Video: Catholic bishop becomes Republican over abortion, same-sex marriage

posted at 2:01 pm on August 15, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

The Republican Party picked up a convert recently, WPRI reported on Tuesday evening, and one of a rather remarkable nature. Disgusted by the spectacle of the celebration of abortion at the Democratic National Convention in 2012 and the recent passage of same-sex marriage in Rhode Island, the leader of Catholic Church in the state has changed his political affiliation from Democrat to Republican — and isn’t too shy to explain why (via CNS News):

Bishop Tobin now a registered Republican, turned off by Dems’ 2012 campaign

“The a-ha moment for me was the 2012 Democratic National Convention – it was just awful,” said Tobin on Tuesday before a meeting of the Rhody Young Republicans in Providence.  Tobin is 65 and has been a registered Democrat since 1969.

“I just said I can’t be associated structurally with that group, in terms of abortion and NARAL and Planned Parenthood and [the] same-sex marriage agenda and cultural destruction I saw going on,” said Tobin, as first reported by Ted Nesi at WPRI.com.  “I just couldn’t do it anymore.”

“I’ve changed my party registration now, but the fact is that the registration itself doesn’t mean a whole lot to me,” said Tobin.

He scolded fellow Catholics in politics for the same-sex marriage vote.  However, Tobin won’t impose ecclesiastic penalties for the differences that arose:

Tobin reiterated his disappointment that Rhode Island legalized same-sex marriage, describing it as “a failure” on the part of him personally and the Catholic Church statewide. “I was profoundly disappointed that some of our Catholics who were trained to be faithful and well-educated Catholics … abandoned the ship on this issue,” the bishop said. “We needed them.”

“Ultimately, their judgment will be up to God,” Tobin said. Asked if he was still in dialogue with them, the bishop said: “Not anymore.”

Yet Tobin shied away when state Rep. Doreen Costa, R-North Kingstown, and others in the audience suggested he should look for ways to punish Catholic politicians who take votes that contradict church doctrine, saying his options were limited. “It’s a complex world and a complex church,” Tobin said, adding that on other issues some of those same lawmakers “are very good and very supportive.”

Of course, we’ve been down this road before on the growing distance between the Catholic Church and the Democratic Party.  My Townhall colleague Daniel Doherty wonders how any Catholic could remain a Democrat, let alone a bishop:

This must have been a long time coming, no? How a Catholic priest could ever support a president, let alone a political party, that increasingly supports abortion-on-demand is beyond me …

Of course this is not to say that every self-professed Catholic is pro-life or supports traditional marriage. Many do not. But the truth is that the Democratic Party has shifted so far to the Left in recent years on the issue of abortion that pro-life Democrats are harder to come by. There’s simply no room for Bishop Tobin (or any Catholic leader or lay person) in the Democratic Party who is fully committed to defending the unborn. The Eunice Kennedys of the world are a dying breed. And Catholic leaders, it seems, are finally starting to realize this.

No doubt many Catholic Republicans feel exactly the same way.  I tend to agree, but it’s a little more nuanced than that for many Catholics, as I wrote last year.  While for many of us, the question of abortion is so fundamental that it overrides all other concerns for active charity, for others it’s a question of balance:

Some of our readers express surprise that faithful Catholics can ever be Democrats in the first place.  Conservatives — especially pro-life conservatives — focus on Democratic Party support for abortion and declare the party anathema, and I have a lot of sympathy for that position, quite obviously.  The heart of the Catholic mission is the dignity and sacredness of human life as a reflection of our creator God, a dignity and sacredness that begins at conception, a consistent teaching of the Catholic Church for two thousand years.  It’s the very basis of our teachings on social justice; without that acknowledgment of dignity granted by God, social justice becomes a hobby rather than a calling, and humanity is reduced to utilitarianism.  Why bother spending public and private money on the poor and infirm if they could have been discarded with no consequences at the earliest stages of their lives?

