It's official. The Catholic Knight is retired.  I'm hanging up the helmet and passing the torch. There will be no more articles, no more commentaries, no more calls to action. THIS BLOG IS CLOSED. I've spent a very long time thinking about this, I believe the time has come, and is a bit overdue.  I want to thank my readers for everything, but most especially for your encouragement and your willingness to go out there and fight the good fight. So, that being the case, I've spend the last several weeks looking for bloggers who are fairly active, and best represent something akin to the way I think and what I believe.  I recommend the following blogs for my readers to bookmark and check on regularly. Pick one as your favourite, or pick them all. They are all great..... In His Majesty's Service, THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Palin Has More Experience Than Obama

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: In what has become the most laughable argument used by Obama supporters against Governor Sarah Palin, the issue of her "experience" as a leader has been pushed to the forefront. The argument is simply this. Sarah Palin is not "experienced" enough to be the vice presidential nominee because she's only been governor of a state (with a small population) for two years.

Now before we compare and contrast the differences between Palin and Obama, let's examine the merits of the argument. Admittedly, on the surface, the argument does have value. We could say that Palin is indeed an inexperienced leader in comparison to someone who has served as governor of a state for a much longer period of time - such as Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee for example. Indeed, compared to Washington political veterans like Senator John McCain, and even Senator Joe Biden, Governor Palin is very green and inexperienced. So if this election were about experience alone, then we could say those who criticize Palin on this have a point to be reckoned with. However, it's ironic (and considerably humorous) that those who make such criticisms do so in defense of Senator Barack Hussein Obama, who happens to be just as green and inexperienced. Obama entered high-level (national) politics just three and a half years ago, and most of the time he's spent in the U.S. Senate since then has been campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination. That's hardly a "long and distinguished" career. 

Sarah Palin was sworn in as the Governor of Alaska on December 4th, 2006.  That means she's been functioning as governor for about 21 months.  Unlike Obama, she's had no other campaigns running until last Friday, so she's been able to dedicate that time exclusively to the job of running the state.  

Obama was sworn in as the U.S. Senator from Illinois in January of 2004, which means he's held that office for approximately 55 months as of today.  However, he began his presidential campaign in February of 2007, just 36 months after he took office.  It is at that point, after just 36 months in the U.S. Senate, that Obama (and his supporters) believed he was qualified to hold the office of President of the United States.  All so-called "experience" after this time frame was split between his Senate commitments and his presidential campaign.  So what we're comparing here is Palin's 21 months of undivided "experience" to Obama's 36 months of undivided "experience."  It seems to me, and I would dare say to most voters, that if 36 months in the U.S. Senate is all the "experience" required to run for President of the United States, than certainly 21 months as a state governor is enough "experience" to run for Vice President of the United States.  I mean, fair is fair, right?  If Obama is qualified to be President at 36 months "experience," then certainly Palin is qualified to be Vice President at 21 months experience.

But that's not the only kind of experience we're talking about.  Barack Obama also served in the Illinois State Senate from 1997 to 2004.  That's a good eight years of "experience" in smaller state government.  So in all, Obama had exactly ten years of total political "experience" in elected office before he (and his supporters) decided he was "experienced" enough to run for President of the United States in February of 2007.

Sarah Palin, on the other hand, began her political career as an elected official in 1992, a good five years before Obama ever held an elected office.  She served as a member of the Wasilla City Council until 1996.  She then went on to serve as mayor of the city from 1996 to 2002 - for a total of 10 years of political "experience." After that, Governor Murkowski appointed Palin to the office of Ethics Commissioner of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, where she served from 2003 to 2004. That year in appointed office would be critical to her political career, as she resigned in protest over state internal corruption. After she resigned, Palin exposed the state Republican Party's chairman, who was accused of doing work for the party on public time and supplying a lobbyist with sensitive information. Palin filed formal complaints against both the chairman and the Alaska Attorney General, who both resigned in disgrace. In 2006 she launched her campaign to become governor of the state and in December of that year, she was sworn in. So in total, Sarah Palin has had at least ten years and twenty months "experience," as an elected official, before she was nominated to the office of Vice President of the United States. This does not include the one year she served as an appointed state officer, nor the time she spent rooting out corruption in the Alaska state government.

So to compare, Obama (and his supporters) believed he was "experienced" enough to become President of the United States after just ten years of holding an elected office of some type. While Palin (and her supporters) believe she is "experienced" enough to become Vice President of the United States after exactly ten years and twenty months of holding some kind of elected office, and one year of appointed office. Now isn't that interesting? Both Obama and Palin had almost the exact same amount of "experience" time in elected office, before they (and their supporters) believed they were ready for the Whitehouse. The only difference being that Palin has almost one more year "experience" in elected office than Obama, and one more year in a high appointed office, which Obama did not hold.  So when it comes to actual time of "experience" in official government capacity, Palin beats Obama by almost two years.  So the question remains, why do Obama supporters downgrade her experience over his?  How is twelve years of political experience somehow less than ten years?  Is it because she's a woman?  Does her being a wife and mother somehow diminish her longer time of "experience" in elected public office?

But supporters of Obama will often cite the type of "experience" when confronted with the fact that Palin has actually served more time. They'll point out that Obama was a State Senator, and a U.S. Senator, which are much higher offices than City Council and Mayor. To which I will concede that these are much higher offices in the sense that they are a function of higher government. But if we're going to talk about "type" of experience, then we cannot exclude the "type" of jobs Obama and Palin were doing during those times. For the entire duration of Obama's political career, he served as a legislator. He did not govern anything. There is a difference. A legislator writes laws, and lobbies to get them passed. Aside from public appearances and campaigning, that's about all a legislator does. He doesn't have to sign budgets, and he doesn't even have to submit them. He doesn't have to enforce laws. He has no responsibility over police forces or state guards. If there is a disaster, he has no responsibility to act. When there is an emergency, nobody looks to him for guidance. (When was the last time somebody turned to a senator for leadership during a natural disaster?  That doesn't happen.  People look to mayors, governors and presidents during those times.)  In effect, a legislator is not a leader. He's a representative of the people, assigned to a specific task within a much larger body of legislators. Palin also served as a legislator on a city council, but then she went on to serve as a mayor.  This is where her job changed from representative to leader. Now she was in charge of things. As mayor, the police force answered to her. She had to submit balanced budgets to the Council, and then sign them once they were approved. She had to plan for city management during emergencies, oversee the fire department, and plan for city development. Then as governor, she did the same thing, but on a much larger scale. Instead of a police force, she commanded a state guard. Instead of one fire department, she commanded them all, in addition to all emergency response teams, in the event of a statewide emergency. She was responsible for submitting balanced state budgets to the state congress, and signing them once they were approved. Then she had to enforce every single detail within them, and make sure that those who did not obey the laws of the state, were properly prosecuted by the state attorney general. In her hands were placed the power of life and death, as governor, she alone had the authority to pardon and grant clemency.  This is just a fraction of the duties Sarah Palin had responsibility for as governor of the state of Alaska.

In contrast, Barack Obama has never experienced any of this. He's never held an executive office, and he has ZERO executive experience. Yet, this man (and his supporters) believe he is qualified to be President of the United States after just ten years of "experience" in elected office as a mere LEGISLATOR!

Now granted, I suppose we could chalk that legislative experience up for something IF Barack Obama had been a legislator for a very long time. We could say this of John McCain and Joe Biden. But Obama hasn't been a legislator for nearly as long, and since the responsibilities of a legislator as significantly less than that of an executive officer, we could say Barack Obama really has very little "experience" at all. Especially when we compare him to Sarah Palin, who has served in elected office a little longer than him, and those duties included significant EXECUTIVE roles.

Now we could rightly say that no matter who wins the general election in November, both Sarah Palin and Barack Obama will require significant on-the-job training. The difference is that if McCain wins in November, Palin will be getting that training in McCain's shadow, and it will be in an area of government (executive branch) in which she is already very familiar.  McCain will be the Commander in Chief, and Palin will be his understudy. If however, Obama wins in November, it will be Obama who will be getting the on-the-job training, while he IS the Commander in Chief at the same time. So the real "experience" question of this election is this. Do we want our on-the-job trainee to be at the top of the presidential ticket, or the bottom of it? Is it better to have a boss that is learning how to do a job, or an understudy? Shall we have a president (like Obama) who is learning all executive duties from scratch, or shall we have a vice president (like Palin) who is simply upgrading duties she already knows?  Shall we have a Vice President with SOME executive experience, or a President with NO executive experience? Which is better? In this time of grave national security, what would be the best decision?

(UPDATE: 9/2/2008): Obama responds to The Catholic Knight...
circular logic: says he has "more executive experience" than Palin, because he's running a political campaign for an executive office.  ;o)  read it here 

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin Will Net The Catholic Vote

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT:  Not only will she reel in the Catholic vote, but the Evangelical vote, and the pro-life vote in general. McCain's choice of Governor Sarah Palin for the vice presidential slot was brilliant, but perhaps not for the reasons he might have expected. Going into this decision, McCain had a major problem. While making a strong pro-life commitment at the Saddleback Civil Forum, and appearing to back away from embryonic stem-cell research there, he still had not energized the social conservative vote. Among those social conservatives who did indicate they would vote for him, it wasn't necessarily because they were supporting John McCain, but rather because they were voting against Barack Obama. Obama's nomination of Senator Joe Biden to the vice presidential slot, a brazen "Cafeteria Catholic" who opposes the Church's teachings on human life, only served to solidify the pro-life, anti-Obama sentiment. McCain's problem however was that voting against somebody isn't usually good enough to win an election, and if John McCain wants to win, he MUST have the conservative Evangelical and practicing Catholic vote. In order to do that, he's got to have a solid pro-life running mate - somebody who has a stronger record on life then he does.

