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Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Ed Peters

wow. substitute my mother for his father, and we coulda been brothers growing up in the same house. good find, carl.

Mark Brumley

well-said, Father Barron.


Too many people still think that the Democrat party is "for the little guy" and that belief in the party is equivalent to belief in the Catholic Church. Maybe someone should remind Father that the party of the little guy was full of segregationists in the 60s and couldn't pass civil rights legislation without a large number of Republicans (on a percentage basis, there was more support for the Civil Rights Act among the minority Republicans than among the majority Democrats). How long has it been since the Democrats were REALLY for the little guy? 30 years? Is it really more, and people just didn't realize it? I see so many articles and comments by Catholics urging us not to identify too strongly with the Republican party, but I suspect that many of those people are actually projecting their own identification with the Democrat party onto their opponents. Of course a political party isn't a religion! But in some circles, maybe in Massachusetts especially, it seems to come close. Father seems so very, very reluctant not to be a Democrat. Sheesh. What's the big deal? If a political party doesn't represent your beliefs, don't support it. And don't expect a political party to be infallible--any party. Politicians aren't infallible, either. Seems obvious to me.

Sorry if my tone is too harsh. My own family wasn't sentimental about politics.


Jeannine is right. I have talked with many Priests and Bishops and they do not want to offend the democrats because they do not want to see the collection plate go down. May God have mercy on Kennedy but, shame on him for the years of promoting abortion and a homosexual agenda. And NOTHING WAS SAID ABOUT IT BY THE CHURCH. So, it is true that money talks and sin must not be commend.


I greatly admire Father Barron. Yet his sympathies for the democratic party of 'old' are just that ---sympathies. For all his powers of words and thought, Father Barron still projects sympathy over studied reflection of economics, politics, and other disciplines of thought including theology. I don't mean to be harsh but rather engaging, and I wish so, directly with Father Barron. Perhaps I can capture my differences thusly (for I too come from Father Barron's background and affinity for the 'little guy' or as a title to an excellent read calls him "The Forgotten Man"): who did more for the 'little guy', the 'forgotten man', Ronald Reagan or Ted Kennedy? Who advocated such policies which promoted economic freedoms and associations, Reagan or Ted Kennedy? Whose economic policies and governing philosophy recognized man's willingness to do good through real charity as opposed to government compulsion? Whose policies promoted economic welfare, free enterprise, and reduced poverty and dependence--Reagan or Ted Kennedy? And who, even in the heat of political battle reflected a genuine appreciation for human dignity, Reagan (as in how he would cajole with Tip O'Neal) or Kennedy (as how he dehumanized Robert Borke) and in doing so lead the way for a modeling a political discourse (Kennedy's progeny in this regard being the likes of Pelosi, Reid, Obama, et al). To those who know, they see the rhetorical comparison, and to those who don't, they will actually attempt to debate these as "questions" needing answers.

Robert Barron

I must say that I was flabbergasted by Jeannine's comment. I thought I made it eminently clear that my father was the one who unambiguously identified the church's social teaching with the platform of the Democratic party. I furthermore thought I clarified that, as my own political thinking evolved, I moved away from the Democrats. And the very heart of the argument in the video was a sharp rebuke of Sen. Kennedy's flip-flop on what I called the most pressing moral issue of the day. How any of this can be seen as sentimental advocacy of the Democratic party is, to say the very least, puzzling.

cthemfly 25

Father Barron---you are very kind to respond and to respond kindly. Speaking only for myself, the 'sentimental advocacy' for the democratic party was expressed in a 'but for' acknowledgement regarding abortion....'but for' abortion, the democratic party is the party for the little guy. In fact you said you were 'predisposed' to the party's self potrait (my words not yours) as being for the little guy. My limited point was that the sentimentality expressed for the democratic party by you and frankly many others, aside from the abortion and other anti-life and family policies which it lustily advances, is misplaced. The real champions for the little guy aren't the 'we need more big government' policies of even the ole democratic party, but the stalwart advocates of freedom. That the democratic party's longstanding and now multi-generational advocacy for abortion and more recent advocacy for homosexual rights and euthanasia provoked your departure from the party is good, but for me and others perhaps there were many other factors recognized many years, perhaps scores of years, ago which lead us to believe that the democratic party was harmful to the 'forgotten man.' On this we agree, abortion is a gateway issue: one who advocates for it or is even agnostic about it, does not see life's inherent dignity, and consequently does not see the adventure of our greatest gift from God, our freedom.

Again, thank you Father for your kind response and for the gift of your priesthood. I'm a big fan---and not just in a sentimental way :)

Mark Brumley

The Kennedys continue to generate a lot of heat in Catholic circles. Let's hope we can find some light as well.

Mark Brumley

cthemfly 25, it is not clear why the "advocates of freedom" are for the little guy. It depends on what one means by "freedom". When, for example, defenders of "economic freedom" in the 19th and early 20th centuries opposed government child labor laws and similar legislation aimed at protecting "the little guy", it was claimed by some critics that government intervention interfered with "freedom" of contract. In such instances at least it was not the "advocates of freedom" who were for "the little guy" but the proponents of "bigger government".

If we cast things in such general terms as "advocates of freedom" or "we need more big government" policies it is difficult to discuss issues in a meaningful way. For example, abortion rights supporters would claim that they are the "advocates of freedom" because they support the "freedom" of women to choose whether or not to have abortions. They would argue that prolifers are the ones trying to get the government to tell women what to do, to limit women's "freedom of choice". In other respects the rhetoric of "freedom" is employed by the Democratic Party or at least by key elements within it--for example, those who advocate the radical autonomy of euthanasia or lifting of the restrictions on drug use or the abolition of anti-sodomy laws or "freedom" to marry members of the same sex.

So we would probably need to talk about what true freedom is, how it is to be promoted, and what grounds freedom, before we could have meaningful agreement or disagreement.

This is probably not the place to engage in an extensive discussion of the matter. Furthermore, I realize you were simply posting a comment in response to a video clip, not setting out a lengthy treatise on political philosophy. But of course in fairness neither was Father Barron.

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