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Archive for Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Catholic archbishop gives moral guidance on election

October 22, 2008

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Election 2008

In-depth coverage of the candidates and the issues, all leading up to the Aug. 5 primary and the Nov. 4 general election.

Abortion is the fundamental issue for Catholics in the presidential campaign, said Archbishop Joseph Naumann, of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, in a visit Tuesday night to Kansas University's Dole Institute of Politics.

"Our democratic institutions are founded upon the premise that there are certain inalienable rights," including the right to life. Without that, other campaign issues like the economy and the war in Iraq mean nothing, he said.

In a speech organized by KU's St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center, Naumann sought to discuss how Catholics should live their lives in public and how numerous social issues are in play during the campaign. He spent much of the evening discussing the Catholic Church's opposition to abortion and mapping out the church's moral platform.

"The church in the United States always cherished its rights and its responsibility to form the moral (conscience) of the country," he said.

He stopped short of endorsing a candidate, saying, "We (the church) don't really believe that is the role of the church in a democratic society."

Naumann told the crowd of more than 100 that sometimes there is no perfect candidate and sometimes it's a choice between the lesser of two evils. Catholics should weigh their beliefs before voting, he said.

He blamed cultural relativism for forming beliefs that "(impair) a culture from what is imperatively true."

Naumann said this election was part of a battle for the soul of our society, and warned that bowing to pressure from pro-abortion or pro-gay marriage groups could lead down the road to totalitarianism, because democracy could "(devolve) into the will of the majority trampling on the rights of the" minority.

"If liberty becomes distracted from truth, it leaves society vulnerable to totalitarianism," he said. "Remember, Hitler was elected."

Naumann's speech left many audience members inspired.

Jennifer Sibille, a KU graduate student of physics, said she hoped to discuss some of the Catholic Church's platforms with her peers.

"It's sometimes difficult to want to speak up on an issue," she said. "The university culture is so against that, so it's always helpful to have some reinforcement."

Anna Wishall, a KU graduate student of music therapy, said she came to get the church's point of view on topical issues.

"A lot of people have told me they're not going to vote in this election because they disagree with both candidates," she said. But after hearing Naumann say there is no perfect candidate, she said she felt more comfortable going to the voting booth.

Jennifer Meitl, outreach coordinator for the St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center, said the abortion issue may not have been on the top of Catholics' minds.

She hoped audience members learned that "the (issues) that have the most gravity are not the ones that have just been talking points," she said. "Where do you define 45 million lives (lost) in the last 30 years? Where do you find more gravity than that?"

A previous version of this story inaccurately quoted Naumann's statement about bowing to pressure from pro-abortion groups.

Comments

bad_dog 5 years, 11 months ago

"I'll listen to arguments about when life begins-at the very least, I'll listen to the arument for "life begins at vitality." Whatever "vitality" might be.."-longhawkLonghawk, I believe the term you are looking for is "viability"; the point at which an infant is physiologically likely to survive independently outside the uterus given the benefit of medical treatment. I can't address "world records" but I believe the ballpark legal estimate for viability is around 24 weeks.

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longhawk 5 years, 11 months ago

"those that condone killing in the name of Judaism, Christianity and Islam obviously know nothing of their religion."--I'll agree with you on Judaism and Christianity. However Sharia has very specific instances where killing in the name of Islam is perfectly OK.

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rtwngr 5 years, 11 months ago

No, Puggy, exactly what you said is what is wrong with society. There are truths. One of them is life begins at conception. This is an irrefutable fact. When that life is prematurely ended a murder has occurred. Our society permits murder on the one hand and condemns it on the other. Talk about sending the wrong message.

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KansasPerson 5 years, 11 months ago

Mr. Kealing, are you there?"Naumann said this election was part of a battle for the soul of our society, and warned that bowing to pressure from anti-abortion or pro-gay marriage groups could lead down the road to totalitarianism, because democracy could "(devolve) into the will of the majority trampling on the rights of the" minority."Is that a typo? I would have thought that the Archbishop would have warned about "bowing to pressure from pro-abortion" groups, not anti-abortion groups.

