Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Sunday: "What Senator McCain was able to do was help bring all of the parties to the table, including the House Republicans, whose votes were needed to pass this." -- Steve Schmidt, McCain Chief Political Strategist.

Monday 9:00 am: "John McCain puts country first. He suspended his campaign and came back to Washington to work to put together a deal. There was no deal before John McCain got involved and now we have a bill which the House will pass later today. This is leadership and that is what is lacking in Obama." -- GOP Operative.

Monday 10:30 am, news report: COLUMBUS, OHIO -- John McCain, calling himself a man of action like his hero Teddy Roosevelt, told a raucous crowd here that he had helped lead the charge to pass the Wall Street rescue plan. "I've never been afraid of stepping in to solve problems for the American people" McCain said.

Monday, 11:00 am, news report: COLUMBUS -- An aggressive Sen. John McCain used an Ohio rally on Monday to rip into Sen. Barack Obama while taking credit for helping engineer a $700 billion Wall Street bailout agreement, which he said proves he can get things done in Washington.

Monday, 2:00 pm: WHOOPSIE!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Clergy Endorsements Done the Right Way

Fr. Ray Schroth, SJ, Endorses Obama

Contrary to the political stunt organized by several evangelical Protestant ministers, Father Ray Schroth announced his endorsement of Barack Obama not in the pulpit at Mass, but in a newspaper column and while making it clear he was speaking as an individual, not for the Church, a parish or the Society of Jesus. Fr. Schroth is a schoolteacher and not the pastor of a parish.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Baltimore Archdiocese Catholics for Obama

Archdiocese of Baltimore Catholics Help Support Obama - Biden Campaign

The Archdiocese of Baltimore is the primatal see of the US Catholic Church. Catholics there have long responded to the call for leadership and action. That tradition continues with the Baltimore Archdiocese chapter of Catholics for Obama - Biden. These hardworking and faithful Catholics have raised almost $10,000 for the campaign, have made over 4,000 telephone calls, hosted 193 events and helped win votes in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania as well as in Maryland.

Kudos to these hardworking and dedicated fellow Catholics!!! If you are a Catholic of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and would like to join, see their website at:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Archbishop Favalora of Miami "We Are Not Party Bosses"

Why The Church Does Not Take Sides on Candidates

Please see the link below for the full statement of Miami Archbishop John Favalora. He responds to a stunt organized by a right wing group to have ministers endorse political candidates from the pulpit in order to win a change in the IRS rules prohibiting using church funds for political campaigns.

The Archbishop writes "When church leaders speak on issues such as immigration, poverty, health care, abortion, war or embryonic stem cell research, we are not telling people how to vote. We are reminding them of the moral teachings that should inform their lives, and as a result, their votes."

He said the church "will speak in support of legislation that we consider to be morally sound and beneficial to the whole community" regardless of party or candidate.

"That is our duty as teachers and successors of the apostles," he said.

"Your duty as Catholics is to listen to those teachings before making rational, informed, conscientious decisions regarding whom or what to vote for."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Professor Kmiec's Book on Obama and Catholic Voting

A groundbreaking argument on abortion, Catholicism, and the presidential candidacy of Barack Obama. . .

With an Introduction by Martin Sheen

“Doug Kmiec's Can a Catholic Support Him? may very well become the most important comprehensive document written to date on American Catholics, abortion, and candidates for public office." - Martin Sheen

On April 18, 2008, Douglas W. Kmiec was denied communion at a Catholic Mass in Westlake, California. Ironically, Kmiec had been invited by a Catholic business group to give an address on the Bishop’s teaching of “Faithful Citizenship.” Having taught law at Notre Dame and the Catholic University of America, Kmiec had served as head of the Office of Legal Counsel for both Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, representing his Catholic faith openly in the White House. But now he found himself rejected by his church—simply for endorsing the presidential campaign of Senator Barack Obama.

In Can a Catholic Support Him? Asking the Big Question about Barack Obama (The Overlook Press / $12.00 / ISBN: 978 -1-58567-204-3 / September 15, 2008) Kmiec offers a thoughtful explanation of his rationale. He addresses the difficult questions at the core of his decision to endorse Obama, opening up the debate to a host of questions about faith and politics in general. Can a Catholic support a Pro-Choice candidate? Can there be a reverence for life that embraces a larger set of values? How does a Catholic citizen balance his obligations to his church and his community? In asking these questions, Kmiec’s personal choice strikes at the heart of the abortion debate, challenging the partisan interests that provoke a false rift between the Catholic Church and the Democratic Party. Kmiec confronts those Republicans who benefit from setting Democrats and Catholics at opposite ends of the political spectrum, disproving the myths these Republican Faith Partisans perpetuate.

