The following column by Hadley Arkes appeared October 23 on The Catholic Thing blog site.
In the crisp air of October, it is very much in the air, whether people are talking about it or not. The coming election hovers over everything.
The language has been overdone over the years, and so it may now be discounted when people say that this may be the most important election of the generation, the moment of a turning point. And yet it is.
The “turning” is something close to a change in the regime itself – in our understanding of the rightful ends of government, the concentration and uses of political power, and the terms of principle on which we live together as a people.
On the issues of abortion and marriage, I needn’t trouble our readers by saying again what they’ve read me saying for years. Except that certain things deserve to be said anew in every season.
We have an administration marked in its character by a Chief Executive who would not protect a child who survived an abortion, lest that protection of a child born alive would call into question the whole corpus of “abortion rights.”
That sense of things pervades his administration and finds expression in the regulations it routinely hands down, dealing with hospitals, insurance, and medical care.
If Mr. Obama gets one or two appointments to the Supreme Court, it is not merely that same-marriage is virtually certain to be imposed or that abortion becomes even more firmly fixed as part of the “established order,” quite safe from challenge. But rather, those “rights” to abortion and same-sex marriage will become part of a new orthodoxy to be imposed, as a moral requirement, on institutions and persons, private and public.
No organization that denies the rightfulness of these things will be seen as a “legitimate” organization. Catholic hospitals that will not house the surgery of abortion; doctors and nurses who will not participate in the “procedure”; agencies of adoption that will not place children with same-sex couple; justices of the peace who will not perform homosexual marriages, photographers who will refuse to take pictures at these events – all of them may be subject to sanctions of various kinds, whether losing licenses or being hit with penalties.
In his famous speech to the Cooper Union in New York, in February 1860, Lincoln noted the hard moral insistence of the partisans of slavery: Mere acquiescence in accommodating them was not enough. “Silence,” he said, “will not be tolerated – we must place ourselves avowedly with them.”
What will make them feel safe and unthreatened? “This, and this only: cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly – done in acts as well as in words.” Hence also the demand that a new “sedition law must be enacted and enforced, suppressing all declarations that slavery is wrong, whether made in politics, in presses, in pulpits, or in private.”
In other words, we have seen all of this before. It is work of a moral passion insisting on its recognition in every place, quite regardless of whether it is driven by a valid moral judgment, commending and condemning the right things.
During the second presidential debate Mr. Romney was asked about contraception. He remarked that women ought to make their own decisions here without getting their employers involved.
We cannot expect him to take the moment to raise questions about the ethic of contraception, but I wish he could have said something closer to this:
Women and men can buy contraceptives on their own, more cheaply through stores, than they can be bought through insurance; and the only rationale for imposing this requirement on employers is that the people who have moral reservations on contraception are compelled to speak the words that renounce their own convictions.
They are the words that put in place of their moral convictions the new orthodoxy of the Left.
The historian J.G. Randall complained years ago that Lincoln and Stephen Douglas had gone through Illinois in their famous debates, unsettling the countryside, and instead of focusing on what he regarded as the “real” issues – issues such as the opening of western lands or improving conditions in factories – those two politicians agitated the countryside over that moral issue of slavery. And everyone knew that there were no answers to moral questions.
Mr. Romney, in that second debate, looked into the camera and earnestly said that fixing the economy and lifting the condition of the middle class was “what this election is all about.” But of course he must know – and he has more than intimated that he knows – that the election is about far more than that.
And yet, we hear at every election, with the voice of J.G. Randall, that “the economy” is the overriding the issue. Either the political class has come to believe that the economy drives everything else, or that it is the thing that people care about most of all.
The pundits hold to that view even as many voters persistently show that they care profoundly about other things. But there was once a time when political men seemed able to talk about the questions that ran to the root of things, and find a public that took quite as seriously, as an issue, the terms of principle on which they lived as a people.
And the haunting question is: when did we cease being that people?
To read the original story, click here.
This article brings up great facts, we need to unite and place our vote on Romney…PLEASE HELP FIRE OBAMA! Whether you like Romney or not, please understand what is at stake here….Obama needs to get fired, that is our goal….the rest we can deal with as time comes but for now Obama needs to pack his bags.
Gov. Romney is not Catholic and should not be expected to state tennants of our Faith. That does not make sense.
Further the speaker’s time is very limited in a debate, and it does not help that in the first two the moderators clearly favored Obama.
It is easy to be critical, but I’m certain that even if we were in a timed televised debate before millions of people, and that the future of our beloved Country was at stake – – – that there are always things we wish we would have said when the debate is over.
Unfortunately, poll after poll proves that Romney is right – and that the majority of Americans believe it is the economy (which includes a $16 Trillion dollar debt, and joblessness).