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Trobs 5 years, 11 months ago

I doubt it Kansasperson - There have been many Catholic Bishops taking stances opposite to the teachings of the Church.

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jmadison 5 years, 11 months ago

Why would would the previous poster equate the election of Sen. Obama to the election of Hitler?

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Strontius 5 years, 11 months ago

We don't need civic lessons from a representative of an undemocratic, totalitarian religious institution for our Liberal Representative Democracy. Funny, but I've never seen a society devolve into totalitarianism for supporting gay marriage or reproductive rights. I've seen it happen by listening to the other side...And what a bunch of garbage about pretending to be a suppressed majority. You don't get to do that in a democracy. What's really going on is making excuses for your bad ideas.

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Polly_Gomer 5 years, 11 months ago

Revshack, When are you wingnuts going to get it through your thick skulls that NO ONE is pro-abortion.

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KansasPerson 5 years, 11 months ago

logicsound04 said: "Does that mean that we should condemn modern Beetles?"Only those Asian ones who crowd out all the good, true ladybugs! .... ooops, wrong thread.

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KS 5 years, 11 months ago

SouthSide - He did not....YOU DID! Where did you go to logic school? Use your common sense.

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Confrontation 5 years, 11 months ago

Catholic women are more likely to get an abortion compared to protestant women, or those of any other religion. Perhaps they should've used some condoms. Oh, I forgot. Those are bad, too. Preach all you want, but your own people are the ones you need to teach. Obviously, they're not listening to you, Arch.

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rtwngr 5 years, 11 months ago

Strontius, nobody is trying to give you civics lessons. You probably wouldn't listen anyway. We never cast our pearls before swine.

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revshackleford 5 years, 11 months ago

"stuckinthemiddle (Anonymous) says:I know a lot of Catholics and with the exception of one they are voting for Obama:"I hope for their sake there will be a confessional close to the voting booth. McCain is certainly not the most desirable presidential candidate, and there is no question we need a change from the policies of the last 8 years, but there is such a thing as change for the worse. Obama is a smooth talker and a strong personality, and I understand why people find him compelling, but his vigorous pro-abortion stance should prevent any thinking Catholic from even considering voting for him.As it says in the Old Testament, "there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death," in this case the death of another one million plus babies per year in the US for the foreseeable future.As it says in the Who song "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

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revshackleford 5 years, 11 months ago

Sure didn't take long for the name calling to start.Okay, this "wingnut" replies:Nobody is pro-abortion? Okay, does that mean you are against abortion, indifferent to abortion? If there is nothing wrong with abortion, then why not be pro-abortion? The lamest pro-choice argument is "abortion should be safe, legal and rare." Why rare? Do you ever do something good and or read about somebody else doing something good and say "Such behavior should be rare."To the Catholic poster who has pre-voted for Obama: it is a big church, and there are a range of opinions on a lot of things. Abortion is not one of them. Archbishop Naumann addressed this directly. I'm guessing that not a lot of the people sounding off here actually heard the Archbishop speak.He also directly addressed the difference in the Church's oppostion to the death penalty and abortion. If you give the idea a minute's thought the difference should be obvious. A lot of people opposed to the death penalty say that anyone who supports it should witness an execution and then see how he or she feels. I would say the same about abortion; sit with the attending physician and witness an abortion.Lastly, before this nut takes wing, I would ask all supporters of Planned Parenthood to do a search on The Google for "Margaret Sanger" and "eugenics." Here are the roots of the modern prochoice movement.

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BrianR 5 years, 11 months ago

revshackleford (Anonymous) says: "Okay, this "wingnut" replies:Nobody is pro-abortion? Okay, does that mean you are against abortion, indifferent to abortion? If there is nothing wrong with abortion, then why not be pro-abortion? The lamest pro-choice argument is "abortion should be safe, legal and rare.""Now you're just trolling.

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Ken Miller 5 years, 11 months ago

"Catholic Archbishop gives Moral Guidance...." That's funny.

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stuckinthemiddle 5 years, 11 months ago

I know a lot of Catholics and with the exception of one they are voting for Obama...the one exception is voting for Bob Barr...