Thus enters Governor Sarah Palin. Sure, she had a pro-life voting record, and has sported all the pro-life rhetoric, including the conservative Evangelical credentials. But there is something about Sarah Palin that makes her more pro-life than any person who ever ran for the Whitehouse. Sarah Palin not only talks the talk, but she has walked the walk. When confronted with the diagnosis that her preborn baby carried and extra chromosome, and would certainly be born with Down Syndrome, Sarah Palin chose to give birth to her baby boy Trig. She stood for life both politically and personally, and that was something no Whitehouse contender has ever done in that way.

John McCain, himself a pro-life Southern Baptist, may have considered this, but my guess is it wasn't a major factor in his decision making process. There are those who believe he was simply trying to reach out to Hillary voters, and they may have a point. Personally, I think that is only a minor reason, which I'm sure he'll exploit to it's fullest potential. The reason why I think John McCain likes Sarah Palin is because she too is a maverick. She's got no problem going against her own party establishment to do what she thinks is right, and that is just the kind of person McCain wants at his side during his presidency, when he plans to stick it to the Republicans just as much as the Democrats. The theme song of John McCain's political career could easily be "I Did It My Way," and for that matter, it seems that Palin is following right in his footsteps, for better or worse.

Back to the Hillary vote factor. I think McCain considered this as a minor issue, behind the maverick reputation of Sarah Palin, but one he's surly not going to let slip by without exploiting to it's fullest potential. In the Senate, McCain and Hillary Clinton have a warm relationship, though they disagree on more than a few matters. Last year, he promised Hillary the most fair and polite contest in recent political memory, should the two of them get the nominations from their respective parties. Bill Clinton reiterated that sentiment in an interview around the same time. It is the opinion of this blogger that the two of them (Hillary and McCain) entered into a "Survivor" style alliance during the early primary season of 2007. That being if one of them didn't get the nomination, the other would do whatever he/she could quietly, behind the scenes, to get the other elected. Then once the other got elected, the one who lost the nomination would find himself/herself in political favor with the Whitehouse for the next administration. This would have worked for McCain because it would be his last slap at the GOP for not giving him the nomination, which I believe he felt he was entitled to. It also would have worked well for Hillary, because if McCain gets elected, it would insure her a chance to run again in 2012. She can't do that if a Democrat (Obama) is already in the Whitehouse. Mark my words, if John McCain is elected, Hillary Clinton will play some kind of important role in his administration, even if it's just as a Senate liaison. McCain will use her resources to get things done in the Congress, and Hillary will use her pull with McCain to get what she wants out of the Whitehouse. But the nomination of Palin was something that I don't even think Hillary saw coming. It is nothing less than John McCain's thumb in the eye of Barack Obama and the entire Democratic Party establishment. In effect he's saying; "if you won't give a woman a place on the ticket, then I will!" This must be a bitter-sweet moment for Hillary. Bitter because the history-making role of a female nomination is being given to somebody else, but sweet because this makes it all the more easy to torpedo the Obama campaign at an opportune time. Is McCain hoping this will reach across the isle to disaffected Hillary voters? Sure! But who cares! This is politics, and that's the way the game is played. Will it work? I doubt it. In my experience, Hillary Clinton attracts Liberals, and Liberals are Liberals before they are anything else. A Liberal Catholic is a Liberal before he's a Catholic - that's where the term "Cafeteria Catholic" comes from. Liberal blacks are Liberals before they are black, and that is evident in the way they regularly assail Justice Clarence Thomas. And Liberal women are Liberals before they are women, so I don't expect the conservative Sarah Palin to steel many Hillary voters. I do however expect her to get a few Hillary votes just out of spite, simply because so many Hillary supporters are still hacked off about how things went down in the Democratic primaries this year. But I don't expect to see a mass exodus of Hillary Democrats to the McCain/Palin ticket.

Where Palin helps McCain is in the area he needed the most, that being the social conservative vote, particularly among conservative Evangelicals and practicing Catholics. Already practicing Catholics (meaning those who take the teachings of the Church seriously) are fuming mad over Obama's pick of "Cafeteria Catholic" Joe Biden, compounded by the heretical statements made by Nancy Pelosi last Sunday, which earned her the rebuke of every major Catholic bishop in the United States. This practicing Catholic demographic will surely pick a pro-life Evangelical over a pro-abortion "Cafeteria Catholic" in this election, just as they did in Ohio during the 2004 election. But one more thing has happened, that John McCain desperately needed, which I'm not even sure he expected. He's excited the conservative Evangelical vote, and that is the demographic that got George W. Bush elected in 2000, and reelected in 2004. Republican candidates cannot survive without this demographic, and up until today, John McCain had no certainty they would even show up to the polls in November. With the selection of Sarah Palin, that dynamic just changed. It's a whole new election now...
Palin a ‘Natural Choice for Catholics’
Fidelis Urges Catholic Support for Pro-Life, Pro-Marriage Ticket
August 29, 2008
CHICAGO – John McCain’s decision to pick a pro-family and pro-life running mate will make the McCain-Palin ticket a ‘natural’ for Catholic voters, said Brian Burch, President of Fidelis Political Action.

“A presidential candidate’s first major executive decision is selecting a running mate and John McCain’s unexpected choice of Sarah Palin inspires real confidence that a McCain Administration will be a strong ally in the pro-life and pro-family cause,” said Burch. “Governor Palin is the most pro-life vice presidential candidate ever to run. We are thrilled with this choice.”

“John McCain and Sarah Palin have matched their public defense of life with their own personal commitment to life,” said Burch....

read full story here

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Pro-Lifers Applaud Palin Pick

By: Jim Meyers

The influential pro-life Susan B. Anthony List is applauding John McCain’s selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.

“Sarah Palin is the whole package. There couldn’t be a better vice presidential pick,” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser.

“Women voters are electrified, and Sarah is someone who is truly in sync with the way real American women think. She is a reform-minded woman who will give all Americans, born and unborn, the authentic leadership they deserve.”

“The majority of American women support commonsense restrictions on abortion. Adding Palin to the GOP ticket will resonate with independent women voters nationwide. By choosing the boldly pro-life Sarah Palin as his running mate, John McCain has taken his stand as the one true, authentic pro-life ticket....

read full story here

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Dobson: "I would pull that lever" for John McCain - Sarah Palin

by Dennis Prager

Earlier this year Dr. Jim Dobson, President of Focus on the Family made news when he announced on “The Dennis Prager Show” that he “cannot and will not vote for Senator John McCain.” Today, on The Dennis Prager Show, the conservative leader changed course and announced his enthusiastic support on the heels of the announcement by Senator McCain of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate.

Dennis Prager: I have a guest here who’s extremely significant in American life, whether you call it American political, certainly American religious life, one of the best known Christians in America— Dr. James Dobson who is president and founder of Focus on the Family…. The last time you were on was a very serious conversation about your feeling at the time that you just couldn’t vote for John McCain, and where do you stand now?

Dr. James Dobson: Well, Dennis, I shared with a colleague just a few minutes ago exactly what you said about the period of time when Ronald Reagan had broken onto the scene and I was in Washington D.C. the day he was inaugurated. That was one of the most exciting days of my life, because everything that we had hoped for and been working for had come to pass. I feel very much that way today. Maybe that’s an overstatement. Maybe time won’t validate it, but this is a very exciting and encouraging day for conservatives and pro-family activists. I am just very, very pleased....

read full story here

McCain's VP Pick - Who Is Sarah Palin?

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: When I first heard her name I was a bit skeptical. My first reaction was to say "who is that?" Then I read a bit about her and thought "hey, she sounds pretty good." Then I saw a picture of her: "WOW!" She's pro-life, pro-family, conservative, powerful and gorgeous! I've got to hand it to John McCain. In spite of whatever problems I may have with the man, he knows how to surround himself with beautiful women, and I certainly can't fault him for that. I don't know how the old codger does it, but more power to him!

Sarah Palin is the governor of Alaska. She was elected in 2006 as the 11th governor of that state. Currently, she enjoys an 80% approval rating. That makes her the most popular governor in America! The people love her, but the political establishment hates her. Why? Because she's made her crusade against government corruption a hallmark of her administration. Though herself a Republican, she has even gone after corruption in her own party.  

She is a fiscal conservative who has line-item vetoed over 13% of the state's capital budget. She is militantly pro-life and opposes gay-marriage outright. She is also a gun owner and a card-carrying member of the NRA. She was born and baptized Catholic, but raised as a Pentecostal (Assemblies of God).  She now  attends a nondenominational and independent Evangelical Church (learn more here).  She is married, the mother of five children, and soon to be a grandmother.  Her youngest son has Down Syndrome, and her husband, Todd, was a union worker on Alaska's North Slope before becoming a full-time stay-at-home dad. 

On the pope's three-point rule for Catholic voting (see details here), Palin appears to rank well, and would be a perfectly acceptable choice for vice president based on the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church. Unlike Obama's vice presidential choice (Senator Joe Biden), there are no disqualifying factors. Though Biden claims to be a "Catholic," he actually opposes the Church on every major social doctrine the pope views as most important - namely abortion, gay-marriage and school choice. McCain's pick of Palin eliminates this problem, and though she was never raised Catholic, her political views are in perfect harmony with the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church on at least the major issues of most importance.

Governor Palin is chair of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, an interstate organization that promotes efficient recovery of domestic oil and natural gas while protecting the environment. For that, the media hates her. But any enemy of the anti-Catholic leftist media establishment is a friend of mine, and a friend of practicing Catholics in general. The media ruthlessly attacked her in the 2006 general election, but she still won by a fair margin - eight percentage points! If McCain wins this election, she may potentially be a "Hillary" spoiler in 2012 and/or 2016 by becoming the first female president of the United States, and folks, this is one woman I would definitely vote for.

Her conservative Christian record makes for a sure attack by the Christophobic leftist media, and they will most certainly try to dig up any scrap of dirt they can on her. But in doing so they'll only energize practicing Catholics and Evangelicals, all the while showing themselves to be anti-feminist hypocrites, who oppose the success of a woman whenever she doesn't agree with their leftist political agenda. She is sure to make McCain look quite moderate and "open minded," and that can only help McCain in the general election as most American voters seem to be leaning in that direction. She'll appease the conservative voters, and the values voters as well. She may even help McCain pick up some disaffected Hillary voters.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Obama: Is He America's Messiah or Just Another Caesar?

