I begin with reference to an anonymous comment to my last (August) blog.
“You should be shocked….Dems in general and Biden in particular are viciously supportive of abortion rights….The scandal is that the Bishops should be condemning any political candidate who supports abortion….Wake up and truly be a Catholic.”
The first point I want to make is that Biden is not ‘viciously supportive of abortion.’ He is Catholic and personally does not favor abortion. He is supportive of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Row v Wade because it became the law of the land in 1973 and as an upholder of our nation’s laws he must do so. What he does firmly support is a woman’s right to control her own body—and that is the central issue in this fight. This is an infinitely complex issue. On the one hand abortion is a moral issue; but it was made a legal issue when abortion was decriminalized by the Supreme Court in 1975. Only women get pregnant so it is a women’s issue. What may be needed are guidelines for its appropriate use. I am a woman and a Catholic. I believe abortion without just cause is morally wrong; but I also believe that as with all moral choices it is that individual’s right to decide.
The next point I want to address is the matter of the Catholic Church meddling in secular politics. These issues are complex and multi-faceted and the Church trains its subjects from childhood to accept its authority without question, and thus when proclaiming a condemnation of a political position that is complex with many nuances it unfairly distorts it for subjects who tend to accept that judgement as they were ‘trained’ to do. Life is not all just black and white. Jesus knew that. He did not order and condemn; he said “Go thy way and sin no more” and “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” He was not an authoritarian.
Limiting an issue to one black or white answer is both dangerous and destructive. When the Church saw the decline in the number of men entering the priesthood as the population was increasing, thereby needing more priests for its functioning, it allowed pedophile priests to be re-circulated rather than dismissed.
It is narrow minded and unjust to approach voting with only one issue in mind. Governance of a nation involves multiple issues. Currently we are faced with the Corona virus pandemic and a Climate crisis. Also, we are in need of a viable health plan, international cooperation to avoid war, a humane way to manage refugees, a sustainable way to manage our resources . . . to name just a few. There is a need to struggle long and hard over complex issues; there are no easy answers.
I return to the main reason for last month’s blog—the multiple mailings from ‘Catholic Vote’ which is focused mainly on the abortion issue. Control of that issue, abortion, is in the hands of the Supreme Court, not the Presidency. ‘Catholic Vote’ is not considered an official arm of the Catholic Church yet I know of no opposition from the Church to its widespread circulation. It is a sneaky underhanded way to exert influence on Catholics, by appearing to be ‘The Church’ telling Catholics to vote for Trump without giving consideration to all the reasons NOT to vote for Trump. First and foremost, he is a danger to democracy—he strives to be a dictator.
The most important qualities for the presidency are strength of character, integrity, honesty , willingness to accept responsibility and admit errors in judgement. It is a fact that Trump insults and libels his enemies (anyone who doesn’t agree with him), he cannot face criticism and responds with crudeness and insults, he is dishonest and takes no responsibility insisting he alone knows all the answers, he is without principles and moral character and an inveterate liar. He is unfit to lead a democracy.
Two recent deaths, John Lewis and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, are politicians for whom the whole nation mourned. They demonstrated the desirable qualities of a leader.