In Kmiec’s innovative argument, the idea of Pro-Life extends far beyond a single Supreme Court Justice, as Senator McCain would have us believe. Catholics cannot sacrifice the primacy of human life by remaining devoted to a “single issue.” The Catholic argument must encompass the ways in which we as a community resolve to protect and nourish that life. In endorsing Obama, Kmiec has not betrayed his faith but rather, he has run up against a group of Republicans who have peddled the vocabulary of the Catholic faith to further partisan interests. Kmiec maintains that it is time for this issue to get the thoughtful treatment it deserves, beyond party rhetoric and self-interested proclamations.

This inquiry could not have come at a better time. Catholics have been undeniably influential in deciding the nation’s president: making up roughly one fourth of the electorate, they have weighed in on the side of the top vote-getter in the last nine presidential elections. Can a Catholic Support Him? is at once a legal and religious treatise, and a sincere and personal journey of faith. It will be an irreplaceable contribution to the debate in 2008 and beyond.

Douglas W. Kmiec is the Caruso Family Chair and Professor of Constitutional Law at Pepperdine University's School of Law. He served as head of the Office of Legal Counsel for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. For nearly two decades, he was a member of the law faculty as well as Director of the Thomas White Center on Law & Government at the University of Notre Dame, where he founded the Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy. The former Dean and St. Thomas More Professor of the law school at The Catholic University of America, he is a frequent guest in the media on programs analyzing constitutional, cultural, and political developments. He and his wife, Carolyn Keenan Kmiec, have five children. They live in Malibu, California.

Martin Sheen is a Catholic activist for peace and justice; he has numerous acting credits on the stage and on the large and small screens, including the leading role in NBC’s highly acclaimed West Wing.

By Douglas W. Kmiec
Published by The Overlook Press
Paperback, $12.00
ISBN: 978-1-58567-204-3
Publication Date: September 15, 2008
Order from Amazon:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Obama Winning the Catholic Vote

The Flock is Flocking to Obama

Recent polling shows that white Catholics are now following minority Catholics in strong support for Obama. Even conservative white Catholics remain in play, while progressive and minority Catholics are firmly and overwhelmingly in the Obama camp.

Since September 7th, Obama’s support has shot up 9 points among white Catholics, now beating McCain 47% to 46% according to a recent ABC News poll. Latino Catholics support Obama over McCain by a 2:1 margin and African American Catholics by better than 10:1. The Wall Street Journal now reports that the electoral battle centers on conservative white Catholics.

To use another measure, the ABC poll also found that the approval rating for Sarah Palin fell more steeply with white Catholics than any other group.

Catholic support for Obama is also seen locally, be it a high-energy meeting of the Parma (Ohio) Catholics for Obama or the movement of New Mexico from a “battleground” to “leaning Obama” state almost entirely due to increased Catholic support for Obama-Biden.

The Wall Street Journal also has proclaimed the end of the ‘conservative alliance’ between conservative white Catholics and Evangelical Protestants. The Journal reported:

"practicing Catholics are now distinguishing themselves from their conservative allies." For example, in 2004, "vast majorities of traditional white evangelicals (85%) and traditional white Catholics (70%) thought the war in Iraq was 'justified.' Since then, conservative white evangelical support for the war has declined slightly to 76.8% but conservative Catholic support has plummeted to 46.8%."

Obama’s increasing appeal to Catholics may also be due to the fact that the McCain – Palin campaign does little Catholic outreach beyond the traditional white conservative Catholic circles. White Evangelical Protestant outreach is much more productive to the campaign.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph Catholics for Obama

There will be a meeting of the Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph (Missouri) Catholics for Obama next Tuesday, September 30th at St. Paul's School, 6:30 pm. The Obama - Biden campaign's National Catholic Outreach Director, Mark Linton, will be there. This is an important opportunity to build on our success in winning the Catholic vote in Missouri.

Those interested in attending should email the moderator for more information.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Catholics Bring New Energy to the Obama Campaign

The growing support of members of the Catholic faith for Barack Obama and Joe Biden is encouraging. According to recent polls, the rise in Catholic support for the Democratic nominee compared to four years ago has moved two states from "red" to "blue."

