How They See Us

(From the July 7 The Economist) 

Pope Benedict XVI may favour a smaller, more obedient church, but American Catholics remain a large and politically heterodox group.  Official church doctrine opposes birth control, yet American Catholic women use it at similar rates to non-Catholic women. Despite the church’s opposition to homosexuality, a 2010 Pew Foundation poll found that more American Catholic favour than oppose gay marriages. Both the Catholic priests who served in Congress were Democrats, as were all three Catholic big-party presidential nominees (Al Smith, John Kennedy and John Kerry); yet five of the six Catholic on the Supreme Court were nominated by Republican presidents.  American Catholics mostly supported Barach Obama in 2008, George Bush in 2004 and Al Gore in 2000.

Around one in four American is Catholic. That proportion has held steady for decades, largely because of immigration, but there has been a shift in American Catholicism’s centre of gravity from traditional bastions in the urban north-east both southward and westward.

That shift also has political consequences. Between 2008 and 2011 the number of American Catholics who identified themselves as, or leaning towards, the Democrats fell by five points, while those who were, or leaned, Republican rose by six; Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee enjoys a commanding lead among “very” or “moderately” religious white Catholics. Among white Catholics, the rightward drift has been more pronounced, while the opposite is true for Hispanic Catholics, 71% of whom identify or lean Democratic, as opposed to 68% in 2008.

All this suggests two things about American Catholics. First, there is no coherent “Catholic vote” that coalesces around distinct issues and cuts across ethnic lines. White Catholics largely display the political preferences of white Americans, and Hispanic Catholics of Hispanics. Catholicism contains teachings that find a natural home on America’s left (opposition to capital punishment) and on the right (opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage). Catholics of either party can find doctrines to justify their position.

Second, religious Catholics are increasingly finding common cause with other religious Christians. Several of the plaintiffs suing the HHS are represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a non-partisan law firm that defends all forms of religious expression. The plaintiffs have also found strong support among evangelical Protestants. Conservative Catholics and conservative Protestants may disagree on papal infallibility and transubstantiation, but they share a common enemy. He is in the White House.

(And what are your thought after having read this? aljagoe@comcast.net) 

Recommended readings

–  “Social Justice” in July U.S. Catholic.

–  “Love’s Greater Freedom” by Thomas Joseph White, O.P., in June/July First Things  

–  “Faith by Heart” in September 10-17 America

Roster of Joyful Catholic Priests

The media loves to publicize bad priests, and we should give recognition to our Joyful Catholic Priests. Send me your recommendation for ones you think merit membership in this splendid group. (aljagoe@comcast.net)

Fr. Anthony O’Gorman (London, UK)  NEW!
Fr. Alberto Rodriguez, (Miami)        
Fr. Robert Aufieri (New York, NY)
Fr. John M. Bauer (Minneapolis, MN)
Fr. Edmund Connors, (Katonah, NY)
Fr. Paul D.Counce (BatonRouge, LA)
Fr. Paul Duchschere (Fargo, ND)
Fr. Edward Gorman, O.P. (Providence, RI)
Fr. Andrew Gries (Washington, DC)
Msgr. Edward Filardi (Bethesda, MD)
Fr. Charles E. Jacobs, (Hartford CT)
Fr. Raymond Kemp (Washington,DC)
Bishop Joseph N. Latino (Jackson, MS)                                                         Archbishop Jerome Listecki (Milwaukee, MN)
Bishop Dennis Madden (Baltimore, MD)
Fr. Joseph Marini (San Mateo, CA)
Msgr. Joseph Mayo (Salt Lake City, UT)
Fr. John Mericantante (Pahokee, FL)
Msgr. Thomas Modugno (New York,NY)
Fr. Kevin Nelson, (Lantana, FL)
Fr. John O’Donoghue (San Antonio,TX)
Fr. Antony Pulikal (Lntana, FL)
Fr. James R. Purfield (Denver,CO)
Fr. Paul S. Quinter (Pittsburg, Pa)
Fr. Michael Radermache, (Vancouver, WA)
Msg. David Robichcaux, V.F. (New Orleans, LA)
Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi (Mobile, AL)
Msg. Paul L. Rohling (Birmingham, AL)
Fr. David Ross (Lima. OH
)
Fr. Matthew Ruhl, S.J. (Kansas City, KS)
Fr. Michael Scanlon (Steubenville,OH)
Fr. Walter J. Szezesny (Buffalo, NY)
Fr. Richard Trout (Sanford, FL)
Fr. Hayden Vaverek (New York, NY)
Fr. Malcolm Sylvester Willoughby, O.P. (Washington, DC)
Canon Stuart Wilson (London, UK)

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One thought on “

  1. It is a sad thing that some or many Catholics of America wish to go against the Church teachings on Abortion and sexual morality. Failures or sinning may be there always as humans are weak, but arguing that sin is not sin is something strange. This shows a trend for not believing in organized religion. The Catholic Church is eternal Truth in spite of its leaders’ failures and sins.

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