Faithful Citizenship 2008

Posted by Censor Librorum on Oct 28, 2007 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way

In every presidential election year since 1976 the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a set of reflections on Catholics’ political responsibilities. “Faithful citizenship” reminds Catholics to vote, and also urges us to vote with an informed conscience.

The nation’ bishops will meet in Baltimore in two weeks to debate the 2008 draft document, currently known as “The Challenge of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.”

As in years past the key moral issue will no doubt be abortion…closely followed by the four other “nonnegotiable” issues: euthanasia, embryonic-stem-cell research, human cloning and same-sex marriage.

The current draft includes theological intricacies of making moral judgments about “intrinsically evil” actions like abortion, euthanasia, torture and deliberate attacks on noncombatants in warfare.

The bishops link the duty to avoid evil to a positive duty to do good: “The moral imperative to respond to the needs of our neighbors – basic needs such as food, shelter, health care, education and meaningful work – is universally binding on our consciences.”

Prayers for peace and solidarity aside, I can imagine some real junkyard dog fights before the final document is signed.

Some bishops will argue the document should emphasize “culture of life” issues(like abortion) should override all other considerations for Catholic voters. Others will want to give equal-or more-emphasis to domestic social concerns like immigration, health care (especially coverage for children), the elderly, housing and education. Global warming and pollution in poor communities are other issues with champions. I’m sure the war in Iraq and its consequences will also be hotly debated.

The political landscape has changed in the last four years as Republicans squandered their high moral ground. The $500 billion dollar Iraqi conflict-with no end in sight-the mortgage crisis; high gasoline and heating oil prices; gay sex scandals, the immigration impasse; a threatened presidential veto on health care for poor children..the list goes on.

Any Catholic who isn’t obsessed with abortion and gay sex would have a hard time pulling the lever for a Republican candidate who doesn’t take more of a liberal stance on social justice issues.

Here’s my bet: There will be a greater emphasis on unjust wars and social concerns than in previous documents. Care for the environment and concern for illegal immigrants will also make an appearance.

I predict: Even with a Catholic Giuliani as the Republican candidate, enough Catholic voters – voting their informed conscience – will cost the Republicans the election in 2008.

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