But the other half of the story is not just votes but the incredible energy and volunteer committment from Catholics. An earlier post wrote of the fantastic efforts of students at Catholic University of America. A large group of students at this previously Republican leaning school are volunteering in Virginia to help elect Obama.

Catholics United, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Catholic Democrats, Roman Catholics for Obama -Biden '09 and other groups are educating voters as to how Catholic social teaching applies to a range of issues, from war to the safety net for the poor.

Father Thomas Reese recently spoke about how Joe Biden is winning Catholic votes. “Biden is a real Catholic from a working-class background who’s comfortable talking to high-school-educated people. This is the most important swing vote” said Reese.

Obama's success with Catholic voters is shown in that McCain and the Republicans continue to direct their efforts to a narrow and narrower group of Catholics. They have already written off most minority Catholics. Republicans have so forgotten about non-white Catholics that when they speak of their performance with the Catholic vote they are really citing poll results of whites only Catholics.

Monday, September 22, 2008

McCain Lies to the American Worker?

John McCain and his second wife, Cindy, own 13 cars, while the Obamas have one. Among the McCain's cars are a Volkswagen convertible and a Honda sedan. The McCains also own three '00 NEV Gem electric vehicles, the bubble-shaped cars popular in retirement communities.

But even though this is more cars than they have homes, it is not enough for them. There is also a Lexus used by the second Mrs. McCain but registered to her beer-distributor business (the plates read MS BUD).

Ron Gettelfinger, a devout Catholic and International President of the UAW pointed out that this contradicts McCain's claim in a recent TV interview that he has proudly bought American-made cars all his life. President Gettelfinger stated: "'Buy American' can't just be a slogan John McCain rolls out when he's in Michigan."

Personally, every car I have ever owned was American made and I would never buy an import. But regardless of how one feels, they always have an obligation to tell the truth. John McCain can buy whatever and how many cars he wants. He should not say he only buys American when he does not.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Catholic University Students Campaign for Obama

Catholic universities across the country have been the source of tremendous support for the Obama campaign. Not just their votes, but the time and energy they give to the campaign as volunteers, done with pride in their Catholic faith and school affiliation.

Of the three Catholic universities in Washington, DC, The Catholic University of America has long been considered the most Republican. Nevertheless, the current generation of young people there have shown great enthusiasm for the Obama-Biden campaign.

Yesterday, CUA students were over a third of a large group of Obama volunteers travelling to the critical battleground state of Virginia. Many of the students had volunteered before, travelling to Ohio, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.

These kids really help show us where the next generation is heading.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Race and the Campaign

It is no surprise that the intrinsic evil of racism is raising its ugly head in the presidential campaign. It might be thought that it is a sign of comparative virtue that much of it has been kept out of public view until now. As Catholics, we are obligated to stand against racism and affirm the sinful nature of racist acts.

Stanford University recently completed a survey that showed as many as 40% of white voters hold negative views based on race. On this blog, various comments have been left by some McCain supporters that are clearly racist and the "waffle" scandal at the right wing "Christian" values vote summit gives more evidence. I was shocked at racial comments left at the right wing Catholic blog "American Papist" by McCain supporters. In the New York Times this week, while interviewing Catholics voters in a Scranton, PA rectory, one McCain supporters made clearly racial comments while giving his intention to vote for McCain. We do know that just as our faith says it is wrong to vote for a candidate because of support for abortion, so it is wrong to vote for a candidate because of racism.

Some speculate that racist voters would be voting Republican anyway and it therefore will not change the outcome of the election. Maybe.

Let us hope that those motivated by the sin of racism will have a change of heart.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Obama Camapign to Start Faith Tour

Starting next week and continuing for a month, the Obama campaign will be sponsoring a faith tour through battleground states. Stops are expected in Colorado, Indiana, North Carolina, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Florida, New Mexico, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Pepperdine University professor Doug Kmiec, and former Indiana Congressman Tim Roemer (both pro-life Catholics) will be among the speakers. Issues will include healthcare, poverty, stewardship of God's Creation and reducing the numbers of abortions.

While Palin has been a boost to the McCain campaign with white, middle aged and older Evangelical Protestants, she has been a dud as far as Catholics, observant Jews and minority Evangelicals. The Obama campaign also has made inroads with many younger Evangelicals.

The faith tour will bring the campaign's message to people of faith and give them a chance to hear about the Obama-Biden campaign. It will seek out a broad and inclusionary audience, unlike the McCain-Palin campaign which rarely ventures outside the politically safe white Evangelical Protestant community and limits Catholic outreach to white conservatives.