However, while Republicans and conservatives embrace the pro-life part of the equation, they tend to run away from the social-justice mission that must necessarily follow from that pro-life embrace.  In fact, the very term social justice inevitably creates hostility, in part because some confuse it with liberation theology, a philosophy that the Catholic Church has rejected, including our present Pope Benedict XVI, who decried much of it as a “Marxist myth” while still Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.  Social justice is nothing more or less than the mission to which Jesus Christ called his church — the care of the poor, the infirm, the imprisoned, and the hopeless.  It is a call to Christians of all denominations to ensure that we share our blessings with those less fortunate and find ways to lift them out of their misery, as brothers and sisters under God, conceived in the same dignity and sacredness as were we all. …

In fact, try reading the position papers at the USCCB website to see how some liberal Catholics might rightly ask how Catholics can be conservatives, especially on immigration policyhealth care, the death penalty, economic justice and safety-net spending, and so on.  However, a thorough reading of these positions offers lessons to Catholics across the political spectrum.  The bishops do not make these doctrinal positions, but instead offer their considered (and very nuanced) approach to these issues that relate to the church’s social-justice mission, with plenty of acknowledgment of well-intentioned disagreement on how best to achieve success in these and many other areas.  That is why bishops and pastors wisely treat these subjects with a great deal of respect for diversity of opinion in the parishes themselves, and rarely if ever lecture on these positions from the pulpit or insinuate that disagreement separates parishioners from the church or Eucharist.

I’d argue that support for abortion is one of those few issues that actually does separate Catholics from the Eucharist, as defined by the catechism, which is careful to condition that separation on the form that support takes.  But many liberal Catholics oppose abortion while finding the GOP’s focus on reduced government to be the same as abandonment of the poor and disadvantaged (an impression which Republican candidates tend to exacerbate with their rhetoric), which is why those Catholics tend to vote Democratic.  I disagree with that choice, but understand it in the context of the faith.  Bishop Tobin was apparently among them until very recently, and even in his affiliation change announcement stated that his unofficial affiliation changes depending on the issue involved.  As The Anchoress put it (and carried by Catholic Canada) in reaction to my June 2012 post:

A point I frequently try to make, around here, is that Catholicism is too large, too wide, too nuanced, too small-c-catholic to permit ideological purity. Catholic politicians or ideologues who manage such “purity” have always had to betray a tenet of Catholicism to get to that place.

Our faith does not fit neatly into ideological paradigms.  At some point, though, one has to act publicly to express a danger in political and cultural direction. I would not be at all surprised if more Catholics reached that conclusion after the Democratic National Convention last year, either. Bishop Tobin has made a wise choice to act and speak as a shepherd for his diocese.

Update: The Catholic Canada post originated with The Anchoress; I’ve updated it accordingly.


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But he knows him some Christians! One of them once looked at him cross-eyed.

CurtZHP on August 15, 2013 at 4:48 PM

He comments on basically three things:

Religion, abortion, and homosexuality. He’s a dimwit.

CW on August 15, 2013 at 4:53 PM

News that someone was motivated by hatred of gays to become a Republican is exactly the kind of news that the Democrats would like broadcast everywhere. Bishop Tobin isn’t doing the GOP any favor.

thuja on August 15, 2013 at 5:35 PM

Being good, standing for the Truth, and involving yourself in the political life of your community in a beneficial way does not require being a registered Republican.
jarden on August 15, 2013 at 4:23 PM

It does rule out being a registered Democrat, though.

whatcat on August 15, 2013 at 5:44 PM

Catholics might rightly ask how Catholics can be conservatives, especially on immigration policy, health care, the death penalty, economic justice and safety-net spending, and so on.

Oh BS. Conservative Catholics believe that legal immigration is just fine. Economic justice is what? I don’t know what that means. Poor people should be rich?

Safety-net spending is fine. Spending to get votes is not.

Vince on August 15, 2013 at 5:46 PM

Sorry, but I have to say that this guy probably isn’t too bright if he didn’t read the writing on the wall decades ago.

