What Catholics can teach America about polarized politics (COMMENTARY)

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Congregants pray during Catholic mass at St. Therese Little Flower parish in Kansas City, Mo. on Sunday, May 20, 2012. Religion News Service photo by Sally Morrow

Congregants pray during Catholic mass at St. Therese Little Flower parish in Kansas City, Mo. on Sunday, May 20, 2012. Religion News Service photo by Sally Morrow

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WASHINGTON (RNS) Compared with secular ideologies and other churches’ political pronouncements, Catholic social teaching offers the most comprehensively and authentically “Christian” ethic.

  • James Carr

    The Catholic Church proves its primacy of Faith because it cannot succumb to secular laws or behaviors that contradict its Teachings on Morals and Faith. Why? Because it received its life from God, and it is merely the guardian of the Deposit of Faith, not the owner or author.
    Catholics can easily live in today’s self indulgent society, for they do not have to obey immoral laws, like abortion, and can eternally protest its immorality. There is an inkling of future danger to Catholics in particular, though. Will their teachings and public displays of their views qualify as unlawful discrimination? Gay marriage is the fad today, so what happens when the Catholic Schools teach the sinfulness of it, and the students verbalize it openly?

  • Greg

    Indeed, I believe the saying in the Church is, we live in this world, but are not of this world. A Catholic should always state that he/she is Catholic, not a Dem or Republican. And when it comes to voting, well the Church has worked out hierarchy of principles. The first being Life: if one politician is more Pro-Life than the other one, then that is the one to vote for, regardless of party. If they are both Pro-Life, then look at things like gay-marriage, and if both are opposed to gay marriage, then work your way down to the social justice teachings. In the end, you should choose the candidate that best reflects your beliefs as a Catholic. You, however, would find yourself in grave error if you voted for a rabidly Anti-Life Politician, just because he/she wanted to feed the poor. That one will not fly at your judgment. There’s a good voter’s guide out there called, Voters Guide for Serious Catholics.

  • Fran

    My loyalty is not to any of the political parties and their respective stands, but only to God’s kingdom or heavenly government (Daniel 2:44), since it will solve all of man’s and earth’s problems and man’s governments won’t and can’t (Revelation 21:1-4).

    The Bible, God’s Word, is the best guide we can go to for wisdom, principles and commands, as well as what to avoid, for a purposeful, happy, and satisfying life now and in the future.

  • Susan

    Well, there is a difference between the Catholic Church and the average Catholic. Most Catholics use birth control and don’t follow the church’s teachings on this topic.

  • Susan

    I just heard a report that America has the highest rates of maternal mortality rates and infant mortality rates of any developed country. Our rates are closet to some undeveloped countries in some areas of the country. What are children after their born. The GOP and many anti-abortion politicians have policies that are bad for poor mothers and children.

  • James Carr

    Catholics, too, have Free Will. If they willfully act against Church Teachings on faith and morals, they sin. They have no excuse acceptable, except in their own rationalization. Their choices are between themselves and God, but God is unchangeable and His Will is clearly known. Catholicism is a religion, not a culture.

  • James Carr

    And abortion laws help them? The Catholic Church is causing this maternal mortality rate? Perhaps people should look to a more disciplined control of their sexual appetites. Perhaps abstinence, natural birth control, and chastity should be taught as an integral part of our sex education.
    Abortion has no value to mankind. It is lazy, cheap, irresponsible behavior…..especially on the part of women. How can we vilify a woman who drowns her five children and not a woman who has had five abortions? I don’t see the difference.

  • Larry

    Of course. Fewer “at risk” birth and fewer births by people who lack the means of getting decent healthcare.

    Plus conservative nabobs attack funding to planned parenthood, which provides a great deal of health services to women besides family planning. Conservative nabobs have been known to oppose abortion at all levels. The whole “exception for rape and incest” nonsense is a lie. Many oppose even those reasonable measures.

    Added to the mix is the religious conservative opposition to more accessible healthcare and contraception.

    Where abortion is legal and access is unfettered, abortion rates decline. What Catholic minded politicians do in their opposition to abortion and public access to contraception, is make the problem worse. Typical of all “solutions” to a problem proffered by religious reactionaries.

  • Ken Wald

    It’s refreshing to read a report on this topic that is nuanced and fair-minded. I wish many commentators weren’t so obsessed with getting in the last word that they miss the forest for the trees. And I thank the ones who do direct their thoughtful comments to what the author of the piece actually wrote.

  • “Neither party offers a platform that stands in solidarity with unborn children, the poor and hungry, undocumented immigrant families, the environment, and people without access to medical care.”

    Nonsense!
    This is a very unfair characterization
    and a misunderstanding of secular politics.

    Republican and Democrats alike care very much about those problems – the problem is HOW to resolve them. Religion? Give me a freakin’ break!

    Republicans care about the poor but are persuaded (by some evidence) that only jobs will help them – they support policies which promote job creation in the private sector.

    Democrats care about the poor also but are persuaded they need education, food and healthcare. They have some evidence worth debating, too!

    Looking to the Catholic Church for a solution is like asking the Fox what to do with the chickens – it is a criminal organization, hides its crimes and lives a lie.

  • Susan

    Natural planning does not work for most people. You are putting all the responsibility on women. What about men?

    The GOP has cut lunches for poor children during the summer when they don’t get school lunches, for example. They don’t like Obamacare, but they don’t offer an alternative. They want to cut nearly every program that helps poor mothers and children.

    Larry is right. Where abortion and contraception are available to everyone abortion rates deline.

  • Fran

    Yes, Catholics can teach America about politics…since they have been involved in it for so long and refuse to separate themselves from it.

  • Fran

    On what Scriptural basis do Catholics condemn birth control? Just wondering, since this is such a personal decision by individual parents, whether or not to have children.

    Many families just cannot afford to have kids and raise them these days; yet one family has 19 (the Duggars on TV) and is still counting! :-O

  • James Carr

    Natural birth control is fully accepted by the Church. The intent of circumventing God’s creative gift artificially is the issue. As we see, also, it has spawned a sexual revolution of sex without responsibility.

  • James Carr

    The Jehovah Witness contribute nothing to the world by being uninvolved in politics. If your sect’s goal is peace and morality, who knows?You smirk as the world falls apart and do nothing, how is that holy?