The majority will determine our next President.
However Romney is a compassionate and moral man who wants to protect the unborn – the weakest and most innocent among us.
LifeSiteNews has just printed an article where in his capacity of his own Faith and belief system – – – that he counciled women and families against abortion.
On net go to: LifeSiteNews ” Mitt Romney made desperate push to save an unborn baby as a Mormon bishop ” – Oct 24.
Actions speak louder than words.
Gov. Romney is a moral man with strong convictions.
He actually counseled and worked with women and families to DISCOURAGE abortion.
How many Catholics in the USA can say they did the same ? ? ?
Actions speak louder than words. And Romney is not just giving lip service. (See LifeSiteNews – “Mitt Romney made desperate push to save an unborn baby as a Mormon bishop “.)
We need a man with a high moral standard in the White House.
And Romney is that man, with a real Catholic VP like Ryan,
not a known heretic and schismatic like Biden.
ABORTION, EUTHANASIA, HOMO-SEXUAL MARRIAGE, and being against FREEDOM of RELIGION are the cess pools of our soceity – and that is what OBAMA wants and likes.
Obama wants to lie in the mud with the pigs, and drag the rest of us down to do the same.
The author of the article is too critical. Pretending to know how she would act in the same situation – and that she would ALWAYS give the full answers in a timed debate – is disingenuous or niave.
No human being is perfect.
It is the economy that gets people’s attention, which is the big reason that Obama was “elected”. This country has lost it’s morals and are not concerned about the real issues, such as life and death. The Tax and Kill party, of which at one time, a long time ago, was called the Democratic Party, may it not rest in peace, will continue on it’s death march straight into hell, where Obama’s true father awaits him. Romney, as most non-catholic Christians, have been taught the lies of birth-control and abortion for incest, rape and to ‘save’ the life of the mother, at their child’s expense. This article is just a lot of fluff. +JMJ+
I think many decent politicians are afraid of making comments which can be spun against them. It is a fact that very few pregrancies result from rape, but the candidate who said this was branded a crazy lunatic. Our country is fast becoming a sewer, abandoning God, and instead worshiping the world, with all its vices. Good is evil, and evil is good. This lie has been repeated over and over again, so most Americans are beginning to believe this falsehood. Hopefully, Romney who is a practicing Mormon, will put his faith into practice, should he be elected. .Looking at Ryan, who spoke the truth when he proposed a budget, we saw how many bishops pounced on him because he was trying to move away from socialism. Because the people are so confused and brainwashed by the media, all politicians must be extremely careful, never lying, but being as wise as serpants, and as innocent as lambs
There is some explanation why the Republicans under Reagan with both houses of Congress did not wrangle an end to legal abortion. Why do we continue to expect that they will move towards that end?
Because they did not have the technology that they have today to scientifcally PROVE beyond a shadow of the doubt that life begins at conception and in 1973 the Supreme Court ruled.
They obeyed the law as set by the Supreme Court but – discouraged abortion in any legal way they knew how by actions like Reagan’s “Mexico City Policy” which required all non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive federal funding to refrain from performing or promoting abortion services as a method of family planning with non-US government funds in other countries.
The policy was enacted by Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1984, rescinded by Democratic President Bill Clinton in January 1993, re-instituted in January 2001 as Republican President George W. Bush took office, and rescinded January 23, 2009, 2 days after Democratic President Barack Obama took office.
It does matter who is President of the USA when it comes to policy.
Also, if you remember it was mostly REPUBLICANS who supported Terri Schivo from losing her life.
Here is the (non-religious) medical scientific proof we have today that was not available in the past – on net go to: ” ENDOWMENT for HUMAN DEVELOPMENT “.
I should have mentioned that the Terri Schivo case was EUTHANASIA requested by the husband who wanted to remarry, and against the wishes of her parents and siblings.
PS: There are important SENATE and HOUSE races coming up – do not neglect to vote against the Democratic Party of DEATH in most cases.
(Always check out voting records and public actions of those running for office. If you have two morally bad candidates – vote for the one who will do the least harm.)
JLS, when Reagan was president in the 80’s. Abortion had only been legalized about 10 years. I remember those times and all you ever heard was how abortion was good for women. Many people were afraid to say they were pro-life. Mostly because they didn’t have the tools to defend their side other than to say abortion was wrong.
Today is different. Many post abortive men and women are now speaking up, telling us how their abortions harmed them. In addition many former abortionist and clinic workers have since changed sides and they too are speaking up informing the public of the deception and harm the abortion industry perpetrates on teens and adult women. Pro-life education is at an all time high and very effective. It is on the web and on college campuses.