Graphic courtesy of Newsmax.com

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Obama's promise to America - BIGGER government, higher taxes, more federal control, less freedom, more dependency. From the holy "temple" on Mount Olympus, (..er.. I mean a stadium in Denver Colorado), Barack Hussein Obama, "The Chosen One," set forth his messianic plan to save America from herself. His ideas were nothing new. We've heard them all before. Simply vote for him, and he'll give us everything we'll ever need. We can have free healthcare for all, and a good job for everyone. We'll save the environment, and punish the "evil" rich. Then nobody will ever go in want again. Elect Obama, and he'll bring an end to wars, restore respect among the nations, and bring peace to every American home. All of this comes at the modest price of your freedom and prosperity. Obama will decide who is poor enough to keep their money. Obama will decide who is "too rich" in his estimation. The Lord may give, but Obama will taketh away, and "redistribute" according to how he sees fit. For Catholics this is a familiar song. We've all heard it before. Whether it be the communists of eastern Asia or the socialists of western Europe, it's a familiar tune with a common note. When representatives of the State ask us to put the trust into them, that rightfully belongs to God alone, they are asking us to make an idol of the government. Government takes the place of Church, and government officials take the role of gods. They become the masters of our universe, and sadly, it is we who are gullible enough to let them do it. The Catholic Church warns us of the dangers of false messianism in the form of the collectivist state...
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church...

1883 Socialization also presents dangers. Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative. The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which "a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co- ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good." 

1884 God has not willed to reserve to himself all exercise of power. He entrusts to every creature the functions it is capable of performing, according to the capacities of its own nature. This mode of governance ought to be followed in social life. The way God acts in governing the world, which bears witness to such great regard for human freedom, should inspire the wisdom of those who govern human communities. They should behave as ministers of divine providence.

1885 The principle of subsidiarity is opposed to all forms of collectivism. It sets limits for state intervention. It aims at harmonizing the relationships between individuals and societies. It tends toward the establishment of true international order.

NBC Admits To Supporting Gay Agenda

(LifeSiteNews.com) - The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) just held its annual convention here in Washington D.C., attracting hundreds of journalists - and ringing endorsements - from virtually every major publication and broadcaster in the news media.

In a full-page ad in the convention program, NBC Universal declared it is "proud to support NLGJA," under the bold headline: "YOUR VICTORIES ARE OUR VICTORIES....

read full story here
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: It is yet more confirmation of what we always suspected. The mainstream media is fully behind the advancement of the gay-agenda which includes gay-marriage, gay-adoptions, and pro-gay indoctrination of public school children. At least it's nice to know who your enemies really are.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Biden Joins Pelosi On Heresy Row



From left to right...
Bishop Michael A. Saltarelli
Senator Joseph Biden
Bishop W. Francis Malooly

Archbishop George Niederauer
Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Archbishop Donald Weurl

"My views are totally consistent with Catholic social doctrine," says Biden, a six-term Democratic senator from Delaware. "There are elements within the church who say that if you are at odds with any of the teachings of the church, you are at odds with the church. I think the church is bigger than that...

read full story here
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: One would think that after the Pelosi heresy flap, Biden would be keeping a low profile. But then, that wouldn't be consistent with Joe Biden's personality. Barack Obama's vice presidential nominee, a supposed "Catholic," charged right into the whole heresy row over whether it is permissible for Catholic politicians to go against Church teaching and adopt a "pro-choice" (pro-abortion) political posture.

House Speaker Nanci Pelosi, also a so-called "Catholic," recently made a complete fool of herself on national television last Sunday, by actually committing what the Church defines as heresy. She asserted that a "pro-choice" political viewpoint was totally consistent with Church teaching (read more on that here).   She then went on to say that one can be a "good Catholic" and a "practicing Catholic" while holding to the view that abortion is morally permissible because the Catholic Church really does not profess to know when life begins. This immediately prompted a flurry of official responses from bishops, archbishops and cardinals around the nation, reiterating the Church's teaching that all human life is sacred, discrediting Speaker Pelosi's argument, and lamenting that such a high ranking official in the U.S. government would be so ignorant about her own religion.

Now Senator Joe Biden joins the mix. A long time advocate of "abortion rights," the vice presidential nominee has now come out wearing his Catholic religion on his sleeve. Eager to point out that he's a "practicing Catholic" who carries a rosary in his pocket, and looks forward to mass every week, he concluded his religious bluster with the assertion that his political views (apparently including those on abortion) are "totally consistent" with the social teachings of the Church.  That sounds a lot like the position held by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Hopefully Biden's comments will not go unnoticed by the bishops of the U.S. Catholic Church, many of whom reacted strongly to Pelosi's heretical assertion. They should be applauded for that. Unfortunately, as laudable as their rebuke of Pelosi was, it all goes to underscore the notion that talk is cheap, and actions speak louder than words. Both Pelosi and Biden are a product. They were created, partly by their own political choices, and partly by the atmosphere of "tolerance" that has far too long existed within many diocese of the U.S. Catholic Church. Virtually all bishops, throughout America, echo the Vatican in it's defense of the unborn. One would be hard pressed to find a single American bishop who does not assert the sanctity of all human life from the womb to the tomb. But by the same measure, one would have to look far and wide, just to find a handful of bishops willing to back this teaching with concrete disciplinary action toward Catholics who publicly oppose the Church on this matter. 

The former Archbishop of St. Louis, Raymond Burke, stands out as a shining leader in this arena. He denied communion to "pro-choice" Catholic politicians in his archdiocese, forbade them from speaking at Catholic gatherings, and did not hesitate to exercise his episcopal authority over all matters of rebellion within the Church. For this, the pope rewarded him with the office of Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura - effectively the "chief justice" of the "Vatican Supreme Court."  In an recent interview he divulged his official opinion that "pro-abortion" Catholic politicians should be denied communion, and that it is indeed the responsibility of the one administering communion to withhold it when such politicians present themselves at the communion rail. How this will actually translate into official Church policy remains to be seen, but one thing is certain. The U.S. Catholic bishops, for the most part, have been completely derelict in this duty. 

In refusing to exercise their episcopal authority on this matter, in accord with Canon Law 915, the bishops have effectively created an atmosphere of "tolerance" toward dissenting Catholic politicians - one which was ripe for the production of "pro-choice" heretics like Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden. Here we have Catholic men and women, who may honestly believe that their dissent against the Church, on the issue of human life, is morally permissible simply because, in their personal experience, the Church does not back what it teaches on the matter with concrete disciplinary action. The simple fact of the matter is this. In most diocese throughout the United States, a Catholic may be excommunicated from the Church for many reasons, but publicly advocating the legalized murder of helpless unborn babies is not one of them. Is it no surprise then that some politicians, steeped in the political rhetoric of a highly polarized culture war, might start to believe their own lies - especially when their own bishops do virtually nothing (of any real consequence) to stop them?

Once again, the focus falls back to the bishops of the U.S. Catholic Church. What will they do now? They can publicly rebuke the likes of Pelosi and Biden, as well they should, but after all is said and done, the bishops have to recognize they are more than partially to blame for this. A good majority of them are principally responsible in creating the environment necessary for such Catholic politicians to rise to power. Now that they've "tolerated" this mess for so long, should they be the least bit surprised when these very same politicians turn around and try to tell the public what the Catholic Church "really teaches" about abortion? Come on! We all know the Vatican comes down tough on abortion, and the U.S. Catholic bishops have to echo that in their own statements. But when it really comes down to it, the average pro-abortion Catholic politician is met at the communion rail with the proverbial "wink and nod" just before receiving the sacrament. With that, what kind of message are our bishops really sending?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Archbishop Says Democrats No Longer Know Christianity

(WorldNetDaily) - Denver Catholic Archbishop Charles Chaput says Democrats simply don't know Christianity if they insist on continuing to spin the Bible's teachings on abortion.

"It's always important to know what our faith actually teaches," he said in a "clarification" for Catholics in northern Colorado as Democratic National Committee members met in Denver this week to hear a speaker from the National Abortion Rights Action League promote Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, as the next "pro-choice" president....

read full story here
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: What can I say? He's right. If the leaders of the Democratic Party insist on twisting the Scriptures, ignoring the 2000-year history of the Catholic Church on this issue, and continue to imply that a "pro-choice" position on abortion is somehow compatible with Christianity - even Catholicism! (read more here) - then we can only conclude that they do not know Christianity at all.

HUGE Obama Scandal About to Erupt

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Here is the political ad Barack Obama doesn't want you to see, and he's willing to spend a lot of money on lawyers to keep it from you. FOXNEWS is now covering the story.  All of the allegations made in the ad are true. The questions raised in the ad are provocative. But Obama wants to make sure you never get an opportunity to decide for yourself. Therefore, 'The Catholic Knight' brings this ad to you now, free of charge, so Obama can't take away your right to know and discern for yourself...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Joe Biden Brings Scandal To U.S. Catholic Church



From left to right...
Bishop Michael A. Saltarelli
Senator Joseph Biden
Bishop W. Francis Malooly


THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: These three men embody just about everything that is wrong in the U.S. Catholic Church today. Here you have Senator Joseph Biden, the quintessential "Cafeteria Catholic" politician, who publicly opposes the Church's plain moral teachings on human life and the responsibilities of Catholic citizens toward it. Biden has recently been nominated by Senator Barack Obama to the office of Vice President of the United States. To the left we have his former bishop, Michael A. Saltarelli, who has allowed him to continue to receive communion in his diocese as if nothing is wrong. To the right we have his new bishop, W. Francis Malooly, who reportedly has no plans to make any changes in this practice.