The outreach to people of faith does not stop with this tour. Two independent groups have put out fantastic videos. Here are the links:

Matthew 25 Network with former Congressman Tony Hall:

Catholics United:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What a Catholic Sponsored Community Organizer Looks Like

“What? Community organizer? I don't even know what that is.”

---- Rudy Giuliani

Mr. Mayor, if you are so out of touch you do not know what a Catholic sponsored community organizer does, let me give you an example like Hal Gordon of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian Catholic Church. Mr. Gordon and the Community Action Group of the Parish helped hundreds of poor, unemployed and homeless people. It has brought hundreds of people away from drug abuse. Mr. Gordon recently passed away after a life of service. It is a blessing he did not have to witness here on earth your denigration of his life's work.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What We Can Expect from the 'Christian' Right - Wing

Above is an example of the "products" available to those attending the Right-Wing Family Research Council's "Values Voter Summit."

On the bottom of the box, the text reads "Point box toward Mecca for tastier waffles."

The side of the box has a "bonus recipe rap" that reads:

Barry's Bling Bling Waffle Ring
Yo, B-rock here droppin' waffle knowledge Spellin' it out, 'cause a graduated college Some say I waffle so fast, Barry's causin' whiplash Just doin' my part, made wafflin' a fine art For a waffle wit style, like Chicago's Magnificent Mile Spray whipped crem around the edge Shake it first like Sister Sledge. The say wit me, I can be as waffly as I wanna be! (That goes out to my Ludacris posse)

I don't think there is anymore to be said about these McCain-Palin supporters. They speak for themselves.

Monday, September 15, 2008

More From Professor Kmiec

How Catholics can oppose abortion, back Obama

By Douglas W. Kmiec
September 9, 2008

The Roman Catholic Church in Chicago, and indeed the world, is blessed by the thoughtful teaching of Cardinal Francis George. It gives me special joy to say that years ago his mother and my grandmother were over-the-fence neighbors in St. Pascal's Parish. Truth be told, I heard more than once in my childhood, "Why can't you be like the 'saintly Francis George'?" But let's not go there.

For the last several months, conservative bloggers have been lampooning me for endorsing Sen. Barack Obama for president—admittedly, a somewhat unusual thing for a Republican to do—so some political paddling is fair. What is unfair has been those Republican partisans who have tried to close the door on Obama in the name of the Catholic faith.

Obama does not advocate the reversal of Roe vs. Wade, and orthodox Catholics do. We do for the very clear reason given by George in a Sept. 2 letter—namely, "one cannot favor the legal status quo on abortion and also be working for the common good."

That's exactly right, but what's wrong is for Republican partisans to claim this to be Obama's position. It's not. Rather, Obama believes there are alternative ways to promote the "culture of life," even given the law's sanction of abortion.

The central hope of the Obama campaign is to find common ground—not by "favoring" that which can never be acceptable, the taking of innocent unborn life, but by dealing with the legal reality in a way that at least reduces the likelihood of abortion. Chicago is only Obama's adopted home, but in this he represents the best of her "I will/city of big shoulders/let's get something practically done" spirit.

Unlike Obama, I regret to say the current Republican Party thrives on demonizing its opposition to win elections. Without ideas, there is only name-calling. That's too bad because additional avenues for strengthening a culture of life open up when we avoid demonizing those who disagree with our Catholic view that life begins at conception. Talking strongly pro-life, Republicans often do little, promising that some judge not yet appointed is the answer or advocating leaving it all up to the states to decide, seldom acknowledging that many, perhaps most, states would end embedding the "legal status" of abortion—exactly contrary to the cardinal's thoughtful instruction.

Obama seeks to extend a helping hand (increased funding for prenatal care, maternity leave and less cumbersome and expensive adoption) with an astute understanding of how closely economic circumstances and abortion are related. Both reasonable extrapolations from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics and a recent Catholic in Alliance for the Common Good study find that improving the economic well-being of the average family in general, and of the women facing the abortion decision in particular, can save unborn lives.

From 1979 to 1990, during a difficult inflationary economy, the annual rate of abortion increased by 14.2 percent, resulting in an additional 740,000 abortions. In the more economically stable decade following, the annual rate decreased by 34 percent, meaning that approximately 2.3 million children who would have been aborted are alive to-day.