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Trobs 5 years, 11 months ago

Agnostick - Even when the Israelites had the commandments in hand, they turned to war. They conquered the promised land by the will of god. In fact, they walked the walls of Jericho with the same commandments you mock encased in the Ark of the Covenant. It is easier to mock and laugh, then to listen and understand.

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longhawk 5 years, 11 months ago

The "life begins at breath" argument is pretty easily refuted-some babies take their first "breath" after only 20 weeks gestation. Some, 42 weeks. What makes the 41 and ½ week old fetus less "alive" than the 20 week-old that had the misfortune of "breathing" prematurely?The Court in Roe v. Wade, like Obama, professes to be unqualified to define the beginning of life. That's fine. The error of RvW is that it fails to protect the POSSIBILITY of life. It's reckless.RvW essentially says, "Human life MIGHT exist in the womb-we don't know. So we won't allow the states to restrict the termination of that life/non-life (whatever it is)."That logic is akin to a hunting law that says, "That movement you see in the bush MIGHT be another human hunter-but it MIGHT also just be a dumb animal. But since you're not sure what it is, feel free to blast it. It's not your fault if it turns out that you killed another human being."One of the first rules of hunting is, "Be CERTAIN of your target (and beyond) before firing." Sounds reasonable, no? It's the exact opposite logic of RvW.

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BuffyloGal 5 years, 11 months ago

Even when the Israelites had the commandments in hand, they turned to war. They conquered the promised land by the will of godSubstitute the name Bush for Israelites and I fail to see a difference!

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Ragingbear 5 years, 11 months ago

This statement should be enough to revoke the Catholic Church's tax free status in the U.S.

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longhawk 5 years, 11 months ago

AGILLA-Very good point. I'm against both--but I recognize that there is a difference between the philosophy of criminal justice and preservation of innocent lives.POLLY-You're just not correct, here. Some people DO think abortion as a good thing. I disagree with that position, but I respect it-they're being true to themselves. What I cannot stand is the Biden position-the "I think abortion is wrong, but don't want to force my morals on others" position. Substitute "abortion" with any moral issue-"polygamy," "incest," "tax evasion." Just because some people don't agree with your side doesn't give you an excuse to wimp out on your convictions. What if the Gay Marriage proponents took that view? The vast majority of Americans think Gay Marriage is immoral--but that hasn't stopped them from pushing for it.

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stuckinthemiddle 5 years, 11 months ago

revshackleford and those confessions would go like... uh.... this...?"Forgive me Father for I have sinned. I supported a person who supports a person's right to make their own moral decisions."a fairly large majority of Catholics that vote in this country will likely be voting for Obama...Catholics tend to be rather libertarian in their religious views... and have traditionally and historically been heavily Democratic... despite all the anti-abortion rhetoric out of the Vatican over the past 40 years...

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BuffyloGal 5 years, 11 months ago

And the counterargument of course is that it is a shame that Hitler's mom didn't believe in abortion either. Life begins at conception? John Wesley, founder of the Methodist church (a Protestant) believed that life began when an infant "breathed the air of God". As our lungs don't begin to function until birth, you could argue that until birth, the infant is not alive yet. Of course, Methodism was founded on heart burn ("a warming of his heart") so anything is open to possibility here!~

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hujiko 5 years, 11 months ago

Why does it even matter if abortion is legal? If you are a catholic, don't have one, you are not forced into it. I love how the GOP thinks they are the party founded on morals, yet they are the ones who limit other's rights to choose what they do to their bodies, start wars, and constantly scare-monger the public to make them believe their agendas are righteous.

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Gareth Skarka 5 years, 11 months ago

The Catholic Church needs to read up on Matthew 7:3:"And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"Clean up your own house first (own up to sexual abuse by priests and stop shielding them from prosecution), and then you can lecture us on morals.

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Luxor 5 years, 11 months ago

Note that the Catholic church isn't pushing people to vote for stronger child molestation laws ...