While the Vatican is clear, the message of many U.S. Catholic bishops is morally vague. On the one hand, they speak of the grave sin involving abortion and those who support it, but on the other hand they do absolutely nothing to discipline those who obstinately support legalized abortion in a public way that brings scandal to the U.S. Catholic Church. It's a mixed signal. It's almost as if many bishops in the U.S. Catholic Church are giving the Vatican lip service, while giving Cafeteria Catholics a wink and a nod as they approach the communion rail. The problem we have with many U.S. bishops is their failure to act as shepherds. They have no problem as administrators. Many of them are even good pastors. But when you ask them to exercise their episcopal role as shepherds - to protect the flock from wolves in sheep's clothing - most U.S. bishops quietly excuse themselves.

Why do you suppose that is? Perhaps it may be a fear of controversy. Former Archbishop of St. Louis, His Excellency Raymond Burke, was viciously assailed by the secular media for publicly denying communion to pro-abortion politicians. In this country, the price of being a good shepherd is high, and bishops will suffer greatly for doing the right thing. Fortunately the Vatican sees the value in such a leader, and has recently promoted Archbishop Burke to the head of the Apostolic Signatura, which is equivalent to the role of "Chief Justice" in the "Vatican Supreme Court."

Maybe the reason why most U.S. bishops won't deny communion is an over inflated concern about their own moral failings, and wanting to avoid any hint of hypocrisy.

Or sadly, maybe it's just about money. Many high profile "Cafeteria Catholics" contribute generously to the collection plate. Perhaps some bishops just fear the financial repercussions of doing the right thing.

Whatever their reason is, and we may never know, one thing remains true. Most U.S. Catholic bishops are completely derelict in their episcopal duties on this matter. Because of this, the U.S. Catholic Church does not perfectly mirror the teachings of the Vatican, and as a result, the majority of U.S. Catholics will be left with a mixed message regarding abortion and their civic responsibility.

Senator Joe Biden ought to be ashamed of himself for the mockery he has made of his Roman Catholic faith by supporting "abortion rights" in the face of everything the Church teaches about the sanctity of human life, but two men should be even more ashamed. The first is Bishop Michael A. Saltarelli for letting this go on in his diocese with virtually no intervention on his part to stop it. Shame on him! What would the pope say? The second is Bishop W. Francis Malooly who has a grand opportunity to demonstrate his episcopal faculties as a true shepherd in the U.S. Catholic Church by reversing Bishop Salterelli's policy on communion for pro-abortion politicians.

'The Catholic Knight' calls upon Bishop Malooly to stand up and act according to Canon Law 915 with the plain and clear social teachings of the Church on the sanctity of human life and the grave sin of abortion. The days of "pastoral guidance" without episcopal intervention are over. The U.S. Catholic Church is in a moral crisis, and lack of action can no longer be excused. It's time for Biden's bishop to do the right thing, and deny Biden communion, along with any other "pro-choice" Catholic politician in his diocese. Let us pray that God gives him the courage to do the right thing.

Obama INSULTS Catholic Voters

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: The message from the Barack Obama campaign today is as follows. "THE ONLY GOOD CATHOLIC IS A BAD CATHOLIC!" In other words, if you're a Catholic, and you defy the Church's moral teachings, you will be rewarded with a nomination to the second highest office in the land. If however, you are Catholic and you adhere to the Church's moral teachings, you really have no place in the Barack Obama for President campaign.

Obama's nomination of Senator Joe Biden comes after criticism from the Catholic League about his supposed "outreach to Catholics" committee which consisted entirely of "pro-choice" (i.e. "pro-abortion") Catholics, who defied the Church's moral teachings. After much pressure, Obama suspended this committee, only to respond with this. Senator Joe Biden is a "Cafeteria Catholic" whom the Vatican has barred from receiving communion due to his pro-abortion voting record.

Clearly the Obama campaign thinks it's trying to reach out for Catholic votes, and they believe that a vice presidential nominee who claims to be "Catholic" will deliver such votes. But in making this strategic move, Obama has sent another clear and undeniable message. "The only GOOD Catholic is a BAD Catholic." Because if you're a Catholic who actually believes and practices what the Church teaches, you'll have no place in the Obama campaign for president of the United States. Obama's nomination of Senator Joe Biden is nothing short of a slap in the face to Catholics who actually believe and practice what the Church teaches.

Top Catholic Democrat Commits Heresy On National Television

(LifeSiteNews.com) - In an appearance on the NBC program Meet the Press on Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a self-professed Catholic, denied that the Catholic Church condemns abortion....

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THE ARCHDIOCESE OF DENVER RESPONDS...
(Archdiocese of Denver) - The Bishops of the Archdiocese of Denver, Colorado, site of the Democratic convention, issued a letter directed to the faithful of the Archdiocese of Denver entitled "Separation of Sense and State: A Clarification for the People of the Church in Northern Colorado.We set forth this fine letter for the readers of Catholic Online in its entirety:
To Catholics of the Archdiocese of Denver:

Catholic public leaders inconvenienced by the abortion debate tend to take a hard line in talking about the "separation of Church and state." But their idea of separation often seems to work one way.

In fact, some officials also seem comfortable in the role of theologian. And that warrants some interest,not as a "political" issue, but as a matter of accuracy and justice.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is a gifted public servant of strong convictions and many professional skills. Regrettably, knowledge of Catholic history and teaching does not seem to be one of them....

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CARDINAL EGAN, OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW YORK, RESPONDS...
Statement on Remarks by Speaker Pelosi
August 26, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 26, 2008

STATEMENT OF HIS EMINENCE, EDWARD CARDINAL EGAN CONCERNING REMARKS MADE BY THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Like many other citizens of this nation, I was shocked to learn that the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States of America would make the kind of statements that were made to Mr. Tom Brokaw of NBC-TV on Sunday, August 24, 2008. What the Speaker had to say about theologians and their positions regarding abortion was not only misinformed; it was also, and especially, utterly incredible in this day and age.

We are blessed in the 21st century with crystal-clear photographs and action films of the living realities within their pregnant mothers. No one with the slightest measure of integrity or honor could fail to know what these marvelous beings manifestly, clearly, and obviously are, as they smile and wave into the world outside the womb. In simplest terms, they are human beings with an inalienable right to live, a right that the Speaker of the House of Representatives is bound to defend at all costs for the most basic of ethical reasons. They are not parts of their mothers, and what they are depends not at all upon the opinions of theologians of any faith. Anyone who dares to defend that they may be legitimately killed because another human being “chooses” to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name.

Edward Cardinal Egan
Archbishop of New York
August 26, 2008

source
RESPONSE FROM ARCHBISHOP DONALD WUERL OF WASHINGTON D.C....
On Meet the Press this past Sunday, August 23, 2008, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made statements regarding the teaching of the Catholic Church, human life and abortion that were incorrect.

Speaker Pelosi responded to a question on when life begins by mentioning she was Catholic. She went on to say, “And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition.” After Mr. Tom Brokaw, the interviewer, pointed out that the Catholic Church feels strongly that life begins at conception, she replied, “I understand. And this is like maybe 50 years or something like that. So again, over the history of the Church, this is an issue of controversy.”

We respect the right of elected officials such as Speaker Pelosi to address matters of public policy that are before them, but the interpretation of Catholic faith has rightfully been entrusted to the Catholic bishops. Given this responsibility to teach, it is important to make this correction for the record.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is clear: The current teaching of the Catholic Church on human life and abortion is the same teaching as it was 2,000 years ago. The Catechism reads: “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. … Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.” (Catechism, 2270-2271)

The Catechism goes on to quote the Didache, a treatise that dates to the first century: “You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.”

From the beginning, the Catholic Church has respected the dignity of all human life from the moment of conception to natural death.

source
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: It only gets worse. Thomas Peters, of the 'American Papist' blog, claims he has acquired a leaked memo from the Pelosi office in which she appears to be attempting to defend herself, by of course, digging her hole deeper. It's really something, and you can read it HERE.

It looks like the highest ranking government officer of the Democratic Party is trying to start a whole new "Catholic" religion - one in which basic Church morality is a fluid thing, which can change and vary from person to person. It's called "moral relativism," and it's been condemned by Pope Benedict XVI as one of the greatest evils of our time. Pelosi is not alone in this. Many so-called "Catholic" politicians in the U.S. government agree with her, if not in word, than certainly in action. Among them are former Senator Ted Kennedy, Senator John Kerry and Senator Joe Biden to name a few. By rising to the forefront of the American politic, preaching their "gospel of relativism," partaking of communion against canon law, and now espousing false teachings and accrediting them to the Catholic Church, they have become the very definition of the word "heretics."

The word "heretic" often has extremely negative connotations attached to it, but that's mainly because most people don't know what it means. For starters, heretics are not necessarily bad people. They could be kind neighbors, loving parents and even good friends. That's because the word "heretic" has nothing to do with a person's goodness. The word "heretic" comes from the Greek word "heterodox" and it is the antithesis of the Greek word "orthodox." It has to do with how beliefs are measured. The word "orthodox" means "right belief" or "correct belief." While the word "heterodox" means "chosen belief" or "opposite belief" which is usually chosen in opposition to the established right belief (orthodoxy). A person who is heterodox has chosen a different belief (or beliefs) that do not agree with established orthodoxy. In the case of Catholicism, it is the very definition of what many might call "Cafeteria Catholicism" - which gives rise to the image of certain Catholics who pick and choose their beliefs as if the Church's doctrines were like a salad bar in a cafeteria. The word "heresy" comes from this, and is in reference to a specific heterodoxy (chosen belief) that is espoused as "truth" as if it were the established orthodoxy. The word "heretic" simply refers to someone who espouses heresy.

