There’s been a lot of vituperation going on about whether anyone who is Roman Catholic who voted for Barack Obama is going to hell. The answer is “NO!” but, Catholic McCain voters ARE going to hell!
How do I know this? Take a look at the facts:
The Catholic Church has five “non-negotiable issues” regarding its teachings on the sanctity of life. It is a mortal sin to support abortion (McCain does in cases of rape and incest), embryonic stem cell research (McCain does [see second debate!], and has twice voted for expansion of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research), to define marriage as anything other than between a man and a woman (McCain voted against a proposed US Constitutional amendment defining marriage as solely between am man and a woman). The other two are cloning and euthanasia. I don’t know what McCain says about euthanasia but, the stem cell research may use cloning so he’s wrong on that, too!
So, McCain is wrong on 4 out of 5 “non-negotiable issues” regarding the sanctity of life as pronounced by the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. But, that’s not all!
The Catholic Church has condemned torture saying torture “violates the Fifth Commandment” and is “intrinsically evil.” John McCain voted to allow the CIA to use torture on terror suspects, making torture a policy of the US for the first time in history!
McCain is also on the wrong side of the Catholic Church on the Iraq War, the death penalty, healthcare issues, immigration, the minimum wage, taxes, the economy and the environment. McCain also actively sought out and rejoiced in taking an endorsement from Pastor John Hagee, an anti-Catholic bigot!
I read the USSCB pamphlet on voting and thoughtfully examined my Catholic conscience. I contacted my prelate and other leading Catholic critics of Obama. I re-read the relevant encyclicals and teachings of the Church. Barack Obama was not a perfect candidate for Catholics but, prudentially, was the far lesser of any evil than John McCain. Don Johnson, the Legislative Director of National Right to Life, said of McCain; “McCain will say anything to advance [his] political ambition!” I looked at what Mr. McCain did, not what he says, and didn’t and don’t believe he’ll ever do as he says. The John McCain of 2008 has no integrity or honor. So, a long time ago, after looking at the records of the major candidates I decided that I must vote for Barack Obama for President, and urged other Roman Catholics to do likewise.
So, now where does the Catholic Church go after the 2008 elections? The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) met this week in Baltimore. A response to the 54% of Catholics which supported Obama is being formulated. Some talk of compulsion and punishment was being floated about the conference. The compulsion is for Catholics in America to be required to support the repeal of Roe v. Wade. The punishment is for denial of the Eucharist to those which do not publicly commit to repeal, and other positions which may come up later for Catholic voters, such as the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) for which President-elect Obama was criticized for a statement he made in July of 2007.
I see both compulsion and punishment as the Church plunging itself into being both in and of this world, and a serious error. If we as Catholics are to be required to follow one political wind or another, where is prudential choice? I see there is perfect integrity in the teachings of the Catholic Church on the sanctity and protection of human life. But, if the debatable particular facts of a situation are pronounced to be seen only one way by the Church leadership to compel a specific response by Catholics, and the failure to respond in the prescribed fashion will be deemed scandal or grave sin, how will we as Catholics be free to see what the facts are for ourselves? We will not, and will be bound by whatever the facts may be claimed to be by whatever the powers that be say they are, under peril for our immortal souls.
I bring this up specifically now because it is nigh on to impossible that Church leaders could not have known the facts about John McCain’s failures regarding “non-negotiable” sanctity of life issues and many other failures to support Catholic values.
It appears that such learned men knowingly disregarded the evil present in the candidacy of John McCain for partisan political reasons, and money. The GOP is and remains the party of the wealthy. After the prelates in a number of dioceses stuck their noses into the ballot boxes in 2004 (most prominently in St. Louis [where I live] and Philadelphia), the individual numbers of contributions to the Annual Diocesan Appeals went down while the amounts raised went up. More and more, very wealthy conservative contributors are the difference between the Annual Appeals’ successes and failures (if one thinks the Church’s policies are uninfluenced by monies, “Google” John Tetzel or look to the recent sex abuse scandals). Witness also that the USCCB ended its funding of ACORN right after the election for alleged irregularities “eight years ago.”
I have also seen at the same time as individual contributions went down in the Annual Appeal, individual contributions went up for Catholic Charities. My contributions went to my parish and Catholic Charities. But, Interim Administrator, Bishop Robert Hermann in St. Louis has just now dealt with the “revolt of the masses” in St. Louis by creating a “Stewardship and Development Committee” to “prevent Catholic Charities” from interfering with the other fundraising activities. The Catholic Charities Board was told it could resign if it didn’t like the change which Bishop Hermann said was brought about by “Archbishop Burke (who departed for Rome weeks ago!).” Catholic Charities is the largest private provider of social services in the State of Missouri.
It is unclear whether Catholics will be allowed the free will to determine the facts about political candidates and issues in America. What is clear is what the Church gives Catholics in its teachings. My recent study of the Church’s teachings on the sanctity of life and Catholic values in general has profoundly influenced me to be more observant, to be more compassionate, and to truly be in awe of what a profound gift we have in God’s creation. I fervently pray that one of those gifts which we have in the Church is not being further diminished by human frailty at a time when both compassion and mercy are most needed.