UltimateBob on August 15, 2013 at 2:35 PM

I agree. I have voted for one Democrat in my life. I was 18 and the candidate was LBJ. Haven’t voted for a Dem since. It should not take that long if you’ve got a functioning brain cell.

Oldnuke on August 15, 2013 at 5:48 PM

Another troll with a very limited ability to post on more than one or two topics strikes.

Thuja where did he say he hated gays? Grow up .

CW on August 15, 2013 at 5:48 PM

I don’t understand the wishy-washy approach to social justice. Christians are constantly allowing themselves to by battered into agreeing they should support wealth transfer via the government. The simplist way I can come up to explain this is that, as a Christian, we are commanded to give/help the poor. We are not commanded to force our neighbor to do so. There is one of the Ten Commandments that talks of it not being acceptable to steal from your neighbor. How you square up holding a gun to your neighbor (thats what the IRS does) and demanding he give you (the government) his money so you can give it someone you determine is in need is beyond me. The very act of taking from said neighbor is stealing and that is a sin. Therefore, this interpretation of social justice is a sin.

As a Christian I can’t support it.

FoByFo on August 15, 2013 at 5:51 PM

A little slow there, bud. You’ve obviously been duped for eons. So, now I guess you can help ensure more RINO’s get elected, eh?

Gr88888t…….

98ZJUSMC on August 15, 2013 at 5:55 PM

I thought social justice meant I should get more dates withe pretty girls.

Meremortal on August 15, 2013 at 6:06 PM

News that someone was motivated by hatred of gays to become a Republican is exactly the kind of news that the Democrats would like broadcast everywhere. Bishop Tobin isn’t doing the GOP any favor.

thuja on August 15, 2013 at 5:35 PM

Cut him some slack. The titular head of the Democrat party and our current president was officially a hater of gays not much longer than a year ago.

gwelf on August 15, 2013 at 6:22 PM

Bumper sticker idea: SOCIAL JUSTICE IS NEITHER.

Doug Piranha on August 15, 2013 at 6:28 PM

However, while Republicans and conservatives embrace the pro-life part of the equation, they tend to run away from the social-justice mission that must necessarily follow from that pro-life embrace. In fact, the very term social justice inevitably creates hostility…

With all due respect…the Church was called to social justice.

But liberals — see Pelosi — want to use that as an excuse for larger, more intrusive government…and they use that to penalize those that will not “bow.”

Still with all due respect…some of the letters from the Conferences of American Bishops — in addition to to sounding extremely Marxist and liberation “theology-ist” — either willfully or ignorantly conflate the distinction between government and church.

One of the elements of the Catholic social justice tradition is subsidiarity. Marxism, socialism, and Pelosi-ism are — to my mind — wholly hostile to this, and I’m not sure that the bishops are always cognizant of these “nuances.” Moreover, the dignity of the individual is fundamental in that tradition, but abusive governments are hardly supporters of the dignity of the individual. Immigration is but one example of the bishops being overly selective in how the Gospel is to be understood and applied. They would do well to remember that it is Law and Gospel. (else why bother with repentance?)

I think it might have taken him so long to recognize the problem because he was indeed so steeped in the liberal ideology that is integral to the American Bishops’ outlook.

Again…with all due respect.

EastofEden on August 15, 2013 at 6:35 PM

I cringe when I see one of our Eucharistic ministers drive home from Mass in her car with Obama stickers. I can’t be the only one who notices.
-
BTW, several weeks our pastor (NY Archdiocese) mentioned from the pulpit, that the church supports amnesty. It was not an impromptu remark.

diogenes on August 15, 2013 at 7:12 PM

Really slow learner if that is what it took.

astonerii on August 15, 2013 at 7:12 PM

Charity is not Charity if it is imposed by the boot of the state. Charity is only Charity if it comes from willing people giving of their own by choice.

Otherwise it’s just Government theft via redistribution of wealth.

Liberals love to remind us of the separation between Church and State. Let there be a separation then and quit involving the State in matters that do not belong to it.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on August 15, 2013 at 7:14 PM

This will end well.

