Eat At Joes

Just a regular Joe who is angry that the USA, the country he loves, is being corrupted and damaged from within and trying to tell his fellow Americans the other half of the story that they don’t get on the TV News.

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Anti-abortion Catholics can support pro-choice candidates, as long as they agree with the candidate on a range of other issues

Catholics allowed pro-choice vote
September 7, 2004
Anti-abortion Catholics can support pro-choice candidates, as long as they agree with the candidate on a range of other issues.
That pronouncement in an Italian magazine from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican's top spokesman on Catholic teachings, went unnoticed in the din of presidential election-year politics.
But it could reverberate in a close election, which pits President George W. Bush, a conservative Christian abortion opponent, against Democratic Sen. John Kerry, a Catholic who favors abortion rights.
Catholics account for about one-fourth of the Michigan electorate and are evenly split between Kerry and Bush, said pollster Ed Sarpolus of the Lansing-based EPIC/MRA. Michigan is among a handful of battleground states expected to decide the election.
The position is not new for the church, but it has been obscured in the debate about access to abortion.
That debate is louder this year, with calls by a handful of bishops to deny communion to pro-choice politicians, including Kerry, who could become the first Catholic in the White House in 41 years and since abortion rights became a polarizing political issue.
In essence, a vote for a pro-choice politician is not necessarily sinful if a Catholic, who is also against abortion, believes the candidate's other positions outweigh the politician's support for abortion rights, Ratzinger said. He heads the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The Rev. Thomas Reese, a longtime Vatican observer and Jesuit priest who edits America magazine, said:
"If the voter says 'I like this candidate only because he or she is pro-abortion,' that's clearly a no-no. If, on the other hand, the voter says, 'and I like this candidate because he or she supports everything I like, but is wrong on abortion, and I've decided to vote for the person on these other issues,' that's alright."
Paul Long, executive director of the Michigan Catholic Conference, which lobbies in Lansing for the seven Michigan dioceses, said that's an accurate description of Ratzinger's comments. But he said it won't stop his mission to make abortion a priority issue.
Ratzinger's memo was a response to some bishops who said Catholic politicians who favor abortion rights should be denied communion.
Ratzinger's statements should not be construed as letting pro-choice Catholic politicians off the hook. Ratzinger said Catholic politicians show "formal cooperation with evil" if they consistently campaign and vote for abortion rights, and that Catholic pastors and bishops should counsel and warn such politicians that they could, in time, be refused communion.
Archdiocese of Detroit Cardinal Adam Maida has said he prefers to work with politicians behind the scenes rather than confront them directly.
Two years ago, as Catholic candidate Jennifer Granholm -- who favors abortion rights -- sought the governor's office, Maida said, "it is good for us to consider where each of the candidates stand on the whole spectrum of life issues -- especially concern for the poor and the vulnerable, and most of all, where the candidate stands on abortion."
Like other voters, Catholics tend to rank the economy and the war as top issues. Abortion generally ranks as a top issue by only 5 percent of Catholic voters polled. "There's a long history of bucking the church," said Sarpolus. Michigan Catholics, especially in metro Detroit, tend to be older, blue-collar voters with roots in the Democratic Party.
Marie Fehribach, 66, a retired social worker and Catholic voter from Sterling Heights, said the bishops' statements often obscure issues involving poverty, peace, health care and human rights, on which the church takes positions.
Fehribach said she and her husband, Bob, 77, are "definitely pro-life ... and it's bigger than abortion."
She said she will vote for Kerry.
Nancy Van Son, 51, of Macomb Township is a churchgoing Catholic who says her opposition to abortion motivates how she votes. Catholics who personally oppose abortion, but vote for pro-choice candidates, she says, "allow somebody else to do an abortion."
Still, she says, she's lucky to have in Bush a candidate who shares her views on abortion and other issues. Asked whether abortion should be the key issue in picking a politician, Van Son said, "As a Catholic, I want to tell you yes.
"But as a citizen, there are so many issues that we have to consider . . . a strong economy and to be free from terror."
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops ( provides a statement on "faithful citizenship," which catalogues dozens of the church's stance on issues.
A newly formed organization called Catholic Voting Project established a Web site,, to help Catholics sort through where Bush and Kerry stand on more than 50 issues identified by the Catholic bishops. The Web site's promoters call it "an expansive view of the Catholic faith" and it has an online quiz to help voters see how they match up with Kerry and Bush.
It was formed partly to counter another group's online feature, called the "Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics," which says Catholics must adhere to "five nonnegotiable issues" on the church's positions against abortion, euthanasia, stem-cell research, human cloning and gay marriage.
Catholic Voting Project spokesman Christopher Korzen, a theology student at Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Mass., said the documents don't give priority to one issue: "We feel that this is a discussion that has to happen publicly among Catholics."
Contact PATRICIA MONTEMURRI at 313-223-4538.

Gee thanks Vatican. I can vote for the candidate who reflects more of my viewpoints now? What a relief. That's a big change from Colorado Bishop Sheridan who said not only would he refuse communion to any politician who was Pro-Choice this latter day Kreskin would deny communion to any lay person who voted for a Pro-Choice candidate. I wonder what Bishop "shill for the White House" Sheridan has to say about this latest Vatican directive. So far he's refused to comment on the fact that he's ignoring the Catholic Church's teaching on the Death Penalty (George W. Bush ordered the execution of more people than any other US Governor), and the Iraq War which the Pope condemned as mass murder making George W. Bush a mass murderer for starting the war. Bishop Sheridan refuses to comment on any of these issues, and stands by his earlier obviously partisan statements despite their conflict with Official Roman Catholic Teaching.


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