The pretense that the GOP is now an agent for change for what it, itself, instituted is far too Orwellian to be accepted. The Obama-Biden team says to the average working person in America: Your work matters, and it will be compensated at a family wage; your retirement will be safeguarded from corporate fraud and manipulation—be it by cooking the books a la Enron Corp. or the legal abuses of a shadow banking system that by profligate lending practice has precipitated massive government bailouts and the takeover of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Sen. John McCain is an honorable man caught between a failed presidency and the tired ideas of his party that only invite repetition of that failure. There's no reason that failure should be extended in a way that blocks the greater protection of unborn life.

Douglas W. Kmiec is the author of "Can a Catholic Support Him?—Asking the Big Question About Barack Obama" and former constitutional legal counsel to President Ronald Reagan.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Franciscan University of Steubenville Pro-Life Leader Says "Vote Obama"


Kari Lundgren was a pro-life student leader when she was an undergraduate at the conservative Catholic Franciscan University of Steubenville. In a moving and insightful essay, she calls for the election of Barack Obama.

She writes: "As a Catholic, I think Sen. Barack Obama is the best candidate for President of the United States...[While a student at Steubenville] I prayed for an end to abortion and the conversion of souls, I also saw the depressed ex-steel town in which the university resided, and I felt a disconnect between the spiritual fervency on campus and the poverty surrounding it. I was ashamed to have the money to be a full-time student when the neighborhoods next door to the university were filled with dilapidated houses and people forced out of work when the steel mills closed...

The general assumption that a good Catholic voted Republican began to grate on me, because so many of the GOP policies were in direct violation of Catholic teaching about human dignity. How could the party of unregulated corporate greed be the party for solidarity withthe poor? I started wondering if maybe more could be done to solve the abortion problem by addressing the socioeconomic causes...


Saturday, September 13, 2008

U.S. Catholic Magazine Interviews Obama, McCain

Catholics may want to grab the October issue of U.S. Catholic magazine, a fine and readable periodical publish by the Claretians, a Catholic religious order. The magazine interviewed both Senators Obama and McCain on various Catholic concerns. On the issue of abortion, both senators proclaimed they were not for abortion and both affirmed that abortion cannot be stopped with just legal restrictions but requires social support for women in crisis pregnancies. Neither candidate supported federal laws banning abortion but McCain did indicate reversal of Roe v. Wade to allow those states that so wished to pass laws restriction abortion within their state.

Obama continued his recent emphasis on working to reduce the number of abortions. “Much more can and should be done to address the underlying factors that may lead a woman into the difficult situation where she feels she has to make this decision.” He said he wants to make comprehensive age-appropriate sex education more widely available to help prevent unintended pregnancies. And he wants to offer more support services for women who choose to have a child, including pre- and postnatal care, parenting education, and adoption and foster care services.

Obama told the Catholic magazine, “My own path to Christ was shaped in part by my work as a community organizer with the poor and disadvantaged on the South Side of Chicago,” and he noted that this work “was funded in part by Catholic churches.” He said he wants to expand the earned income tax credit and “establish 20 ‘Promise Neighborhoods’ in impoverished, crime-ridden areas to be modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone.”

Barack Obama said his work as a community organizer for a Catholic sponsored project gave him key insights as to helping people in poverty. He spoke of his commitment to health care for all, an issue that was first proposed in the United States by the Catholic Bishops in 1919. Obama also outlined positions that matched the policies of the Catholic Church on immigration, child labor and the war in Iraq.
Obama pointed out that as an Illinois state senator he was a co-sponsor of the Bernardin Amendment, named after the late Chicago Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, “which set out that health care is a fundamental right.” His health care plan, he told U.S. Catholic, would provide all Americans with “quality, portable, and affordable health care coverage” and would reduce health care costs for families to $2,500.
In one of the most lame lines so far in this presidential campaign, McCain (according to the conservative Catholic New Agency) said that he would prioritize the eradication of poverty through programs like domestic oil drilling.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Obama - Biden Strong on Catholic College Campuses

As polling continues to show minority Catholics strongly favoring Senator Barack Obama and white Catholics closely divided between McCain and Obama (Palin has not helped McCain with Catholics the way she has with white Protestants), one other part of the Catholic community should be noted for its support for the Obama - Biden campaign.

While the McCain campaign as targeted its Catholic outreach exclusively on conservative Catholics, Obama continues to reach out to Catholics of all sorts. A particular success has been on Catholic college campuses. One large Catholic university with a student body that probably leans slightly conservative has an active and engaged campus group for Obama. There has been practically no outreach from the McCain campaign.