Nancy Pelosi committed heresy on national television last Sunday, and in doing so, she misrepresented the teachings of the Catholic Church to literally millions of viewers - both Catholic and non-Catholic. She is not alone. Many "Cafeteria Catholics" in the U.S. government have engaged in this practice, either by word, or by their action of publicly receiving communion while espousing a "pro-choice" (pro-abortion) position in politics. It would seem these politicians are trying to create a whole new religion, while misrepresenting it as the teachings of the Catholic Church. The bishops of the U.S. Catholic Church have only themselves to blame, unfortunately, because for decades now many of them have pursued a pattern of teaching the Church's doctrine on abortion while refusing to enforce it though excommunication or interdiction. The bishops, or at least the majority of them, have effectively sent a mixed signal. On the one hand, they rightly teach that abortion is murder and a grave sin. But on the other hand, they do nothing to discipline those Catholics who publicly espouse the opposite. The U.S. bishops have effectively created this mess, and now they must deal with it. Let us pray that future bishop conferences will find the courage to nationally enact a policy already enacted by a few brave bishops throughout the United States, that publicly denies communion to any Catholic politician who holds to a "pro-choice" (pro-abortion) position.

How the American Catholic Should Vote in 2008

McCAIN AND OBAMA ON THE DEATH PENALTY, ABORTION, EUTHANASIA, AND EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH

By Orson Yonfa

This brief treatise will first identify the predominant life issues facing American legislators today and delineate the applicable ecclesiastic and canon law dealing with each. It will then examine in detail the legislative records of Senators Barack Obama and John McCain, the current candidates for the presidency of the United States, weighing the approach, interpretation and stance adopted by each on life issues and weighing their conformity or juxtaposition to canon law. The ultimate purpose of this analysis on capital punishment, euthanasia, abortion, and embryonic stem cell research will be to determine which candidate, if any, is a viable option for Catholic voters. This delineation of life issues stances against that of the Church will allow for a clearer examination of each candidate from the Catholic perspective. While neither of the candidates being examined are members of the Catholic Church, it is imperative to scrutinize their alignment with Catholic doctrine for two reasons.[1] The office of the President of the United States offers a powerful platform from which to affect policy across the globe. In 1993, President Bill Clinton reversed the Mexico City Policy[2] which only permitted U.S. assistance to birth control programs overseas so long as the foreign organization did not “perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning.”[3] This resulted in many third world countries being forced to accept abortion within their borders in order to receive desperately needed American aid, regardless of their cultural opposition to the procedure. Further, it is important to scrutinize the current, non-Catholic candidates’ alignment with Catholic teachings because of the significance of the Catholic electorate in the United States.

Catholics make up nearly a fourth of the population in the United States.[4] Christians as a whole make up nearly 75 percent of the United States. This attempt to present an objectified moralistic discussion of the religious principles to be found in Catholic canon law and the traditionalist teachings of the Church as applied to the American presidential candidates will hopefully elucidate misconceptions about the candidates.

Catholic canon law has served as the guiding principals for Catholics since their promulgation. They serve as the authoritative and guiding principals for the actions of the faithful. The laws are meant to foster a healthy spirituality and the wellbeing of followers of Christ. Canon law is itself comprised of several sources including Divine Law, natural law, the nature of things and the constitution given by Jesus Christ to His church as well as human or positive law.[5] The ultimate source of canon law, however, is God. With this in mind, the faithful must examine their actions and measure them against these rules in order to maintain the common welfare of the community. What is true for the faithful may be applied to those who govern the faithful as a measure of their solidarity with bedrock moral principles. The United States was founded on the right of people to worship freely that deity whom they venerate as divine. It is the duty of that state to fiercely protect this right to worship while at the same time removing itself from religion. However the inverse is not true, that religion should remove itself from the affairs of the state. A government of the people will inevitably have religion in its DNA so long as the people in government have religion within them.[6] Pope Leo XIII wrote that “we [can not] hope for happier results either for religion or for the civil government from the wishes of those who desire that the church be separated from the state, and the concord between the secular and ecclesiastical authority be dissolved. It is clear that these men, who years for a shameless liberty, live in dread of an agreement which has always been fraught with good, and advantageous alike to sacred and civil interests.”[7]

The community of Catholics is guided by Catholic Canon law, which requires the individual to act, or refrain from acting in conjunction with the laws. It is through this lens that this paper will examine the actions and non-actions of those seeking the office of the President of the United States of America and ultimately, which candidate, if any, should be the choice of American Catholics. "Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being."[8]

Barack Obama, the leading nominee for the Democratic Party of the United States in the 2008 election, is the junior senator from Illinois, having served in that position for two years. Senator Obama’s prior experience also includes having served as an Illinois State Senator from 1997-2004.[9] John McCain, the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party of the United States in the 2008 election is the senior senator from Arizona, having served in the U.S. Senate for 21 years. Senator McCain also served as a member of the U.S. Congress from 1984-1987.[10] In defining the positions taken by the Senators on life issues, this paper will examine their voting records, support given to various relevant causes, excerpts from statements made, and pertinent actions taken.

Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Embryonic stem cells are derived from human embryos that develop from eggs which have undergone in vitro fertilization. These cells may repair the body by dividing and multiplying, with each new cell either remaining a stem cell, or become another type of cell such as a muscle cell, blood cell, or nerve cell.[11] The potential for new cures resulting from embryonic stem cell research could be extensive. However, the cost of this research is the destruction of fertilized eggs. The harvested stem cells cause the destruction of the embryo. The Catholic Church and other opponents view this is the destruction of a human life. Supporters point out that the embryos were going to be destroyed, and that research from their cells holds the potential to cure debilitating diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.[12] The rapid pace of advances in biomedical research has generated polarizing public discussion on the morality of embryonic stem cell research and human cloning. Nearly every mainstream religious group that has officially taken a position on human cloning for reproductive purposes has condemned the practice as an aberrant affront to the natural order of life. The response of religious communities to stem cell research, however, has been mixed. The Catholic Church and many evangelical Protestant groups have called for a ban on all embryonic stem cell research, saying it is a direct assault on innocent human life. Most mainline Christian churches and Jewish groups, on the other hand, favor embryonic stem cell research, pointing to potential cures for medical conditions such as Parkinson's disease, cancer, diabetes and heart disease. The president of the Pontifical Council on the Family, Alfonso Cardinal Lopez Trujillo stated that "destroying human embryos is equivalent to abortion." He claims that those directly involved in such deeds are liable to the canonical penalty established for abortion, namely, excommunication (1983 CIC 1398).[13]

Senator Barack Obama has openly and consistently supported federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. While serving as a legislator in Illinois, Senator Obama introduced a measure that would make sure that only those embryos that would otherwise be discarded could be used for research and that donors would have to provide written consent for the use of the embryos.[14] Said Sen. Obama, “I call on leaders in Illinois and President Bush in Washington to stop playing politics on this critical issue and expand the current policy on embryonic stem cell research so that we can begin finding the cures of tomorrow today."[15] What does not agree with Sen. Obama is often labeled as “playing politics” in a way that is evocative of a child’s tantrum. The Catholic Church and pro-life advocates might respectfully categorize “playing politics” as holding an opposing position. Sen. Obama supported the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 which relaxes federal restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. [16] The measure was vetoed by President Bush[17], which would have allowed for federal funding to be used for research on stem cell lines obtained from embryos. While Sen. Obama believes that it would benefit the American public to explore the science that could be gained from embryonic stem cells, the Catholic Church has taken its stance against this practice and defined it as tantamount to abortion. Also in 2005, Sen. Obama co-sponsored a bill that would have allowed the cloning of human embryos for research purposes but would prohibit their survival. For his position on embryonic stem cell research, as opposed to adult stem cell research, Sen. Obama is in direct conflict with Catholic canon law.

Sen. John McCain opposes the creation of human embryos for research purposes. However, he has also come forward supporting embryonic stem cell research on those embryos already in existence. Said Sen. McCain, “I believe that we need to fund this. This is a tough issue for those of us in the pro-life community. I would remind you that these stem cells are either going to be discarded or perpetually frozen. We need to do what we can to relieve human suffering. It's a tough issue. I support federal funding.”[18] Sen. McCain voted in favor of three Senate bills that would, among other things, offer federal support for researchers using embryos that were slated for destruction by fertility clinics.[19] The measures would have limited the embryonic stem cells used to those embryos that have been donated from in vitro fertilization clinics, were created for fertility treatment, were slated to be discarded and were donated by individuals who gave written informed consent to their use with no inducement of any kind. Despite Sen. McCain’s position against creating new embryonic stem cells, and his opposition to cloning new cells for research, pro-life organizations have assailed him for his support of research bill (H.R. 810). It is of little comfort to those who hold true to canon law to hear Sen. McCain express how “tough” the issue is while for them, it is not. Ultimately, Senator McCain’s even limited support of embryonic stem cell research is squarely against canon law and the Church’s position of protecting life, even at its earliest stages.

Capital Punishment

There are varying historical perspectives on what stance the Catholic Church has taken on capital punishment. The Old Testament of the Bible claims an “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” approach to crime and punishment.[20] Vatican II's Church in the Modern World, along with the pope's recent social teachings and the statements of the U.S. bishops not only exemplify the methodology needed for using Scripture in the death-penalty debate but also provide essential content.[21] The Bible also professes that “Whoever takes the life of any human being shall be put to death”.[22] The Catechism of the Catholic Church has stated that the execution of criminals can only be allowed in cases of extreme gravity. Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.[23] During a trip to St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A. in January of 1999, Pope John Paul II said, “I renew the appeal for a consensus to end the death penalty.” Then Cardinal Ratzinger said in September of 1997, “The Catechism of the Catholic Church invokes principles which do not exclude absolutely capital punishment but give very severe criteria for its moral use. It seems to me it would be very difficult to meet the conditions today.”[24] Catechism 2302 of the Catholic Church states that “Anger is a desire for revenge. ‘To desire vengeance in order to do evil to someone who should be punished is illicit,’ but it is praiseworthy to impose restitution ‘to correct vices and maintain justice.’”[25]

Sen. Obama has said that the death penalty “does little to deter crime.” However, he believes that it is justifiable to use capital punishment when the crime is, “so heinous, so beyond the pale, that the community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage by meting out the ultimate punishment.”[26] While we cannot fully know what constitutes a heinous crime in Sen. Obama’s mind, or what is “beyond the pale,” we can discern from the statement a desire to maintain the option of capital punishment. His statement mirrors closely those of now Pope Benedict XVI who made it clear that the threshold for using capital punishment is a high one which is difficult to meet. However Sen. Obama stated that the justification for executions was to vent, or express, the outrage of the community. Such vengeance does not fall in line with the concept of punishment for restitution, and to correct vices and maintain justice. The goal of revenge is not in keeping with the traditions of the Catholic Church. Such venting would be an unjustifiable use of capital punishment.

