Thursday, November 06, 2008

Post-Election Roundup

Greg Sisk reflects at Mirror of Justice:
For those of us who are committed to the sanctity of human life, it is difficult to sugarcoat the results. The most pro-abortion politician ever nominated by a major party has been elected president. Although we pray for unborn children and always work to shine the light, dark days may well lie ahead for the pro-life cause. However optimistic one may be for the long-term, yesterday’s vote probably does mean that the day on which human rights for unborn are recognized has been delayed for a season.

Given the tightening of the race at the end, Catholics for Obama rightly may take meaningful credit for the Obama victory. While exit polls show that a majority of faithful Catholics who attend weekly Mass were not convinced by the Obama appeal, a majority of Catholics overall did vote for Obama. And given the significant deficit for Obama among Catholics during the primary season, the efforts of Catholics for Obama may well have been decisive.

Catholics for Obama thus deserve our congratulations for a campaign well fought, along with our reminder that with victory and political power comes moral responsibility. All of us who grieve for the plight of the unborn in this nation must hope and pray that the promises made by Professors Cafardi, Kaveny, and Kmiec, that the lives of hundreds of thousands of unborn children would be saved by an Obama administration, will now be realized. Let us all join together in endorsing the Pregnant Women Support Act offered by Democrats for Life (and not yet endorsed by President-elect Obama).

And when emboldened pro-choice Democrats move to enact the Freedom of Choice Act that would strip away even the minimal protections currently in place for unborn life (and they will), we should expect that Catholics for Obama will speak forcefully against it and insist that its enactment would undermine the Obama pledge to unify the country. And when pro-choice Democrats seek to repeal the Hyde Amendment and use taxpayer money to finance more abortions (and they will), we should expect that Professors Cafardi, Kaveny, and Kmiec will speak as publicly and vigilantly as they did urging his election to remind President Obama that using the wealth of government to fund the industry of death contradicts the theme of the Obama campaign to move beyond the politics of division. And we all must join together as a united witness for life because, after all, lives literally depend on our faithfulness.

Deal Hudson laments the role (or lack thereof) that he believes Faithful Citizenship may have played in the outcome:
... "Faithful Citizenship" stated that, under certain circumstances, a Catholic could in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports abortion rights for "other grave reasons" as long as they do not intend to support that position (34-35).

It's a strange argument that allows Catholics to send a politician with an undeniably extreme abortion record into the Oval Office and yet somehow bear no responsibility for what happens to unborn children as a result. One can only wonder what "grave reasons" the bishops could have had in mind that would outweigh the 4,000 unborn children who are aborted each day.

Many bishops -- including Bishops Vann, Farrell, Vasa, Martino, and Chaput -- stepped forward in the last months to correct misinterpretations of "Faithful Citizenship," but it was too late. History will show that Catholics helped to vote into office a president whose record contradicts our most fundamental moral belief -- the sanctity of human life...

Christopher Blosser links to an interview with Fr. Thomas D. Williams, Dean of theology and professor of moral theology and Catholic social thought at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome, who provides "a Roman perspective on the election":
... It would be rash to make a sweeping moral judgment on a group of people like the American voting public. Morality entails two dimensions: an objective dimension and a subjective dimension. The first dimension concerns whether a given choice or action is right or wrong in itself. The second dimension involves intention and moral knowledge. Our Catholic tradition has always recognized the possibility of “invincible ignorance,” whereby a person does something wrong while sincerely and perhaps blamelessly believing it to be right. I doubt many Americans voted for Obama thinking they were doing something wrong.

On the other hand, this doesn’t mean that we aren’t morally responsible for this choice. Some people may have allowed more superficial concerns triumph over more weighty moral issues in determining which way they would vote. All who voted for Obama will in some way share in the responsibility for his actions as president, at least as far as they were foreseeable. As far as life issues, marriage, and school choice go (to take three key moral issues), we already know where Obama stands and what he intends to do. Personally, I wouldn’t want that on my conscience.
Here's more from that interview at National Review:
The U.S. bishops will be facing an enormous challenge in the coming months. Not only do we now have the most radically pro-abortion president in history, we also have a Catholic vice-president who also supports abortion rights, in opposition to Church teaching.