I might also add that not all Republicans are social conservatives. This was the case in the 80’s as it is today. Just look at how the Republican establishment treats the tea party conservatives. This is why it is important to back true pro-life candidates not just a political party.
And yes, more social conservatives are being elected. Look how some states have recently defunded Planned Parenthood. I believe there is reason to hope. Please do not compare today with the 80’s. Please keep on praying and fighting for an end to abortion!
Tracy, if only it were so. If it were, then the money for the pro life candidates would be sufficient to compete with the other candidates … it does not exist. The likely reason it does not exist is a. numbers of prolifers willing to supply it, and b. sufficient financial status of those willing to supply money to prolife candidates. Thirtynine years after Roe vs. Wade and the bishops continue to ignore this cause. How many generations of bishops have come and gone in these four decades? Or, can you think of anyone else who has the authority and willingness to teach the Gospel in all corners of the world, as the bishops are ordained to do? Now think about it: If the world could be transformed from death to life without bishops, then why would God have created bishops?
Yes, JLS, Silence should not be tolerated, but it is. Example, where is the L.A. Diocese while Planned Parenthood opens a sex clinic on the campus of Roosevelt high school in East LA? Where are the priests in the parishes surrounding this school? they should be alerting the mainly Latino, probably Spanish speaking only parents who haven’t been warned about what is happening to their daughters on that campus?
As I understand it there are 9 abortion clinics in that area why do they need a clinic on the campus of the high school? Catholic tax dollars paying for education are also supporting Planned Parenthood on this campus with free clinic space, office equipment, secure facilities and data collection on the students and walk-ins attending or being sent by school officials to this clinic?
Silence is not golden, it is evil, in this situation.
The bishops make a lot of noise in order to silence the really critical needs of the Gospel.
Among the long-term unemployed, a job is (or should be) the first priority. Romney rightly stresses the economic problems Obama has made so much worse, because it is his best chance to win the election. He cannot address any of America’s pressing problems without being in the White House, except perhaps by going out the lecture circuit while Obama does further serious damage. This article, in its tone would have Romney address all the things he wants to accomplish and all that he believes equally. In a political contest, that’s a great way to lose.
Romney is right.
Most Americans do believe that the ecomomy will decide the election, whether the author likes it or not.
The economy includes actions and policies related to jobs, and the national debt.
Mr. Romney has never been a Catholic. He is moral and faithful.
The author should have picked on Obama appointees – “CATHOLIC” – Joe Biden, Sebelius, Janet Napolitano to make the Catholic statements about contraception, or perhaps elected “CATHOLICS” Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, the ‘nuns on the bus’,
or many other “CATHOLIC” Democrats in the SENATE and HOUSE
At the end of August, the latest period reported by the U.S. Treasury, foreign interests held a total of $5,430,000,000,000 in U.S. government debt.
According to the Census Bureau’s latest estimate (which was for June 2012) there were 114,328,000 households in the United States. Therefore, the total U.S. government debt held by foreign interests was about $47,494.93 – – – PER HOUSEHOLD.
This does not include debt not held by foreign interests.
The voter must learn that politicians, like salesmen, couch their proposals in ways that sound acceptable to a variety of people. Listening carefully to both Romney and Obama on the subject of education and jobs reveals a close similarity in goals and objectives, if one has learned the political patois.
The NEA should be closed down immediately following eliminating Title X funding for family planning. Where does it say that the federal gov’t should control, fund, direct, train and delegate what is supposed to be local educational goals and objectives? The campaign promise to improve job opportunities and “reform”education” means, in reality, that the schools are to be used, by both Parties, to train, from a young age, the future compliant global workers with jobs planned and prepared by centralized government, to benefit society, not the worker.
Romney and Ryan, may truly not want to see government supported, promoted and funded abortion, but limiting the size of the population, while encouraging engagement in sex purely for the pleasure of the act is a distinct possibility. It will only be stopped when we, the citizens, rise up to demand true adherence to the Constitutional guarantees.
It is my estimation that electing Romney, as much as I would like to see it, will not correct the most egregiously immoral actions of government be it Planned Parenthood in the classroom, training instead of academics in the schools, progressive priests preaching the benefits of removing our country’s borders or government management of workers to the benefit of the state. Our choices for president are a socialist or a corporatist. Either way it will mean more centralized government but from different perspectives. The people themselves have to rescue themselves from this newest form of human slavery.
You must not have watched the same debates that I did.
It does make a difference.
Please re-read the info provided by WatchingMediaNow, particularly on the Mexico City Policy.
Gov Romney is against abortion for convenience – which is 99% of all abortions.
Why in the world do you think that Planned Parenthood is putting so much money into the Obama campaign ?
