falls into predictable lock step..


I have met people who decided they should oppose the death penalty because they were opposed to abortion, but I have never met any one who decided that one's opposition to the capital punishment logically meant opposition to abortion.

Logically, one would expect the reverse. If one so reverences the life that one opposes the government's right to execute guilty murderers after going through due process, one might be expected to oppose the right of private persons to arbitrarily kill the lives of innocent unborn babies.

Now, the dean of a Catholic law school misstates the Church's teaching as equating the two types of killing. I hope he would flunk a student who misrepresented the law in wilful ignorance. I also question the thinking of any lawyer who equates the non-regulated killing of innocent lives by private parties with the judicially regulated imposition of capital punishment on the guilty. Lawyers usually think there is a pretty big difference between private action and legal action; it's their living.


re: the sort of "thinking" that some Catholics are going to use to explain their support for Sen. Obama

Most don't dispute the magisterium's moral arguments; rather, they employ their prudential judgment, with proportionate reasoning, to draw a practical conclusion regarding the most effective manner to reduce abortion, in the near term, and to eliminate it, eventually. There is compelling evidence that criminalization can be ineffective, counteproductive even. At any rate, that is not a topic for moral theological speculation but, instead, is a matter of jurisprudence, which turns to sociological science and asks what would make for an effective law and/or efficacious interdiction.

Joe Trevors

How do you really know what a person, particularly a politician, believes deep within his or her soul, based upon his or her stated positions?
For example, George Bush says he is pro-life and also pro-war and also pro-death penalty. I saw the real George Bush when I was watching on TV the spectacle of the execution of Terri Schiavo three years ago. Bush was watching just like all of us good Americans while she starved to death. Bush could do nothing to stop it? There is the real Bush!!
It is so easy for politicians to fool us especially when we latch on to their every word particularly with the abortion issue. They can play us like fools. Watch what the politicians do, not what they say.
Remember that if the Anti-Christ were to run for President, he would probably be "pro-life" just to fool the Christians!

Joe Trevors


The most horrendous and unjust war that has ever been waged is the war in the womb. As a Catholic Christian I approach my civic duty informed by a hierarchy of values and recognize that the right to life is first on that hierarchy.

People are making too little out of embryo destruction. All unborn children, including embryos, are human beings and have a right to life, which must be defended by each and every citizen.

We all must come to recognize the human person in everyone who is victimized, rejected, abandoned, and defenseless in the worldwide community. This cannot be accomplished if we do not firstly recognize and protect the most defenseless among us, the unborn. Not until we have done all in our power to end the abomination of abortion (and embryo destruction) worldwide by peaceful measures, can we hope to see a measure of peace in the world. Let us unite in our defense of each and every one of us.

I do not believe we will ever see an end to war in this world until we end the war in the womb. Perhaps our loving and merciful God will help us end poverty and war if we help Him end the war in the womb.

God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." (Gal. 6:7)

Pass that on to McCain, Clinton, Obama, Romney, Thompson, Giuliani and even Paul (who would let each state decide the fate of the unborn).

Carl Olson

Kmiec is right and Olson is wrong. Period.

LOL. Devastating logic, Yvon. I'm still working on figuring out all of the complex, nuanced aspects of your argument, but, golly, you simply went right over my head.

Carl Olson

Ahh,the gipper..evil empire? I dont recall any crimes against humanity trials for these murderers at all! I guess communists are not as bad as nazis and jap imperialists so just cheer on the gipper and let em off scott free! Carl makes sense for a while then falls into predictable lock step..

Uh....whaaaat? Sorry, this makes no sense. You seem to be saying that although Reagan was opposed to communism and took all sorts of concrete (and largely successful) measures to defeat it, it meant nothing because he didn't put the Soviet leaders on trial? Wow.

Carl Olson

. Bush could do nothing to stop it? There is the real Bush!!

Joe: Sticking simply to the matter of Terri Schiavo's murder, I think things were a bit different than you recall. Bush did, in fact, try to keep Terri alive; he was dealing with a lot of legal/ judicial red tape, as well as state rights issues, etc. From a March 21, 2005 AP piece:

"Taking the Senate’s lead, the House early Monday passed a bill to let the woman’s parents ask a federal judge to prolong Schiavo’s life by reinserting her feeding tube. President Bush signed the measure less than an hour later"

And there was his March 17, 2005 statement:

"The case of Terri Schiavo raises complex issues. Yet in instances like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws, and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life. Those who live at the mercy of others deserve our special care and concern. It should be our goal as a nation to build a culture of life, where all Americans are valued, welcomed, and protected - and that culture of life must extend to individuals with disabilities."

And, on March 31, 2005, after Terri's horrific death, President Bush stated:

"Today millions of Americans are saddened by the death of Terri Schiavo. Laura and I extend our condolences to Terri Schiavo's families. I appreciate the example of grace and dignity they have displayed at a difficult time. I urge all those who honor Terri Schiavo to continue to work to build a culture of life, where all Americans are welcomed and valued and protected, especially those who live at the mercy of others. The essence of civilization is that the strong have a duty to protect the weak. In cases where there are serious doubts and questions, the presumption should be in the favor of life."


