Monday, September 10, 2012

We Already Have Our Share of Uninformed Catholic Voters

Especially when we were in the midst of lots of academic work, my rector in the seminary would often remind us that "the world already has its share of dumb priests...it can't afford anymore."  It was a joke.  Kind of.

We have also reached our quota of uninformed (or wrongly informed) Catholic voters and it is key that we begin to reverse the trend.

Yesterday, I listened to a VERY important show that I hope every Catholic listens to or watches during this election season.  The show presents both sides of the argument that Catholics have.  Both sides of the debate are presented very articulately and clearly, and in a way that you rarely see in the same place.

In the first interview of this week's World Over Live, Raymond Arroyo interviews Stephen Schenk, the President of Catholics for Obama, a professor at Catholic University of America.  Following that interview, Arroyo turns around and interviews Bishop Robert Morlino.

The two opposing political philosophies that Catholics bring to the voting booth are laid out clearly.  I actually think Arroyo could have done a bit better in the interview with Schenk because Schenk was very clear on the one point that he was making, and Arroyo seemed to struggle to grasp it.  The position that Schenk outlines is side 1:

"I, as a Catholic, lament the redefinition of marriage, I lament embryonic stem cell research, I lament abortion on demand regardless of ability to pay, I lament the attacks on religious freedom...

BUT...

if someone will do what I determine to be a better job of caring for the poor, that outweighs all the stuff I just mentioned because if there is less poverty, the other stuff will diminish."

That is position 1.  Some people taking position 1 will substitute either support for the death penalty or support for a specific war as justification for voting for a candidate in support of intrinsic evils.

A couple of questions I wish Arroyo had asked Schenk:
1) "So, Professor Schenk, you feel like cuts to programs for the poor of our country will lower abortion rates.  How will leaving such programs for the poor in place reduce embryonic stem cell research or push back against the redefinition of marriage?"

2) "Professor Schenk, you acknowledge that the Democrats ignore every aspect of the pro-life agenda.  How is continuing to vote for those who oppose every element of the pro-life platform going to send a message?  Wouldn't NOT voting for such people send a stronger message than continuing to vote for them?"

One of the things I think Arroyo nailed was when he played the clip of Bishop Lori saying essentially that a Catholic can't vote for someone who supports abortion, embryonic stem cell research, the redefinition of marriage, etc.  Schenk's line was something like, "Well, I know Bishop Lori well, he baptized my kids, he's one of my favorite prelates, but with all do respect he's offering his opinion."

Bishop Lori isn't spouting his opinion, he's reciting Church teaching.  Schenk very clearly demonstrates the ease with which many Catholics today simply dismiss the teaching of their bishops and instead create from scratch their own Church, their own doctrines, and they make themselves bishop of their own world.  Schenk's dismissal of Archbishop Lori sounded like a guy dismissing the advice of a drinking buddy on how to bet on an upcoming NFL game.

Anyway, on to side 2.  Bishop Morlino is the second half of the show, and is also worth the watch.  He comes out and cogently, pastorally, and succinctly answers Schenk (and all in his camp's) argument that there are non intrinsic evils that can outweigh intrinsic evils.

WATCH the video, I'm on my knees begging you to watch it.  Fastforward through the first 10 minutes to watch Schenk's interview and then stick around and watch Bishop Morlino's interview will be worth the investment.

The average Youtube viewer tunes out after a minute and a half.  I urge you to spend 30 minutes and watch both interviews in their entirety.  And then send this video to others and encourage them to watch it. Engage Catholics in this discussion.  Because we already have our share of uninformed Catholic voters.