Schadenfreude on August 15, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Sounds like a sinister plan to gather them in one place.

theCork on August 15, 2013 at 7:15 PM

Social justice is nothing more or less than the mission to which Jesus Christ called his church — the care of the poor, the infirm, the imprisoned, and the hopeless.

No. That is not what “social justice” means, no matter how much you want it to mean that. “social justice” means using the levers of government coercion to engineer society in a particular direction. The fascism is excused by saying “we have good intentions, we just want to help the poor/hungry/unfortunate of the nation” but it is still all about power and control.

alwaysfiredup on August 15, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Exactly right.

And the first clue should be in the second word: “social justice.” Clearly, that’s meant to say that being poor is an injustice, and that idea did not come from God or the Bible at all, but from secular progressives. Frankly, the fact that this is a widespread belief among Catholics is disgraceful. The fact that many in Catholic leadership actively promote the idea is inexcusable.

By effectively endorsing the term, “social justice,” the Catholic church has essentially endorsed the welfare state and encouraged people to look to the government for help rather than to God.

Outsiders often wonder how Catholics who believe abortion is murder and that the world needs faith in God will go right ahead voting for the secular left that cherishes abortion above all other beliefs and hates any semblance of Christian morality. Most of it probably goes back to this foolishness about adopting “social justice” funnelled through the government rather than supporting the poor through actual charity.

There Goes the Neighborhood on August 15, 2013 at 7:17 PM

With all due respect…the Church was called to social justice.
EastofEden on August 15, 2013 at 6:35 PM

You’re speaking there of edicts and such generated by the Vatican for Catholics?

whatcat on August 15, 2013 at 7:17 PM

You’re speaking there of edicts and such generated by the Vatican for Catholics?

whatcat on August 15, 2013 at 7:17 PM

I could have been clearer, I guess.

I don’t think conservatives abandon the social justice mission of the small “c” catholic church at all. I think they object to it being co-opted by liberals to rationalize big government and socialist practices.

The message of the New Testament, the source of the social justice tradition, was intended for the church and individuals; it was not a prescription for government policy.

And in fact, if you look at many of the statements by American bishops, you will often find them conflating government policy with the mission of the church. And many of them tend to confuse social justice with a welfare state. Many are indeed sympathetic to liberation theology. But that’s another matter, I guess.

That’s what I was trying to point out…respectfully.

EastofEden on August 15, 2013 at 8:16 PM

EastofEden is completely right. Social.justice is huge in the Church. I guess lots of American Catholics have missed what has been coming out of Francis’ mouth since his election. It isn’t an endorsement of the virtues of the capitalist system. The Church is highly critical of any economic system. That is the job of religion.. to criticize excesses.

Illinidiva on August 15, 2013 at 8:32 PM

Really slow learner if that is what it took.

astonerii on August 15, 2013 at 7:12 PM

Agreed. How much obvious hostility to Catholics do Democrats have to offer before these brainiacs put 2 and 2 together.

virgo on August 15, 2013 at 8:44 PM

The message of the New Testament, the source of the social justice tradition, was intended for the church and individuals; it was not a prescription for government policy.
EastofEden on August 15, 2013 at 8:16 PM

I would disagree with the portrayal (and term) of “social justice” as a New Testament thing. It was not the message the New Testament sought to convey, “The Message” of the NT is the gospel of salvation from sin.
As a way of living, Jesus taught the “Golden Rule”, in various forms, for individuals to follow. He issued no corporate church rules on dealing with societal issues. When the church in Jerusalem somehow got a notion to provide welfare for local Christians (Book Of Acts, early chapters), it didn’t work out very well at all. It caused people to get their noses outta joint, saw attempted fraud and they were always broke, going by Paul’s ongoing solicitations for that church.

whatcat on August 15, 2013 at 8:56 PM

whatcat on August 15, 2013 at 8:56 PM

I don’t disagree over the fundamental message of the NT.

The NT is the source of the social justice traditions in the Catholic church….that’s how it’s ultimately justified, especially if you look at the various documents that constitute Catholic Social Teaching.