Kings College, a Catholic school in Wilkes-Barre (PA), have had a student group for Obama since last February. Student leaders say their classmates are opposed to the Bush-McCain policies in Iraq and that with Obama "we have a man that has been honest, he has integrity and promises that he is going to change things.”

The University of Notre Dame has one of the most active student groups for Obama and recent polling shows Obama only a few points behind in Indiana, usually a rock-ribbed Republican state.

St. Joseph's University (PA) Obama supporters can be reached at http://us.mc559.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=SJUforBarack@gmail.com

Other Catholic colleges and universities with campus Obama-Biden organizations include: Georgetown University (DC -- email at: GUStudentsforBarackObama@gmail.com ), Mt. Mercy College (IA), St. Ambrose (IA), DePaul (IA), Loyola (IL), Benedictine College (KS), Loyola (LA), Loyola (OH), Assumption (MA), Boston College, College of Holy Cross (MA), Loyola College (MD), St. Joseph's College (ME), St. Thomas University (MN), St. Louis University (MO), Carroll College (MT), Creighton University (NE), St. Anselm College (NH), Seton Hall (NJ -- see link to left), Fordham, Iona College, Mt. St. Mary's, St. John's University (NY), University of Dayton, John Carroll, Xavier (OH), Duquesne, Mercyhurst, Villanova (PA), Providence (RI), Mt. Mary College (SD), Gonzagna, St. Martin U (WA), Alverno College, Carroll College and Marquette (WI).

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

McCain's Disregard for Children's Protection

As Catholics, following the lead of our Holy Father, we feel great regret for the sexual abuse of minors that occurred within the Catholic community, namely by a number of our clergy victimizing young people under their pastoral care. The individuals who committed these evil acts bear the primary responsibility. But, as the Pope has said, certainly the sad truth is that our Church authorities should have done better at having in place systems for the protection of minors.

We have learned from our mistakes and the regret still weighs heavily on us. That is why we of the Catholic community are particularly concerned to see others disregarding the need for the protection of children from sexual abuse.

John McCain now troubles us that he is not committed to the protection of children from such abuse. Senator Obama has said that all school age children need to be given age appropriate education to guard against sexual abuse and molestation. McCain is attacking Senator Obama for this statement. McCain is saying kindergarten children should not be taught that is wrong for strangers to touch them inappropriately.

In charity, I assume McCain is not affirmatively for child molestation but has a misguided prudity that believes in saying nothing and hoping for the best. We, as Catholics, know where this leads and the results are tragic. We now have programs -- needed programs -- for the protection of children in our Catholic schools. Should John McCain be allowed to block programs with the same goals from our public schools?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Vote the Common Good

Several Catholic Social Justice groups have launched the "Campaign for the Common Good".


They have some excellent voter education matierials on Catholic Social Justice Topics:


Monday, September 8, 2008

White Protestants, Yes; Catholics, Not So Much

If you are white and and evangelical Protestant, polls are showing that you are likely to be enthusiastic with John McCain's pick of Sarah Palin as Vice President. But other religious voters -- Catholics, Jews, Hispanics and African Americans -- have been either indifferent or negative to her selection as the Republican Vice Presidential candidate.

For Catholics, there are several likely reasons she is not moving Catholics voters. One is her well-publicized crack against Obama's work as a community organizer for a Catholic sponsored project (something that has done wonders for traffic to this blog, breaking 1,000 visit on Saturday, our highest ever!). Her line item veto cutting a government grant to a Catholic home for unwed mothers alienated other Catholics. Creationism is also an issue that may win Evangelical support but doesn't do much even for conservative Catholics.

Jewish Americans have reacted with caution towards her, helping the Obama campaign in Florida, a key battleground state. African Americans and Hispanics have been largely absent from her campaign rallies. This is likely more due to the general problem the Republican Party has with minorities rather than anything particular to Palin, but certainly the Evangelical appeal Palin has does not extend to the Black or Hispanic communities.

Overall, about half of Catholics tell pollsters they plan to vote for Obama. The McCain campaign still has not broken out of the limited outreach to only conservative Catholics. All of their Catholic outreach has been directed to this minority element of the Catholic community. Even strongly pro-life Catholics who share all of the Church's social concerns have not been approached by McCain/Palin.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Barack Obama on Abortion

I have always been clear that, while otherwise an outstanding candidate, I find Barack Obama misguided on much of the question surrounding abortion policy. My support for him is not because of his views on abortion policy but despite it. Nevertheless, I appreciate the fact that he takes the matter seriously. We have had eight years of an Administration that has promised much and done little for the unborn. We have a Republican candidate who is not comfortable talking about life issues and a Vice Presidential candidate who talks about it but has never achieved anything for the unborn in her entire political career. We have a Republican Congress who left pro-life provisions as riders on appropriations bills that need to be renewed each year rather than make any attempt to put them in permanent law. And we have a Democratic Congress that, when it became the majority, continued to renew the pro-life provisions.

