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 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...


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.


  1. I am so pleased to have a better way to explain my stance. I too follow traditional Catholic values in living my everyday life and do not stray from them in choosing how I vote. Thank you!

  2. I was at mass at a large southside Indianapolis parish on Sunday and not only did Father basically have a Power Point presentaion for a homily and pull out his cell phone in order to read a prayer to conclude his homily, but just previous to the closing prayer he let people know that he had printed out the benedictions from both the RNC and DNC given by Bishop Dolan and urged people to take copies of each. He then stated, "since neither party reflects the beliefs and teachings of the church....etc".

    I guess I have never seen eye to eye with this priest, but would still attend mass there on occasion since it is my in-laws home parish. I will stick to my home parish from now on as I have a hard time taking anything away from his "revival".

  3. Great post! Just wanted to point a typo: In the first question Father John Hollowell proposes: 1) "So, Professor Schenk, you feel like cuts to programs for the poor of our country will ***raise*** abortion rates. ***not lower... raise***

  4. Excellent!! Thank you for posting the video!

  5. I am always amazed by the priests/catholics that continue to insist that the Republican side can be defined by “cuts to programs for the poor of our country” instead of the truth which is that most republicans oppose these bloated, centralized government programs because they want to end all the corruption and waste in these programs and more efficiently and effectively help the poor by taking these programs our of giant centralized government hands and developing BETTER programs for the poor. They are not trying to end aid for the poor but better direct resources which will not only help but also not trap the poor in victimhood/unhealthy dependency on government entitlements which I would argue increase abortions, not reduce them, among other harm they do.