Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Why Catholics voting Democrat makes me wonder

Well, it doesn't make me wonder too much when I'm reminded by poll after study after survey that without American Catholics, that thing known as the secular left would never have made it this far.  The vast majority of American Catholics, after all, out-liberal most God-hating leftist atheists.  They support abortion rights, proudly use birth control of every variety, and typically adopt the post-Christian notion of God as a concept by which I measure my own reality (St. John Lennon 3:16).

Of course they also come close to where the Church appears to be going.  Though not officially pacifist, one has to admit that one is hard pressed to find an armed conflict that has had the Church's backing in any recent memory.  And while the Church officially allowed for the use of capital punishment in extreme (if unlikely) cases, in recent years both Pope Benedict XVI and a growing number of bishops also want to follow the modern way of jettisoning the death penalty altogether.  Likewise, when it comes to such things as social justice, immigration, and general financial distribution, the Church certainly tacks to the more progressive, modern mindset.

In fact, if you get right down to it, if it were not for the staunch adherence to preserving natural life at all costs, there would be little to separate the Catholic Church and where its leadership appears to be heading from any one of a dozen mainline Protestant denominations, c. 1990.  Even its recent statements concerning homosexuality, while still opposing marriage of non-heterosexuals, sounds more comfortable in a modern, secular psych magazine than anything found in traditional Christian reflections.

But that is also another thing to notice.  The Church has certainly opened itself up to being in line with the latest scholarly and scientific theories.  As a general rule, it seems pretty happy accepting whatever is the latest idea to come out of academia.  There is only the qualifier that God does too exist, added to whatever has been said.  So when it comes to the theory of Evolution as currently understood, the Church appears to say, "Whatever, sounds good, but God does too exist."  Increasingly I notice that biblical commentaries and scholarship hearken more to the post-Christian, secular critical school of scholarship, acknowledging that entire swaths of Scripture may be nothing more than fables, with huge hunks of the Old Testament, and maybe even a few sections of the New, no longer applicable without reading it through a narrowly defined set of true canonical texts.  Of course the Resurrection still happened. 

In short, I sympathize with Catholics who are more progressive, more liberal.  Were it not for the womb to tomb emphasis on the sanctity of life, there is a shrinking number of teachings in the Church that don't echo, if not wearily, the same basic path taken by our more liberal brethren in various progressive denominations.  Still, there are a few things that the Church stands firm on, and those two are that marriage is still between a man and a woman, and abortion in any case will ever and always be an intrinsic evil.  Period.

So it is that the Democratic Party of American politics has officially made its platform that marriage can now be between any combination of adult Homo sapiens, and a woman does too have the right to abort unborn babies.  Naturally that doesn't mean there is no discussion.  But from the Party's own mouth, this is now the official goal, the purpose, the end to its efforts.  This isn't something open to debate on a party level.  Some democratic candidates may disagree, and on a person by person basis, a Catholic could certainly make the case for supporting such a candidate.  But a candidate who embraces this platform has essentially said his or her purpose is now to advance a platform that is against the Church's fundamental teachings.  That is its goal.  It cannot be denied.

So how a Catholic can support a candidate who supports this platform is beyond me.  That doesn't mean, of course, that they must naturally support the Republicans.  Goodness knows there are problems there aplenty; if not with the official platform of the party, then at least with how many candidates are advancing their particular agendas that are either at odds with Church teaching, or are through naivete at odds with Church teaching even if they believe otherwise.  But to pull the lever for someone who has said I support a major party's platform that has openly stated its desire to thwart the Church's vision for a moral society based on the Church's teachings is beyond me.  Of course that so many Catholics will do just that will, again, speak more for the state of Catholicism in America than most probably care to admit.

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