I think the case can be made that given the lack of action and achievements from the conservatives on pro-life issues, a four year trial at some common ground initiatives as Obama proposes has merit. Here is the Senator's most recent statement on the topic:

I do know is that abortion is a moral issue, that it's one that families struggle with all the time. And that in wrestling with those issues, I don't think that the government criminalizing the choices that families make is the best answer for reducing abortions.

“I think the better answer — and this was reflected in the Democratic platform — is to figure out, how do we make sure the young mothers, or women who have a pregnancy that's unexpected or difficult, have the kind of support they need to make a whole range of choices, including adoption and keeping the child.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Catholics Outraged by Palin Insults

Palin Continues to Smear Catholic Action

Catholics across the country continue to be outraged by Republican politician Sarah Palin who repeated her smear against Catholic Action by mocking Barack Obama’s service as director of a community group sponsored by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (an arm of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops) and led by eight Catholic parishes on the South Side of Chicago.

First, the Dallas Morning News gives us the facts on the background:

Starting at age 23, Obama ran a faith-based charity called the Developing Communities Project.

It was made up of eight Catholic parishes when he got there and had one staff member. He was its director, meaning he was in charge. He made decisions about it, including staffing, budgets, etc. And when he left in 1988 to go to law school, he had grown its budget from $70,000 to $400,000, its staff from 1 to 13 people. More important, he created a job training program for this community and a college prep tutoring program. As mayor [of Wasilla, Palin] built a hockey rink/rec center using eminent domain (because apparently there just isn't enough land in Alaska).

Now for the attacks on this Catholic sponsored social action initiative. At the Republican Party National Convention, Palin and ex-New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani mocked the work Barack Obama did for this group of churches that were concerned about their parishioners, many of whom had been laid off when the steel mills closed on the south side of Chicago. As for Barack Obama’s service as a community organizer, Giuliani even sneered “I don't even know what that is.” Palin, who was baptized but not raised Catholic and sought “re-baptism” in a Protestant Church can be forgiven for knowing little of the Catholic Church’s admirable witness for the poor and socially marginalized. But even a lapsed Catholic like Giuliani should know of the Catholic Church’s concern for the poor and oppressed.

Joe Klein’s take on this: This is what Palin and Giuliani were mocking. They were making fun of a young man's decision "to serve a cause greater than himself," in the words of John McCain. They were, therefore, mocking one of their candidate's favorite messages. Obama served the poor for three years, then went to law school. To describe this service--the first thing he did out of college, the sort of service every college-educated American should perform, in some form or other--as anything other than noble is cheap and tawdry and cynical in the extreme.

America magazine, the national Jesuit weekly, shared in the shock at this repeated attack on Catholic Action.

A Midwestern Catholic leader wrote: In an stunning insult to 76.9 million Americans, another politician continues the republican bias towards Catholics. Sarah Palin's acceptance speech scoffed at work that her opponent had done in the 1980s for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. She belittled Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's experience as a community organizer in Catholic parishes on the South Side of Chicago, work he undertook instead of pursuing a lucrative career on Wall Street. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has operated the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, its domestic anti-poverty and social justice program, since 1969. In 1986, the Bishops issued Economic Justice for All: Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the US Economy, which said, "Human dignity can be realized and protected only in community." Senator Obama worked in several Catholic parishes, supported by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, helping to address severe joblessness and housing needs in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods of Chicago.

Friday, September 5, 2008

About the Catholic Initiative Mocked by the Republicans



Since its start thirty-seven years ago, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) has worked to transform lives and communities, focusing steadily on breaking the cycle of poverty in thousands of communities across the United States. CCHD was established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops with a two-fold mandate to fund low-income controlled empowerment projects and to educate Catholics about the root causes of poverty within the context of the Catholic social tradition.

The work of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development is made possible by the generous donations of Catholic parishioners whose financial gifts in the annual CCHD collection, and at other times of the year, become the tools of self-reliance, self-sufficiency and self-determination for people who are motivated to break out of the cycle of poverty.

