Marriage PenaltyWhile it is condescending to say that a political party knows what matters to Catholics, the Globe story by Michael Kranish (which is found here) does a balanced job of covering the website and the issues concerning “the Catholic vote”, which the Bush campaign would clearly like to chip (wedge) away from the Democratic ticket.
Sanctity of [heterosexual] Marriage
Child Tax Credit
Adoption Tax Credit
Parental Consent [for abortion]
International “Family Planning”
Litmus Test for Judicial Nominees
Religion On Campaign Trail
The odd part of Kranish’s story is the thin-skinned reaction of Mikey Meehan, the Kerry campaign spokesperson.
A Kerry spokesman, Michael Meehan, expressed offense at the nature of the Republican Party's attacks. "It is outrageous that they say Kerry is 'wrong for Catholics,' " Meehan said. "He is a Catholic, and the issues that he believes in, most Catholics believe in."Color me stupid. Just exactly why is it outrageous, Mikey? I don’t “believe in” issues, but like everybody I have opinions about them and take stands sometimes. This website is but a list (yes, it is selective, so what?) of the stands that Kerry has taken on a set of issues. If I print out this list and slip it under the door of some selected BostonIrishCatholicDemocrat neighbors of mine, they might think twice about voting for Kerry, which is why the GOP made this website. Why is that an outrage?
The only other time Mikey is quoted he is once again in a sputtering state of outrage:
"It is outrageous that they organize by asking for church membership lists," Meehan said.So the big bad GOP is trying to collect church memberships lists to feed its database. You don’t suppose the DNC would refuse to dirty its hands with a database of Unitarian or UCC activists do you? [those with longer memories might recall the DNC household database was surreptitiously refreshed with lists of PBS subscribers within the past few years] So what. That is part of building an organization of people with common political interests. Political parties are supposed to be about this. Mikey Meehan must have been just going through the motions of outrage.
Gillespie, the [Republican National] committee chairman, confirmed that the GOP is trying to collect church membership lists from members. "There has always been an ongoing effort to get whatever lists we can," Gillespie said.
But in his Globe column today Jim Carroll is not going through any motions of outrage. He is peeved because he sees that:
“Today, some Catholics, including many bishops, repudiate the theology of the Second Vatican Council, and they are the ones most determined to stop Kerry from being elected. Having a Vatican II Catholic as president of the United States would be a blow against those who hope to roll back the reforms begun at that council.”Yep, Jim is on his high horse again. I’m afraid it’s time for another Fisking.
IN LABELING John Kerry "wrong for Catholics," the Republican National Committee is lying about the meaning of Catholic faith, insulting Kerry, and moving the political exploitation of religion to a new low.They couldn’t lie because they said absolutely nothing about the meaning of Catholic faith. They reported votes and statements of the candidate. That is not an insult to Kerry, it is part of his record. Did Carroll even LOOK at the website? Finally, it is deliciously ironic for an Irish person to claim that the [stateside] Republicans are “moving the political exploitation of religion to a new low”. Sorry, Jim, but Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley have finished in a first place tie for that prize. Those fellows outdo either party here by a wide margin, and have the guns, bombs, and graves to prove it. Get some perspective, Jim.
The Globe's Michael Kranish reported Sunday on the RNC plot to target Kerry's religious unworthiness as a Catholic. Not only do the Republicans distort Kerry's positions on complicated moral questions; they misrepresent the current state of Catholic ethical thought. General outrage is the proper response to this strategy, but Catholics in particular should repudiate it.A “plot to target Kerry’s religious unworthiness as a Catholic”? What a perfect example of hysteria. The website is reporting, not judging. If they have distorted his positions, they have done so through judicious selection, but both Planned Parenthood and NARAL give Kerry very high marks on supporting abortion rights, so the distortion can’t be too strong, at least on that issue. As for “misrepresenting the current state of Catholic ethical thought”, I’ll leave that to the ethicists and theologians to judge, but I suggest that the Globe Spotlight team has found recent evidence that ethical thought has not exactly permeated the US Bishops of late, and that the hierarchy might be a good place to start correcting misrepresentations of Catholic thought, as well as being a more useful and deserving spot for the Catholic laity to aim a proper response of general outrage.
I worship at the same Catholic church in Boston where John Kerry and his wife often attend Mass.Just to inform the outsiders, this Globe author used to officiate at the liturgy there, before he left the priesthood.
Across the years I have observed the senator at prayer, and I have some sense of the seriousness he brings to his devotion. John Kerry's Catholicism is for real. His faith is informed by the spirit of the great renewal that occurred with Vatican II. At that council (1962-65), the Catholic Church finally and fully embraced the principle of religious liberty that had been pioneered in America.If you have a sense of Kerry’s piety, fine. I’ll stay agnostic about his and everyone else’s to boot. And I agree 100% with Jim that the Church’s embrace of the concept of religious liberty was a great thing. But whatever has motivated Kerry’s votes in the Senate, particularly on the issue of abortion is simply not consistent with any type of Catholic thought.
If Kerry voted this way against or with his conscience is a matter for him to settle with his Maker from whom I pray for the same divine mercy for both he and I. But there is a logic to faith as well. A legislator cannot lead his constituents anywhere by forsaking his own conscience when making law. One judgment I will make is that Kerry either has a poorly formed Catholic conscience or has one that he can’t hear when he stands on the Senate floor.
Bush uses religion to justify his penchant for violence, which is manifest in nothing so much as his glib use of the word "evil." Once an enemy is demonized, transcendent risks can be taken to destroy that enemy. We see this apocalyptic impulse being played out in Iraq today. If in order to obliterate "evil" it proves necessary to obliterate a whole society -- so be it. A divinity seen as willing the savage murder of an only son as a way of defeating evil is a divinity that blesses an America that destroys Iraq to save it.I do not believe that Bush uses the word “evil” glibly. Neither did Reagan. Carroll and his Paulist pals got all bent out of shape when Reagan called the Soviet block the “Evil Empire”. Now they don’t like applying this word to the behavior of Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and God knows who else. And furthermore we are “destroying Iraq”. Jim, if you are truly a pacifist, show some candor and just say so. Then show some consistency and courage by living someplace where your pacifism is not protected by the US Armed Forces. Think how much better you might feel! I would choose a new neighborhood carefully, though.
How dare the people who have twisted religion in these ways challenge the religious integrity of John Kerry. Nothing proves the urgency of his election more fully than the Republican profaning of all that is sacred not only about Kerry's firmly held personal beliefs and about the delicate religious balance this country has achieved but also about the precious mystery to which we refer when we speak of God.We Republicans! We have not just challenged Kerry. We have threatened the religious liberty of this country, and we have even descended into blasphemy! I’m glad at least that Jim Carroll was a Paulist priest rather than a Jesuit. Words like that coming from a Jesuit could make one a little uneasy, especially if uttered in a dunge..errr basement. As for a little 1-page RNC website profaning the divine mystery, Jim, I think there are some websites you might have missed that do a far better job of that. As an example, I suggest you visit one which shows an Iraqi "insurgent" sawing of Nick Berg's head with a carving knife while his comrades shout "God is great!" over the last screams of their victim.