What makes it seem complicated is that many Catholic apologists and Internet voices that had decried such a compromise based on the lesser of two evils, now seem quite open about how well that works in a vote for Bernie. Not that they will vote for him. But suddenly, that lesser of two evils, while not preferred, is not some horrible thing that should make a Catholic hang his head in shame.
In fact, in some quarters it is because of Bernie's socialism, that we can vote for Sanders, all other considerations be damned. Oh sure, he passionately supports abortion rights up through partial birth abortion, assisted suicide, oppressing religious liberties under the HHS mandate, but hey! He embraces a secular liberal democratic socialist vision! And apparently that is the teaching that is truly in line with the Catholic Church.
So here's what I've noticed. Pope Francis has made poverty and loneliness into the great evils of our age. They are the non-negotiables. Those things which appear to lead to those evils: greed, consumerism, capitalism run amuck - they are the powers of hell that must be defeated. But other sins, such as gay sex, abortion, LGBT rights, euthanasia, assisted suicide, compromising religious liberty - sure they're still wrong, but they are those issues over which we can agree to disagree.
And so what were once the non-negotiables of life: protecting it womb to tomb, are now set aside as still important issues, but not nearly so great as the foundational problems of poverty and loneliness. And more to the point, only one political and social approach to the problems can be condoned, the other traditional approach being the stuff of Satan. Even if it's not explicitly called evil, it is treated that way.
So a Catholic who chose to support Romney or Bush, despite issues related to not limiting abortion enough or using torture or waging war against terrorism, was a bad Catholic. A weak Catholic. A Catholic who chose the way to hell.
|Looking on the changes with interest|
But now a Catholic who chooses to support Sanders, despite Sanders' passionate support for abortion, assisted suicide, and compromising religious liberties, can be quite the good Catholic after all. Why the change? Because the Church is lurching ever closer to a liberal framework through which to interpret its teachings. And in so doing, it has made those sins of the Left into the negotiables, the areas of prudential judgment, or at least respectful willingness to agree to disagree. And ideals and economic theories of traditional Western values are now the intrinsic evils that cannot be supported.
Sort of like the Left and sex. I've often said that the great coup of our age is that liberalism was able to change the way we deal with sex and religion. It convinced us to treat sex the way we used to treat religion, and religion the way we used to treat sex. So today, religion is something almost shameful that should be kept behind closed doors and only whispered about in dark places, while sex should be proclaimed from the rooftops, the basis of morality and moral law, and the very thing with which identify ourselves.
And so it is here. The grave and intrinsic evils of the Left which were once non-negotiable and the stopping point of all compromise are now those issues we can simply set aside for the greater good. And old theories and ideas and solutions that were once the stuff of debate and discussion between Catholics of good will are now the non-negotiables. They are the evils against which anyone can vote, even if it means supporting the passionate advancement of those sins that cry out to Heaven for vengeance. Or at least those sins that used to cry out to Heaven for vengeance.