Fifty Four Percent

Posted by Censor Librorum on Nov 7, 2008 | Categories: Bishops, Politics

An estimated 54% of Catholics voted for Obama for President. 46% did not.   They voted for the McCain/Palin ticket or someone else. Catholics called the election again, as they have done for the past eight or nine. 54.jpg

In spite of 50 dioceses issuing “pro-life” voting statements, every anti-abortion initiative was voted down, and the presidential election went to Barak Obama.

Here’s why I think McCain lost Catholic voters:

1.   The economy

2.   The economy

3. The economy

4. The $700 billion bailout (however necessary) of banks and other financial institutions

5. Doubts about Sarah Palin, combined with John McCain’s age

6. President Bush’s unpopularity

7. Ethical issues surrounding the mortgage crisis

8. Unhappiness with the overall direction of the country

Catholic voters voted for change. What can the bishops learn from this?

Focusing solely on abortion and to some degree, same-sex marriage, is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic when the passengers are heading for the lifeboats. They are not the primary concerns of most Catholic voters. The economy is.

The bishops have not regained, and may not for decades, the prestige and respect they lost in the clerical sex abuse scandal.   Making pronouncements from on high is not an effective strategy. Meeting people where they are is.

Many liberal Catholics, myself included, are not pro-abortion. But because conservative politicians are unattractive on many other levels, I  can’t vote for them on single issue platforms. Instead,  I prefer to vote for candidates that promote alternatives to unwanted pregnancies. This is another way  of addressing the same problem: abortion.

“Unwed mother” no longer carries the social stigma it did decades ago. When teenagers get pregnant, they don’t automatically  give up their baby for adoption or end up in an unwanted marriage.   Or get an abortion. Many of them want to have and keep their baby. The problem is – they have no money or resources to do so. Abortion becomes necessary.

Catholic bishops and  Catholic conservatives can stop a lot of abortions by pushing elected representatives to fund  programs for single mothers (and fathers) to get financial support for  housing, food, pre-natal care, health care, education/job training, and child care.  

Quo Vadis, bishops? Are you serious about making an impact on abortions, or do you just want to hear your own voice?

Quo Vadis, bishops? Be realistic. People aren’t going to give up sex. Kids and adults take chances and use nothing or don’t use birth control and get pregnant.   Then what? If the woman doesn’t have the resources to give birth and raise the child, what does she do?

Abortion is a moral issue.   But it is also an issue of resources.

Will U.S. bishops continue to focus on sex, and make thundering statements about “intrinsic moral evils” and huff and puff and threaten liberal Catholic politicians, and leave it go at that?

Will they also  come after  conservative Catholic politicians and their allies–threaten them with the loss of communion, status and photo-ops–if they do not do everything in their power to help pregnant girls and women who want to keep their babies and not be consigned to a life  in poverty?

Or, will they stop the threats, roll up their sleeves, and live Pro-Life  by example.  

I suggest every bishop, starting with the 50 who made Pro-Life statements in this election, dedicate a portion of their endowments  to support all unwed women who want to keep their child. Bishops can use this money to fund diocesan social service programs, and act as a “safety net” for when the government falls short.

A focus of the annual diocesan parish tithe should be directed to funding programs for these women and their children.

When serious money is on the table, I’ll know they’re serious.


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5 Responses to “Fifty Four Percent”

  1. Thom Says:

    I don’t think there’s much money left after the debacle in California.

  2. Joanna Says:

    As you must know U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has given $200,000 to The K of C 1.2 million. That was serious money. And where did that money from the bishops come from?

  3. Benny the Bridgebuilder Says:

    Your focus for the term pro-life on resources for living is very heartening.

  4. eric Says:

    Oh Lord, amen to that.

  5. Katherine Says:

    Its more than other issues besides abortion. Many Catholics who care deeply about abortion and previously voted for pro-life candidates simply saw a very ugly face of conservative Catholicism this year. The material distributed by Randall Terry, the suggestion one was going to hell for voting for Obama and the attempts to deny communion to people for voting Democratic turned off many people who were otherwise open to what John McCain stood for.

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