Before the recent national elections, we stated that: “Our duty will be to decide which of the candidates is the most consistently pro-life.” That duty does not end with the election results…and certainly not with those of this election. For, behind the easy “throw all the bums out” explanation there lies the real lesson provided by all Americans, as witnessed by their votes on candidates and by their votes on the many referenda that were offered.
Why were good pro-life people like Rick Santorum, Mike DeWine and Jim Talent defeated? Why were strong pro-life (anti-abortion and anti-embryonic stem cell) referenda defeated in conservative States like South Dakota and Missouri? The reason is an over-riding demand for moderation, not radicalism. The non-negotiable issues were lost amidst a clamor for less foundational but no less divisive issues.
Will the victorious Democrats learn that lesson…or will their leadership
continue their hell-bent charge toward radical liberalism and “secular
progressivism”. If the latter, they will lose the 2008 Presidential
elections. If the Republicans’ “base” continues in its early analysis
that they were not reactionary enough, they will return to another “40
years in the desert”, as they experienced after WW II.
Now come the pronouncements from the recent U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. By a majority vote, with a significant number of minority votes, they continue to equate the abomination of abortion with the use of non-abortive contraception methods even by married couples. They express an intent to embrace and offer support to homosexuals, whose sexual inclination is being found in medical research to be very much a biologic issue largely determined in the womb…but they require an asexual lifestyle. They rightly defend the foundational institution of Marriage as the union of one man and one woman…but they are ambivalent about the fairness of “civil unions” and oppose adoption of parent-less children by personally committed and loving homosexual couples.
Reference to the “Compendium Of The Social Doctrine Of The Church” is instructive here (English translation published in 2004 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, ISBN 1-57455-692-4). See Sec. 144, on “Equality, irrespective of sex”. See Sec. 155, on “Children and the responsible exercise of sexuality”. See Sec. 223, “Love and its sexual expression”. See Sec. 224, “Gender identity and sexual identity”. Surely there is room for discussion and moderation here, entirely consistent with God’s gift of free will and with the demands of a right conscience. The Catholic Church has always had difficulty with this, beginning in the Second Century, extending through the Reformation and the Thirty Years’ War, and continuing even currently through differences about the meaning and implementation of Vatican ll in the 1960’s. This is certainly better than the situation in the amorphous Religion of Islam, which has the liability of no central Islamic theological authority. But there must be room for discussion and dialogue…or the Catholic Church will continue to lose the election of the pews. And that is not the way to influence and lead over one billion Roman Catholic people of good will, free will and right conscience.
Peter Moore, PhD George A. Sprecace, M.D., J.D.