Sen. McCain has a more mixed record on the death penalty, but is clearly for its use and has even sought to expand its application to crimes not previously covered. Sen. McCain has voted to ban the use of the death penalty against minors. However, he has sought to impose capital punishment for convicted international drug traffickers.[27] In 1989, the senator voted to pass Bill (S. 1798) to provide for the imposition of the death penalty for the terrorist murder of United States nationals abroad.[28] Using the standard stated by then Cardinal Ratzinger in introducing the new edition of the Catechism, it may be a stretch to classify international drug trafficking as a type of crime that was not imaginable by then Cardinal Ratzinger. Should we follow the example set by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI in their interpretation of the Catechism of the Catholic church, then we could clearly classify Sen. McCain’s support of capital punishment as not in line with Catholic teaching. The views of Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain on capital punishment do keep in line with Catholic voters, however. According to a 2004 survey of likely Catholic voters, 7 out of 10 supported the death penalty for convicted murderers.[29]

Abortion

Abortion is the paramount life issue in American society. It is the most polarizing and divisive political and social matter today. An induced abortion is the removal or expulsion of an embryo or fetus by medical, surgical, or other means at any point during human pregnancy for therapeutic or elective reasons.[30] Prior to the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade, abortions were illegal.[31] That landmark Supreme Court case ruled a Texas law unconstitutional for it’s prohibition on allowing a woman to have an abortion unless her life was in danger. The sole contraindicated exception meant that a woman wanting an abortion had to do so illegally. The court ruled that the Texas law was unconstitutionally vague and that it abridged her right to personal privacy. “Thus, the [Judiciary] Committee observes that no significant legal barriers of any kind whatsoever exist today in the United States for a woman to obtain an abortion for any reason during any stage of her pregnancy.”[32] Many factors shape American attitudes about abortion. Moral norms may weigh in as much as biological reasoning. In 2005, there were 756,120 reported abortions in the United States. Actual estimated abortions push that number to 1,206,200. During the 2004 presidential election a CNN/USA today/Gallup poll showed that 30% of pro-life American voters would only vote for a pro-life candidate.[33] Only 11% of pro-choice voters would only back a pro-choice candidate. This resulted in 13% of the total population assured of voting for the pro-life candidate, irrespective of their views on other issues.

The most succinct statement on the death of a fetus comes directly for the word of God. “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” (Jeremiah 1:5) The Catholic Church has long been opposed to abortions, believing it to be the taking of life, and therefore against the will of God. The church has come to regard abortion, along with euthanasia, as the two most unjustifiable evils. Catholic canon law states, “One who commits homicide or who fraudulently or forcibly kidnaps, detains, mutilates or seriously wounds a person is to be punished with the deprivations and prohibitions mentioned in can. 1336 in accord with the seriousness of the offense; however, homicide against the persons mentioned in can. 1370 is punished by the penalties specified there.”[34] The canons go on to further specify the crime of obtaining an abortion. “A person who procures a successful abortion incurs an automatic excommunication.”[35] The Canons of 1917 contained similar language on abortion “Persons who procure abortion, mothers not excepted, automatically incur excommunication reserved to the Ordinary at the moment the crime takes effect: if they are clerics, they shall also be deposed.”[36] In 1588, Pope Sixus V imposed the penalty of excommunication for any abortion. The Catechism extensively bolsters the Catholic position on abortion. “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existences, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.”[37] Catechism 2271 states, “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law: You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.[38] God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.[39] Catechism 2272 states in part that, “Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,"[40] "by the very commission of the offense,"[41] and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.[42] Defense of the unborn is also expressly set forth in Catechism 2274. “Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being.” Catholics, bound by Baptism to the duty of the church in all its apostolic deeds, are earnestly encouraged to oppose those that would do harm to life sparked at conception.

Sen. Barack Obama is an ardent supporter of the decision in Roe v. Wade and of virtually all pro-abortion legislation. NARAL Pro-Choice America (the national abortion rights action league) and the National Organization for Women have given Sen. Obama a rating of 100% after only two years in the United States Senate. He has maintained this 100% rating since 2005. Sen. Obama’s record predates his time in Washington to his days in the Illinois state senate. In 1997, he voted against SB 230, which would have turned doctors into felons by banning partial birth abortions, a procedure which sees the child’s body removed from the womb up to the neck where forceps and a vacuum are used to suction the brains out of the skull.[43] The then lifeless body is fully removed from the womb. Obama also voted against a 2000 bill that banned using taxpayer money to fund abortions. In 2002, he voted against a bill that would have provided health care to babies that managed to survive abortions.

In 2006, Sen. Obama voted no to Bill S.403, the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act. The bill prohibits the taking of minors across state lines in order to circumvent laws requiring the involvement of parents in abortion decisions. The bill would impose a fine and/or incarceration for up to one year on a physician who performed an abortion on an out-of-state minor who sought to avoid parental notification in their home state.[44] According to his campaign, Sen. Obama will make safeguarding women’s rights under Roe v. Wade a priority. He opposes any constitutional amendment to overturn that decision.[45] During the South Carolina primary debate on April 26, 2007, Sen. Obama was asked by moderator Tim Russert: “What is your view on the decision on partial-birth abortion and your reaction to most of the public agreeing with the court’s holding? Sen. Obama responded:
“I think that most Americans recognize that this is a profoundly difficult issue for the women and families who make these decisions. They don't make them casually. And I trust women to make these decisions in conjunction with their doctors and their families and their clergy. And I think that's where most Americans are. Now, when you describe a specific procedure that accounts for less than 1% of the abortions that take place, then naturally, people get concerned, and I think legitimately so. But the broader issue here is: Do women have the right to make these profoundly difficult decisions? And I trust them to do it. There is a broader issue: Can we move past some of the debates around which we disagree and can we start talking about the things we do agree on? Reducing teen pregnancy; making it less likely for women to find themselves in these circumstances.”[46]
While the Senator did not specifically address his position on partial birth abortion, only referring to it as a “procedure” that makes up less than 1% of abortions, his rhetoric unequivocally demonstrate solid opposition to any legislation that curbs, limits access to, or otherwise impedes any abortion procedure. Sen. Obama was given a 0% rating by the National Right to Life Committee. Curiously, when Sen. Obama was asked if he believes life begins at conception, and if not, when does it begin, he responded, “This is something that I have not come to a firm resolution on…I don’t presume to know the answer to that question.”

In a 2008 speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, Sen. McCain said, “I am pro-life and an advocate for the Rights of Man everywhere in the world, because to be denied liberty is an offense to nature and nature's Creator.”[47] During the 2007 Iowa primary debate, McCain stated that, “I think the respect and commitment to the rights of the unborn is something I've fought for, and it has a lot to do with national security. Because it says very much what kind of a country we are and our respect for human life, whether it be here in the U.S. or anyplace else in the world. So I think it is connected.”[48] Sen. McCain has a voting record spanning over twenty years that shows him to be staunchly opposed to abortion. In 1999 he voted yes to banning partial birth abortions.[49] He sponsored an effort to overturn then President Bill Clinton’s veto of the bill that sought to ban partial birth abortions. In 2000, he voted to maintain a ban on privately funded abortions at overseas military facilities.[50]

According to Project Vote Smart, Senator McCain supported the following statements:
  1. Abortions should be legal only when the pregnancy resulted from incest, rape, or when the life of the woman is endangered.
  2. Prohibit the late-term abortion procedure known as “partial-birth” abortion.
  3. Prohibit public funding of abortions and public funding of organizations that advocate or perform abortions.[51]
Sen. McCain does maintain the exception that abortions should be allowed for those who were impregnated by rape or incest. The church makes no such distinction as it considers any destruction of life after conception as murder. Sen. McCain elaborated on this stance and how it would be enforced when asked by reporters. He was first asked whether he would reinstate the Reagan era rule that prevents international family planning clinics that receive federal funds from discussing abortion. “I don’t believe they should advocate abortion with my tax dollars,” McCain said, adding that he opposed abortion except in cases of rape and incest. He was then asked how he would determine whether someone had in fact been raped. Sen. McCain responded, “I think that I would give the benefit of the doubt to the person who alleges that.”[52]

The following is a synopsis of recent votes cast by Sen. McCain dealing with abortion.
  • In 2007, voted yes on barring The United States Department of Health and Human Services grants to organizations that perform abortions.
  • In 2007, voted yes on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines. (Apr 2007)
  • In 2006, voted yes on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions. (Jul 2006)
  • In 2005, voted no on granting 100 million dollars to reduce teen pregnancy by education & issuing contraceptives.
  • In 2004, voted yes on assigning a criminal penalty for harming an unborn fetus during the commition of another crime.
  • In 2003, voted yes on banning partial birth abortions except for maternal life.
  • In 2000, voted yes on maintaining ban on Military Base Abortions.
  • In 1999, voted yes on banning partial birth abortions.
  • In 1998, voted yes on banning human cloning. [53]
Senator McCain has a 0% rating by NARAL Pro-choice America.[54] The National Right to Life Committee has most recently given him a rating of 75%, dropped from 100% when he chose to support stem cell research on surplus embryos.[55] The National Right to Life Committee recently applauded Senator McCain for sponsoring the Vitter Amendment which permanently prohibits providing abortions in federal health programs for American Indians.[56]

Euthanasia

Often referred to as “mercy killing,” euthanasia is the intentional ending of a life by a deliberate act or deliberate non action most commonly for the purpose of ending suffering. When the individual suffering takes the action themselves, it is called suicide. When an individual aids them in the act, it is known as assisted suicide. The Catholic church has maintained a strong stance against these practices.