The Church will continue to try to work together with those in office, while making clear its opposition to Obama’s unacceptable position on life issues. In November, at the annual meeting of the US Bishops Conference, the issue of whether or not to deny Holy Communion to pro-abortion Catholic legislators is on the docket for discussion, and will now be all the more important because of Joe Biden’s election as vice-president...

Rich Leonardi appreciates the "pointed" nature of Cardinal George's congratulatory letter to President-elect Obama:
In the event it isn't clear -- and given my dearth of commentary on this post, it probably isn't -- I rather liked Cardinal George's note. That's why I mentioned it was "pointed," i.e., he highlights the principle that matters: the "defense and support of the life and dignity of every human person."

Amy Welborn features a smackdown of Prof. Kmiec by Archbishop Chaput:
I’m grateful to Prof. Doug Kmiec as well for his letter. While we do not share a friendship and have had little contact in the past, Prof. Kmiec is right about the need for civility in public debate. Since I belong to a growing number of bishops excoriated by blogs on the cultural left–including blogs tied to otherwise respected Catholic publications and to scholars that, in the words of Prof. Kmiec, ‘’should know better”–I understand his discomfort with the tone of this election.

Nonetheless, good manners do not trump facts, and as an attorney himself, Prof. Kmiec surely knows the importance of candor. ..

Sen. Barack Obama has promised to sign a sweepingly abortion-friendly ”Freedom of Choice” Act; authorize human cloning to produce embryos for stem cell research in which they are killed; cut off funding for prolife pregnancy clinics; and nominate only ”pro-choice” judges to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Maybe all of these commitments are an elegant charade. Maybe I’ve missed a ”prolife” theme in here somewhere. But no matter. Along with many, many other Catholics and prolife citizens, I look forward eagerly to Prof. Kmiec’s vocal advocacy against these profoundly unjust policies.

Regular Guy Paul announces a change in policy:
The prior policy of "Life's too short to read Vox Nova" is hereby rescinded. I will no longer refuse to link to Vox Nova.

What's changed is that now the election is over, and Barack Obama has won. Michael Ifrate, M.Z. Forrest, Radical Catholic Mom, and (not least) Morning's Minion, together with eminent names like Doug Kmiec and Nicholas Cafardi, can now take a large measure of credit for the election of Barack Obama, the man who has promised as his first priority to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which would sweep away every restriction on abortion in the nation, certainly resulting in more abortions. He has promised to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which would pave the way for gay "marriage" throughout the country. And he told an interviewer that his greatest regret in office was his assent to the unanimous assent motion in the Senate that allowed Terri Schiavo's parents a last chance to seek protection for their daughter in the federal courts.

If the political fight against abortion, gay "marriage" and euthanasia is to make any progress, it must now be advanced by liberals like the pro-life Catholics of Vox Nova. I have no influence in the Democratic Party, and the Republican Party will have no appreciable influence in the new administration. But the election of Obama has seen the creation of a group of Democratic voters who are largely Catholic and ostensibly pro-life.

If the Freedom of Choice Act is to be stopped, it must be stopped by pro-life Democrats. If Roe v. Wade is to be overturned (a necessary first step to any legal restrictions on abortion), it must now be because pro-life Democrats have persuaded our new president to appoint justices who understand that life is the first right on which all others depend.

The writers at Vox Nova have spent many months selling Obama as someone that pro-lifers can vote for. They succeeded to a sufficient extent that a substantial number of pro-life Catholics have voted for Obama; he might not have won without that group.

I think they'd agree. This morning at Vox Nova, M.Z. Forrest writes:
I also hope the Democrats recognize - and I think the conservative Democrats in the House do recognize - that support from pro-lifers helped make this election possible and act accordingly.

I sincerely pray that he has better luck with that than Republican pro-lifers have had when the GOP was in the majority.

It seems to me that their integrity demands that, if they really are pro-life Catholics, they must, having made the pro-Democrat arguments to pro-life Catholics, now turn around and make the pro-life Catholic arguments to the Democrats. I hope they will. I wonder if they will.

And, at Catholics Against Joe Biden, "Our First Catholic Vice President (and an embarassment, at that)":
Personally, I find it downright embarassing that the only Catholic the American people could muster for Vice President is one who demonstrated his complete theological and moral incoherence on television and was in turn publicly chastised by the Bishops of the United States.

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