Try thinking for yourself sometime…spend some time in quiet reflection. You sound like a recording of one of cynical talking heads one hears on the tv when sitting in the doctor’s office…regurgitated pap
There are two ways to listen. First is following prayer for discernment. The second is just to listen to the sound without understanding.
You have been underutilizing your gift of discernment. When one begins to look behind the slogans and loud clanging cymbals one can perceive the truth behind the slogan. For instance, when both Obama and Romney talk about creating jobs and reforming education, you hear what they want you to hear. The deeper meaning is that the federal government wants to and, in fact, is well into controlling both education which is more like indoctrination than the transference of academic knowledge and pre-planning the jobs futures for everyone based on their objective of global dominance while being handicapped with limited human understanding and perception of future employment and business. What you fail to see is that every year the state legislators submit about 4000 bills for passage, each one of those adding to or subtracting from the original intend of previous legislation or state and federal constitution. A certain percentage of these bills pass every year, like a thousand or so. This means that over the years, the legislators have been manipulating and re-arranging our freedoms one little bill at a time. It’s like the old saw about how does one swallow an elephant? The answer; one bite at a time.
So, Camille, if you do not like corporatism, then go live somewhere where there is none. Take a bottle with a cork and a slip of paper and a pencil with you, so you can communicate with with the rest of the world.
It is ultimately up to the bishops to discipline the nations, per the Great Commission. Without the participation of the bishops all together in the Great Commission, there will not be a reversal of the “slide towards Gomorrah”.
Well, JLS, we really are in trouble aren’t we then? Where does your responsibility come into play to see that the bishops adhere to this mandate? Are you merely a piece of clay to be molded by other, imperfect, human hands?
Camille, about the only thing one can do to steer the bishops in the right direction is pray and work for their conversion. My work on it is this blogging. If you see me as clay being molded by people, that is your dream world. I suggest you read the works of Bl John Paul II on the matter of human nature, and also look into what the Church teaches about our relationship potential with God.
That is an excellent article. If only the USCCB would put out a statement so clearly identifying the key moral issues in unambiguous terms that anyone could understand.
I recently attended a Catholic Media Coalition annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. While I was there I picked up a copy of the Archdiocesan Newsrag so called “People of God”. Until I read that rag, I could not understand why I saw so many Obama bumper stickers in what is supposed to be a Catholic State.
Just reading one article by Fr. Francis Garcia ;you guessed it, S.J., gave a clear indication of what has happened in that poor State. The article was titled “The Complexity of Discernment for the Catholic Voter” and it was based on, you guessed it again, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship”. It was a clear pathway for “Catholics” to vote for the Obamanation. After all, 50 million and counting dead babies is not always as important as the ammoral Welfare State!
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
This is what happens when any Diocese or Parish does NOT promote the reading of the “CATECHISM of the CATHOLIC CHURCH, Second Edition” by everyone of voting age.
Many catholics do not properly know their Faith, about abortion, euthanasia, homo-sexual marriage, and freedom of religion – which are all strongly covered in the CCC.
Without good teaching, heretics and schismatics can cause confusion.
The devil loves confusion.
To anyone reading this: Please go to: ” What Catholics REALLY Believe SOURCE ” on the internet.
Take the time to read it in entirety.
Please forward a link to the site to others in your email address book.
We can spread the word ourselves in spite of some lazy Bishops, Priests, or Nuns.
Knowing faith does not make much difference unless one also exercises reason. Catholic education systems do not always teach kids how to reason, but rather they program them with propaganda.
Andy good comments but I also agree with JLS about one exercising good reason as well. My grandmum never had a CCC but she knew the faith so well because growing up in Mexico, she had really good priests who actually Catechized well their flock and she even memorized holy scripture too. Have discussion in detail on the early writings of the doctors of the church as well.
But I guess that good folks who don’t know their faith well can begin with reading their Bible with the CCC and then dig deeper to early church fathers and the lives of the saints.
The number one issue in political campaigns in recent history at the national and state levels is the economy……being unemployed, having great difficulty making the mortgage payment even if you are working, being unable to finance your child’s college education, not taking a vacation because you can’t afford it, going without medicalt exams or dental care because it’s a luxury, all these painful situations focus a voter’s mind on the economy like nothing else can. Even those of us who opposed abortion would like to have a steady job, right? The Church’s constant social issue focus is taking a back seat in this election, as it should. Once Romney is elected, then you can approach him on social issues. We shouldn’t gum up the works by alienating moderate voters who think Romney is right on the economy even if he is not a spear carrier for the anti abortion crowd. “In politics, timing is everything” is a truism that was never more true right now. Let’s get Romney in first, then we can talk about other things.