Canon 1397states: “A person who commits a homicide or who kidnaps, detains, mutilates, or gravely wounds a person by force or fraud is to be punished with the privations and prohibitions mentioned in can. 1336 according to the gravity of the delict. Homicide against the persons mentioned in can. 1370, however, is to be punished by the penalties established there.”[57] The Catechism delves more specifically and fully into the transgression of euthanasia. “Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable. Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded.” [58]

The most public debate over euthanasia in recent American history came about with the death of Terri Schindler Schaivo. Her case brought the issue of euthanasia to the forefront of American politics, involving the Florida courts, the Governor of Florida and the United States Senate. Theresa Schindler Schaivo suffered a cardiac arrest on the morning of February 25, 1990. She was diagnosed with being in a persistent vegetative state. In 1998, Terri’s husband, Michael Schaivo, filed a petition to remove her feeding tube, believing that there was no hope of improvement for her, and that she would not have wanted to be kept alive by artificial means. Terri’s family file myriad petitions with the Florida courts seeking to have Terri remain on the feeding tube that sustained her, in the belief that she was still at least partially cognizant of her surroundings and showing the potential for some recovery. Ultimately, the United States Senate became involved when it hastily passed the Palm Sunday Compromise. This bill transferred jurisdiction of the Terri Schaivo case to the federal courts in a desperate 11th hour effort to keep her alive. Despite these efforts, the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari, thereby exhausting all legal options the Schindler family had to keep their daughter on the feeding tube. Terri Schindler Schaivo died of dehydration on March 31, 2005, five days after her feeding tube was removed.

Directive 10 of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services states that, “The directly intended termination of any patient's life, even at his own request, is always morally wrong. Directive 28 states: “Euthanasia ("mercy killing") in all its forms is forbidden. The failure to supply the ordinary means of preserving life is equivalent to euthanasia. However, neither the physician nor the patient is obliged to the use of extraordinary means.”[59] Pope John Paul II addressed the issue of depriving an individual of life sustaining sustenance in his address to the participants in the International Congress in 2004 stating: “I should like particularly to underline how the administration of water and food, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act. Its use, furthermore, should be considered, in principle, ordinary and proportionate, and as such morally obligatory, insofar as and until it is seen to have attained its proper finality, which in the present case consists in providing nourishment to the patient and alleviation of his suffering.”[60] Continuing this position on the end of life issue, Pope Benedict XVI said in his sermon outlining the vision of his papacy that "Scripture, in fact, clearly excludes every form of the kind of self-determination of human existence that is presupposed in the theory and practice of euthanasia." The Pope went on to specify abortion and euthanasia as the two principal issues which Catholics may not disagree on. "While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."[61] The church has a singular hostility to euthanasia and abortion above all other crimes against life and holds steadfastly to the belief that the well-being of any society depends on the protection of the sick and innocent. The immediate gratification and disposable sentiments of societies today, oozing from the televisions, computers, businesses and schools, threaten to seep into the mortar of moral conscience. A collapse inevitably occurs if the value of all human life is not constantly reinforced and guarded, guarded against the false catharticism that comes from being free of another’s burdensome disability or existence.

The Catechisms speak clearly about the responsibility owed the sick and dying. “Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.”[62] The responsibility to respect life, allowing it to take its natural course, also extends to the individual seeking to end their existence by their own hands. “Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of.”[63] Catechism 2283 speaks to the involvement of another in aiding a person commit suicide. “If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal. Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law.”[64]

In an interview with Mail Tribune on March 23, 2008, Sen. Obama was asked his perspective on an Oregonian law that legalized physician-assisted suicide. “I am in favor of palliative medicine in circumstances where someone is terminally ill. ... I'm mindful of the legitimate interests of states to prevent a slide from palliative treatments into euthanasia. On the other hand, I think that the people of Oregon did a service for the country in recognizing that as the population gets older we've got to think about issues of end-of-life care.”[65] Although the Oregon law’s purpose was to legalize assisted suicide and not to recognize that the country needs to “think about issues of end-of-life care,” as Sen. Obama suggests; his genteel statement must be taken as an endorsement of it. There is no clear repudiation of the assisted-suicide law, only a “mindful” awareness of states’ interests in preventing a move toward euthanasia. To be sure, such a mindful awareness must be applauded, however followers of Christ are called to act, and the outcries of the sick and suffering must be met with compassion and service.

During a democrat primary debate in February of 2008, Sen. Obama was asked if there were any words he had said, or votes he wished he could take back during his time in public office. Senator Obama pointed to his having sided with other law makers in a unanimous vote on behalf of Terri Schaivo in an effort to stay the removal of her feeding tube. He lamented his involvement "that allowed Congress to interject itself (in the Schiavo case) into the decision-making process of the families." Obama added: 'I think that was a mistake and I think the American people understood that was a mistake. And as a constitutional law professor, I knew better."[66] Much like his stance on abortion, Sen. Obama does not perceive the issue as one of a moral right or wrong, but instead as an issue of choice. Sen. Obama, in using the phrase, “the decision-making process of the family,” seems to either absolve himself of taking a stance on euthanasia by passing the decision to the family, or more likely, reveals his lack of opposition to the removal of the feeding tube. It is not without import to note Sen. Obama’s mention of his former position as a constitutional law professor. By framing his opposition to the action taken by the legislature on legal principals, he further skirts defining his position based on moral grounds. The issue in this case, however, is profoundly moral in nature. The reason being that actual affirmative action is required in order to keep an individual in such condition alive. Feeding must be done. As the church holds in the words of Pope John Paul II, the providing of food and water is not a medical act but a natural means and is “morally obligatory.” Therefore it is not enough to say we must step back, or leave it to another to decided one way or the other. Canon law requires the moral person to protect life. This moral imperative necessitates affirmative action be taken to protect life. It is important to note as well, that Terri Schaivo was not terminally ill. So far as the Catholic Church decrees, an individual in a persistent vegetative state must be accorded the same basic life sustaining necessities as any other person.

While answering questions on faith during a CNN-hosted Compassion Forum, Sen. Obama was asked about the morality of taking active steps to end one’s own life. Sen. Obama responded: “I think we have to be very careful in making end of life decisions…. I think that it is important for us to be able to allow people who are terminally ill and in excruciating pain to get the medicine they need to relieve that pain. He was then asked, “And by ‘relieve’ that pain you mean hasten the end of life if they choose too,” to which he responded, “Well, yeah, and I think there are, there have to be very strict guidelines to insure that somebody who’s making a decision to relieve their pain that might take a week away from their life just because they are slipping into a coma quicker for example, that that is distinguished from, or there is a possibility they slip into a coma, that that’s distinguished from euthanasia in which someone else is making a decision for them.” Senator Obama responded in the affirmative to the intentional hastening of death, more concisely called suicide, followed by an aside on the need to distinguish between suicide and euthanasia, both of which he supports.

Sen. John McCain was questioned about Congressional involvement in the Terri Schaivo case. Tim Russert asked the Senator if it was proper for Sen. Bill Frist, a former physician, to have argued that Florida doctors had erred in finding that Terri Schaivo was in a persistent vegetative state and whether it was fair to say in hindsight that Congress should not have interceded in the case. Said Sen. McCain, “I think it's easy in hindsight to make a judgment. But I do know at the time that many of us, or the overwhelming majority of us as well as the American people saw a young woman whose life was going to end, whose parents and brothers and sisters wanted to care for her. That's what I think made it so compelling. So in hindsight, perhaps we shouldn't have. At the time, I understand the emotion, all of us. Who was not moved by seeing the films of this woman, young woman?[67] Sen. McCain takes a humanistic view of the events surrounding Schaivo by not retreating from the initial desire to help maintain her on the feeding tube. He reiterates the facts as they were; a woman “whose life was going to end,” needed action taken on her behalf. Sen. McCain stated that “perhaps we shouldn’t have (stepped in).” Despite the autopsy results that later contradicted the claims made by Sen. Frist regarding Terri Schaivo’s physical condition, a person in a vegetative state, according to canon law, must be given the respect and care due all human beings. Sen. McCain gives no basis for his qualifier, “perhaps.” It may have meant that federal intervention may have been inappropriate in a Florida state issue, or it may have meant that government intervention in such a case may not ever be appropriate. Contextually, it seems likely that Sen. McCain feels that “perhaps” federal involvement was inappropriate in hindsight in light of the resulting autopsy showing Terri Schaivo to have truly been in a persistent vegetative state. Sen. McCain does not claim to support giving the family the option of exercising euthanasia, nor does he directly repudiate the life-saving actions he and the other Senators attempted as Sen. Obama does. And while Sen. McCain does justify the sentiments that drove those actions on Terri Schaivo’s behalf, and reiterates them after the fact, he does not take a perfect position on the need to have kept the young woman on the feeding tube at all costs.

Conclusion

Neither Senator Barack Obama nor John McCain could claim to have a record that is fully in line with Catholic doctrine on life issues. “Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of.”[68] Voters seeking to remain true to Catholic virtues, while still exercising the freedom to vote in 2008, will find themselves in the unenviable position of a forced compromise.