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Jonathan Kealing 5 years, 11 months ago

Kansasperson-Thanks for bringing that to my attention. In the future, you can get my attention more quickly by sending me an e-mail:http://www2.ljworld.com/staff/jonathan_kealing/contact/Jonathan KealingOnline editor

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jonas_opines 5 years, 11 months ago

I suppose it wouldn't be as dignified if the title was:"Catholic archbishop gives personal opinion on election."

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Trobs 5 years, 11 months ago

Marion you are right. However, those that condone killing in the name of Judaism, Christianity and Islam obviously know nothing of their religion.

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LeslieJeanne 5 years, 11 months ago

I am a Catholic who has advance voted for Obama. I don't like scare tactics no matter who they come from. Please remember the Church is huge with a lot of people and a lot of opinions. After all the Church did change its ruling about Galileo. All priests are not child rapists, now that is prejudice to write that.

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AjiDeGallina 5 years, 11 months ago

I hope the Catholic Church, and all the other churches engaging in politics, are ready to start paying taxes.

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kateku 5 years, 11 months ago

Rev -- Maybe you should read the bible about judging others... what does it say about that?

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Lindsey Buscher 5 years, 11 months ago

"He blamed cultural relativism for forming beliefs that "(impair) a culture from what is imperatively true.""And this is what is fundamentally wrong with the Catholic church, or at least one of its bass ackwards teachings.The truth is that it is possible to have both--cultural relativism AND a good moral foundation, that is, an understanding of what is "imperatively true."

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tolawdjk 5 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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longhawk 5 years, 11 months ago

Logicsound--In what way is my point inaccurate? Babies born prematurely take their first breath weeks--or months--before other babies their same age. If a baby is born at, say, 20 weeks, it is considered alive. What is it about taking that breath that makes it more "alive" than a baby at 38 weeks, stil sitting in the uterus?I'll listen to arguments about when life begins--at the very least, I'll listen to the arument for "life begins at vitality." Whatever "vitality" might be--I believe the world record is still 21 weeks gestation, although that will certainly go lower and lower, due to technology. But "life begins with the first breath" is illogical.

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Trobs 5 years, 11 months ago

Ending the life of anyone is wrong. Kill only in self-defense or in war. I do not advocate war. Obama said he did not want his daughters "burdened" by an unplanned pregnancy. Is that what a child has become? A burden? Our society is sad indeed.

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longhawk 5 years, 11 months ago

Bad Dog---Viability is better (vitality is technically OK, but viability is what I was looking for--thanks!).I found what I believe to be the world record for a premature baby to survive--21 weeks, 6 days:http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11222-worlds-most-premature-baby-set-to-leave-hospital.html

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Angel Gillaspie 5 years, 11 months ago

I don't understand why people who oppose abortion support capital punishment. Isn't it the same moral issue at the core? As a matter of fact, the quote from the Old Testament cited by revshackleford could be used as an argument against capital punishment as well...

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texburgh 5 years, 11 months ago

As a Catholic I am deeply offended by the Archbishop's lectures on politics. His article in the Leaven and homilies by his priests in churches have told us that being anti-abortion trumps all other teachings of the church. Naumann abandons the church positions on capital punishment, care for the needy, and the rights of workers to organize and be treated with respect. Extreme right wing Catholic legislators like Anthony Brown are pure on abortion but they refuse to care for the needy, they do nothing about capital punishment and they routinely attack workers' rights and unions. I prefer to measure candidates by a longer Catholic yardstick. I urge Catholics with conscience to look at www.catholics-united.org or www.catholicsforchoice.org. There are more and more of us who don't buy in to the narrow vision of church leaders.And by the way, Gallup put out a poll of Hispanic Catholics today. 65% of them support Obama while 51% of Hispanic Protestants support Obama. (http://www.gallup.com/poll/111301/Hispanic-Voters-Divided-Religion.aspx)Looks like we Catholics are not nearly as monolithic and narrow-minded as we are portrayed.

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LeslieJeanne 5 years, 11 months ago

I am proud to be Catholic, and I love the Church, but listen to me closely, I make up my own mind because I live in America, not Rome.It is a very, very small percentage of priests who have committed outrages against children. The others are teaching the love and the gentleness of Christ, and yes, they are teaching to forgive and not to judge.

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