No community in the United States has more experience in helping the poor than the Catholic Church. Throughout our nation's history, Catholic Charities have been providing relief and assistance to those in need. With this singular experience with the poor, the Catholic Church determined that a complimentary initiative was needed along side Catholic Charities. CCHD does not run soup kitchens or provide short term aid to those with want. It sponsors long term solutions to break the cycle of poverty. Poor people are involved in initiating and directing CCHD sponsored projects. CCHD seeks to empower poor communities to help themselves.

Last Wednesday, two speakers at the Republican National Convention belittled the work of the Catholic Church and the Church's sponsorship of organizations like the one that hired Barack Obama as a community organizer to work on the South Side of Chicago as the steel mills were closing. Accepting a low paying position as a community organizer for a CCHD project is real evidence of having a "servant's heart."

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Alaska Governor and GOP Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin mocked the Catholic Church for her efforts to help the poor and disempowered in a nationally televised address at the Republican National Convention.

Palin’s sarcastic mocking of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s work as a community organizer for a Catholic sponsored project in cluded the statement “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities,”

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani also belittled Obama’s work as a community organizer, as the assembled Republicans laughed at the idea of serving the poor as part of a Catholic sponsored project.

Barack Obama was hired at a meager salary to direct a project sponsored by the Catholic Church through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). CCHD is the initiative of the American Catholic Bishops and laity to address the root causes of poverty and social alienation.

Dr. Patrick Whelan, a prominent Catholic layman and president of Catholic Democrats, responded to Palin, stating “Her divisive rhetoric, repeatedly pitting small towns against urban communities, demonstrates not only a lack of charity toward the needs of some of the least among us but a fundamental disrespect for those who dedicate their lives to overcoming poverty across our country.”

Palin was baptized a Catholic but never practiced the faith. She asked to be re-baptized in Protestantism and now belongs to an independent Protestant Church known for its support for the "Jews for Jesus" organization.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


[Sarah Palin is] "someone who's stopped government from wasting taxpayers' money on things they don't want or need and put it back to work for the people."

-- John McCain, August 29, 2008

Alaska gives its Governor line item veto in the state's budget. This allows her to specifically veto projects and spending she determines in wasteful and unwarranted, unpackaged from any other item. In April of this year, the Alaska Legislature sent Governor Palin the budget. Among the items she vetoed was funding for a Covenant House Alaska, a highly regarded Catholic social services shelter for troubled youth, particularly teenage mothers. Covenant House Alaska witnesses the Catholic faith by providing young mothers a place to live with their babies for up to 18 months while they gain the necessary skills and resources to change their lives.

Helping teenage unwed mothers, particularly those who are from families that cannot provide them the support they and their babies need, seems to be "wasteful government spending" to some Republicans, at least the Alaska governor.

For many Catholics, however, this is part of our comprehensive pro-life witness and a way of standing for the common good.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Christian PAC Endorses Obama - Biden

Christian PAC boosts Obama in effort to ‘broaden issues’

Washington DC, Sep 1, 2008 / (Catholic News Agency).- An advertisement from an independent political action committee (PAC) called the Matthew 25 Network is running advertisements which use religious appeals to encourage citizens to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama.

In one advertisement prominent evangelical leader Rev. Brian McLaren says “as a pastor, I know you can learn a lot about a man’s character by the way he treats his family.”

The Matthew 25 Network is a group of Evangelical, Catholic, Protestant, and Pentecostal Christians. As a PAC, the group is sponsoring radio, television and print advertisements targeting Christians, mostly broadcasting on Christian radio in a few key swing states.

Organizers claim Rev. McLaren’s advertisement is the first to use active clergy for a Democratic presidential candidate. The ad also includes Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, who has been close to President George W. Bush and recently officiated at the Texas wedding of the president’s daughter Jenna Bush.

“We’ve seen the domination of just a couple of issues surround the Christian voice in politics,” says Mara Vanderslice, the evangelical founder of the group who worked for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. “We wanted a Christian voice that better reflected the gospel values missing from the landscape.”


“People like myself get a lot of attention when we talk about issues like abortion and family life, but not when we talk about helping low-income people,” says Sharon Daly, former vice president of social policy for Catholic Charities. “Matthew 25 gives us the opportunity to try to get candidates to focus on these concerns.”

...Daly herself emphasizes that Obama became a Christian while working as a community organizer in a Catholic-sponsored program.

Daly, who once served as the director of domestic social policy for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, states she believes Catholic support for Obama will grow as “Catholics reflect on this and get to know more about him.”