In a letter to Cardinal McCarrick, then Cardinal Ratzinger weighed in on the question of Catholics supporting politicians who may be in line with canon law on some issues while not on others. “Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage way, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”[69]

We find that while Sen. Obama agrees with the Church on the extreme standard, however undefined, required for the use of the death penalty, he does so with the questionable intention of vengeance. Sen. McCain clearly has designs on a more expansive use of the death penalty. One can not find either candidate in accordance with Catholic canon law on the life-issue of Capital punishment. The embryonic stem cell issue illustrates two different, and both immoral positions taken by Senators Obama and McCain. What we find with Sen. McCain’s position is a policy leaning towards life in that he opposed cloning and creating new embryonic stem cells for research. However his desired use of existing stem cells, despite whatever personal torment he felt in coming to the decision, leaves Sen. McCain against canon law. Sen. Obama is unmistakably against Catholic canon law in his support for the use of embryonic stem cells. While both candidates voted to intervene in the Terri Schaivo case, Sen. Obama now regrets and categorically renounces that action while showing an eloquently cryptic support for physician-assisted suicide. On the life-issue of euthanasia, we find Sen. McCain offering a tacit, if not unwavering, stand on the side of life. As for abortion, Sen. Obama is clearly for it, Sen. McCain clearly against. As an augury of the fickle convictions of some elected officials, Sen. Barack Obama was endorsed by Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. and former congressman Timothy J. Roemer.[70] Casey and Roemer, members of the Democrat party, are both of the pro-life persuasion and ostensibly undeterred by Sen. Obama’s epic pro-abortion record. Sen. Obama himself called protecting abortion rights a priority of his would-be administration.[71] While Sen. McCain is not fully congruent with the Catholic Church on all life issues, none of those inconsistencies would prohibit a Catholic from supporting Sen. McCain for the presidency of the United States. Quite the contrary, Sen. McCain’s extensive record in opposition to abortion shows him to be a champion of the cause. The goal is not simply to reduce the amount of abortions, but to recognize and protect the gift of life that begins at conception. Sen. Barack Obama’s cause and that of the Catholic church are fatally incompatible. The damnable practices of abortion and euthanasia leave a faithful Catholic incapable of voting for his candidacy based on those issues alone. A voter conforming to Catholic law and keeping with the spirit of God’s will towards life would be morally prohibited from voting for a candidate specifically because they were pro-abortion or pro-euthanasia. The letter from Cardinal Ratzinger to Cardinal McCarrick reads: “A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia.”[72] This does not, however, preclude an individual from voting for a pro-abortion or pro-euthanasia candidate. “When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.[73]

Elected officials owe a duty to those they represent or rule over to serve justly. They must not harm those who are in their care and whom hold them in their trust. The power granted to them is transient and, to believers, is secondary to that of God. “There is no power but from God.”[74] (Romans 8:1). The gravity and deeply rooted convictions toward life issues from the Catholic Church are such that to even support an individual that champions a position against life, even if that support is in the form of a vote, would find one guilty of conspiring in a grave evil. It may be debated why a civil society should have elected leaders in line with natural law. In America, the tendency towards protecting the economic health of the nation at the price of its moral vitality is approaching a decisive conclusion. The legitimacy of any leadership position in a free democracy depends on the people granting that legitimacy. When power is based on consent, power by way of tradition or rule of law is not sufficient. Something more is needed and that something is a commonality with the community’s baser moral foundation. A nation may exist despite fractured views on foreign diplomacy, economics, spending, war, and other administrative policies. However, when a nation’s ruler turns away from the moral foundations and institutions of the nation, their legitimacy is severely crippled. Such a severance with the community creates the situation where a leader lacks the jurisdiction and the legitimacy to speak for and lead a unified nation. History has shown that the elected official who abandons the moralistic principles of its people will find a fractured nation that turns against itself and its leadership. This leader’s earthly punishment may be impeachment, or worse, revolution. But as the gospel tells us, a far worse fate awaits. The just due that faces a leader who undermines the gift of life will be far graver in the hereafter where “The mighty shall be mightily tormented.”[75]
You may quote a portion of this article or use the article as a whole for any use in another publication or within the body of another article, provided that such quotations used are contained within quotation marks, and are attributed to the article's author, Orson Yonfa.
[1] Sen. John McCain was raised Episcopalian by his family and has attended the North Phoenix Baptist church for several years. Sen. Barack Obama was raised in a secular home and has been a member of the United Church of Christ in Chicago for 20 years.
[2] The Mexico City Policy was established by Ronald Reagan in 1984. Bill Clinton said that the policy “had severely limited international family planning and population control.” The Mexico City Policy has since been reinstated by President George W. Bush.
[3] http://www.clintonmemoriallibrary.com/clint_abort.html
[4] http://www.religions.pewforum.org/affiliations
[5] http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09056a.htm
[6] The official position of the United States Government is that of the separation of church and state. This was promulgated by the founding fathers of the nation who generally believed that there should be no official sponsorship of any one religion. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise therof…”
[7] Immortale Dei, Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII on the Christian Constitution of States (Nov. 1, 1885) (on file with the Libreria Enditrice Vaticana)
[8] Catechism of the Catholic Church para. 2258 (United States Catholic Conference Inc. 1994).
[9] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_obama
[10] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_McCain
[11] Stem Cell Basics. In Stem Cell Information [World Wide Web site]. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006 [cited Monday, April 7, 2008] Available at http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/defaultpage
[12] Eleni Berger, Research avenue adds fuel to stem cell research controversy, CNN, (July 18, 2001) http://archives.cnn.com/2001/HEALTH/07/11/stem.cell.fact/
[13] 1983 Code c.1398.
[14] Resource Flyers, http://BarackObama.com, (Last visited April 3, 2008)
[15] Stem Cell Research Bill, HB 3589, 108th Cong. (2004).
[16] Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005, H.R. 810, 109th Cong. (2005).
[17] The vetoing of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 was the first veto of the Bush presidency. Congress was not able to secure sufficient votes to override the veto, thereby killing the bill.
[18] 2007 GOP primary debate, at The Ronald Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC (May 3, 2007).
[19] http://mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressOffice.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=BCBA48B1-DFA7-4A5D-9FC7-0D8DF5B415BF
[20] Leviticus 24:20.
[21] http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/SFS/an1000.asp
[22] Leviticus 24:17.
[23] Catechism of the Catholic Church para. 2267 (United States Catholic Conference Inc. 1994).
[24] Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) Vatican press conference introducing the new edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Sept. 9, 1997).
[25] St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 158, 1 ad 3.
[26] Peter Slevin, Obama Forged Political Mettle in Illinois Capitol, Washington Post, Feb. 9, 2007, at A01.
[27] www.vote-smart.org
[28] http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=101&session=1&vote=00275
[29] Belden Russonello & Stewartt, Catholics for a Free Choice 2004 Survey of Catholic Likely Voters, (2004), ttp://www.catholicvote.net/research_polls/catholic_vote/2004_report/findings_issues_death_penalty.pdf
[30] http://medical.merriam-webster.com/medical/abortion
[31] After the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade, and subsequent concurring opinions, abortion has been legal in the United States but may be regulated by the states to varying degrees.
[32] S. Rep. No. 98-149 at 6 (1983).
[33] Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,013 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Oct. 14-16, 2004. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.
[34] 1983 Code c.1397.
[35] 1983 Code c.1398.
[36] 1917 Code c.2350, §1
[37] Catechism of the Catholic Church para. 2270 (United States Catholic Conference Inc. 1994).
[38] Catechism of the Catholic Church para. 2271 (United States Catholic Conference Inc. 1994).
[39] Genesis 51 § 3.
[40] 1983 Code c.1398.
[41] 1983 Code c.1314.
[42] 1983 Code c.1323-1324.
[43] John K. Wilson, Barack Obama: This Improbable Quest, 147-148 (Paradigm Publishers) (2007).
[44] Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act; S.403 ; vote number 2006-216 on Jul 25, 2006.
[45] Campaign booklet, "Blueprint for Change", p. 35-36 Feb 2, 2008
[46] 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate, on MSNBC (Apr 26, 2007).
[47] Speeches to 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference Feb 7, 2008.
[48] 2007 GOP Iowa Straw Poll debate Aug 5, 2007.
[49] Partial Birth Abortion Ban, S. 1692, vote number 1999-340 on Oct 21, 1999.
[50] S. 2549, vote number 2000-134 on Jun 20, 2000.
[51] www.vote-smart.org
[52] http://glassbooth.org/explore/index/john-mccain/10/abortion-and-birth-control/16/
[53] http://www.ontheissues.org/John_McCain.htm
[54] http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/elections/statements/mccain.html
[55] http://www.capwiz.com/nrlc/scorecard.xc?chamber=S&session=110&votescorecard=true
[56] http://capwiz.com/nrlc/issues/votes/?votenum=30&chamber=S&congress=1102
[57] http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P57.HTM
[58] Catechism of the Catholic Church para. 2277 (United States Catholic Conference Inc. 1994).
[59] http://ethics.iit.edu/codes/coe/us.catholic.conference.1.html
[60] http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/speeches/2004/march/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_20040320_congress-fiamc_en.html
[61] http://www.priestsforlife.org/magisterium/bishops/04-07ratzingerommunion.htm
[62] Catechism of the Catholic Church para. 2277 (United States Catholic Conference Inc. 1994).
[63] Catechism of the Catholic Church para. 2280 (United States Catholic Conference Inc. 1994).
[64] Catechism of the Catholic Church para. 2283 (United States Catholic Conference Inc. 1994).
[65] http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080323/NEWS/803230336
[66] Nat Hentoff, Playing Games With Innocent Life, The Washington Times, March 31 2008.
[67] NBC News’ Meet the Press. (NBC television broadcast June 19, 2005).
[68] Catechism of the Catholic Church para. 2280 (United States Catholic Conference Inc. 1994).

[69] “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion,” memo from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to Cardinal Theodore McCarrick (July, 2004).
[70] Shailagh Murray, For Obama, Unexpected Support, Washington Post, April 14, 2008.
[71] Campaign booklet, "Blueprint for Change", p. 35-36 Feb 2, 2008.
[72] The memorandum was sent by Cardinal Ratzinger to Cardinal McCarrick and was made public in the first week of July 2004. The memorandum was a response to the controversy over Senator John Kerry, an ardent pro-abortion politician and Catholic, being denied Holy Communion.
[73] http://www.priestsforlife.org/magisterium/bishops/04-07ratzingerommunion.htm
[74] Romans 13:1-7. 1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4 For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
[75] Wisdom 6:7-11, 7 For to him that is little, mercy is granted: but the mighty shall be mightily tormented. 8 For God will not except any man's person, neither will he stand in awe of any man's greatness: for he made the little and the great, and he hath equally care of all. 9 But a greater punishment is ready for the more mighty. 10 To you, therefore, O kings, are these my words, that you may learn wisdom, and not fall from it. 11 For they that have kept just things justly, shall be justified: and they that have learned these things, shall find what to answer.