I haven't read all the comments but has anyone yet noted these differences in capital punishment and abortion?
(1) Due process. Courts can sometimes fail to render a just result, but at least there was a trial with a defense. No such considerations for the unborn.
(2) Sheer volume. Executions have not run more than 200 a year over the last century. I found where it was 56 in 1995. That's about a half hour of abortions.
Putting party and candidates before God and Church would be idolatry, wouldn't it?


"Putting party and candidates before God and Church would be idolatry, wouldn't it?"

As I wrote some years ago in A View from the Top:

Something vital is lacking in the political arena. And not just at a Party level, but also at a personal level. It is my opinion that there is an absence of knowledge of God's perspective or even an awareness or concern that He has one. Despite all the rhetoric we hear about "In God we trust", nothing is more apparent than the fact that we do not trust in God. If we did, we wouldn't continually disregard His Statutes and try to usurp His Throne. It should be of no surprise that the aforementioned void has been filled with injustice and immorality.

We should not be viewing the world from the Left, Center or Right. It is imperative that we view it from the Top - from the perspective of its Creator.

Baby Rose

A servant of the people is to promote the common good & to protect all the people he/she serves. Abortion is about murder; having innocent blood on our hands. If the deliberate or accidental act of a person murdered outside of the womb is punishable by the State, then a person deliberately murdered inside the womb should also be the same BECAUSE that person is technically already 9 months old when they are born. There is no such thing as an accidentally induced abortion; it is a deliberate premeditated act performed for a fee.

The death penalty is permeated with other problems; racism and lack of $ for defense. Sometimes people innocent of a crime, but unjustly condemned, do not have the $ for proper representation (usually Blacks & Hispanics; minority races). Now, if you have $$$, like O.J. Simpson you can even buy your way out of a murder charge with $ & fame irregardless of race or facts. How corrupt is that???!! Death penalty or just war killing does not have the intent to spill innocent blood; it is about defense & protection against individuals & nations for the ultimate common good of the people. Unfortunately, innocent blood is spilled in the process (war), although not deliberately, except when terrorists use pregnant woman & children as sheilds and the like.

I see very few women responding to this forum. I am & I bought into the lies of our culture over 28 years ago. I did not know that I was conforming myself to a culture of death. The violence of abortion has mushroomed into horrendous porportions. It is an intrinsic evil, a barbaric practice equaling that of the Aztecs. Both cultures appease false gods; the Aztecs the sun god and America (even our world) the god of selfishness & pleasure. We call ourselves "civilized" while we are murdering our descendents. That's insanity.

Our culture feeds on fear and rightly so as it self-destructs. But we live in God's world, His creation and every act against Love & Truth (God) demands eternal Justice and God will be recompensed. Praise God that He sent the merciful Son whose sacrificial death on the Cross has fulfilled and paid this Justice due such a Holy God. May all people embrace His Mercy while there is still time.

Baby Rose(aborted 1981; Hope Clinic, Belleville,IL)

Matthew Palardy

Interesting conversation, and one I certainly now must join, based on a nuanced and prudent view on the entire issue that I've been developing with a little help from some friends in recent days.

A reversal of Roe v. Wade, just like any noble and idealistic policy proposal, would be a short-term gain, but a long-term disaster, due to a serious lack of public virtue in American society. Let me explain: five or ten years after the reversal, adoption agencies may find themselves unable to cover their expenses any longer. The press may be covering truly horrifying cases of child abuse and neglect. Schools may be spending so much energy on discipline and order that academics will suffer even further. Social workers may be drowning under their caseloads, and might even strike. Then, with public and professional furore growing against an "unraised generation," the pro-abortion people will be back with a vengeance, and this time, like their founder Sanger, may carry overt eugenics and all sorts of other atrocities in tow.

A political failure? Not really. Rather, this is a failure of culture--and thus a failure of the those responsible for culture, for playing the fiddle (or perhaps the guitar and cheesy electric keyboards) while relativism encroached upon people's hearts and minds, and the community, the city, the village, burned and was destroyed. And then, in a profound statement of defeat, asking the state to enforce the culture it wants by force, which merely serves to bolster state totalitarianism. Did not both Spain and Québec fall hard into secularism when their authoritarian rulers went to? I am reminded cogently of Christ's statement about an unclean spirit, upon being exorcised, returning to its host after wandering a time, and bringing back seven other evil spirits with him. "Thus it will be with this evil generation."

Our general culture today being one of vice, narcissism, and violence, sadly, any good policy will lamentably be short-lived, as the American people will doubtlessly sabotage it. Economic stimulus, wage hikes, or mortgage or educational loan bailouts will only mean more consumerism. The prudent may benefit; however, the imprudent will merely have more rope with which to hang themselves, and probably the rest of us as well.

Thus, sadly, we can only realistically hope for the time being that the status quo is maintained, and not so much that things will become better, but only that they will not become worse, until such time as our culture is healed. And this public activity, not activism or politicking, is the proper rule of the Church.

Please meditate on this.

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