But wasn’t my concern.

My concern was about a tradition that can in no way be construed as an outline for government policy. It is sometimes however treated that way, even by clergy and the laity. And it is most certainly co-opted by liberals, e.g., Pelosi, Biden, when it suits their purpose.

EastofEden on August 15, 2013 at 10:03 PM

Yet Tobin shied away when state Rep. Doreen Costa, R-North Kingstown, and others in the audience suggested he should look for ways to punish Catholic politicians who take votes that contradict church doctrine, saying his options were limited. “It’s a complex world and a complex church,” Tobin said, adding that on other issues some of those same lawmakers “are very good and very supportive.”

Climbing in bed for a few government dollars has cost the Church the meaning of Marriage and forced them into the abortion business.

He’s learned nothing, he should have stayed with the Democrats.

RJL on August 15, 2013 at 10:56 PM

A point I frequently try to make, around here, is that Catholicism is too large, too wide, too nuanced, too small-c-catholic to permit ideological purity. Catholic politicians or ideologues who manage such “purity” have always had to betray a tenet of Catholicism to get to that place.

I would submit that those who strive for purity have a greater grasp of Catholicism than those who don’t.

Ed, do you really think that Nancy Pelosi understands her Church? I realize that’s a judgement call, but we are called to judge, as we shall be judged. Scripture, Tradition, and that which derives from those — the Catechism — calls us to judge both ourselves and others.

And while gentle correction is often what is required, there are those cases where the ban hammer is needed — at least for a while.

unclesmrgol on August 15, 2013 at 10:58 PM

EastofEden on August 15, 2013 at 8:16 PM

To put it another way — salvation is individual — an arrangement between a single person and God. All of our acts proceed from the individual.

For a liberal, such individual acts include voting to tax others who have greater means at a greater level. They think they are helping the poor this way, but they are instead stealing from others — as their vote is a method of theft.

When Jesus encountered the rich young man, he did not have his disciples take the wealth of the man and distribute it — he gave the young man a choice. At every point in the interaction, the man had the free will to do what Jesus told him to do — or not.

If you take the wealth of the rich young man and give it away, you have not saved him — and you certainly have not saved yourself.

Almsgiving is, and must be, private.

unclesmrgol on August 15, 2013 at 11:03 PM

unclesmrgol on August 15, 2013 at 11:03 PM

No real objection.

EastofEden on August 15, 2013 at 11:07 PM

unclesmrgol. And pray tell, how does Pope Francis’ teachings on social justice square with your views on Catholicism? Or do you understand Catholicism better than the Holy Father?

I’m a moderate Republican who understands that Catholic social teaching is way to the left of the Republican platform. I’m fine with this because I believe the Church has a different role than the State. The Church is helping us strive for an ideal society while the State is dealing with reality.

Illinidiva on August 16, 2013 at 12:03 AM

I always felt the Church provided a needed counter balance to unfettered capitalism which in the extreme can treat humans as chattel.

But there are still too many who view charity as a collective activity rather than an individual one.

Iblis on August 16, 2013 at 12:18 AM

The Democratic party has become extremely socialist. Regardless of the seemingly convenient social justice associations, the goal of ALL socialists is to place the state ABOVE all religons.

The real question is when will EVERY Christian realize this simple fact.

The Democratic socialist government is all the belief system you will be allowed to PRAY to. Non-believers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law!

Freddy on August 16, 2013 at 1:43 AM

Any tenet that focuses on the govt to mete out social justice is not grounded in the Bible. Period. Our faith calls on us to individually and as a church to provide charity. Charity via govt is an ultimate evil in that the payer (govt) gets to call the shots even if contrary to the faith. As for the welfare cases, it should be a no brainer that the 1st principle is that in order to eat, one must work in whatever way possible. This is not to negate soup kitchens or rescue mission, nevertheless the goal should be a helping hand up, not handouts in perpetuity. This is where the Catholics are guilty of letting their emotion rather than reason bring us to this welfare state over the decades. Better late than never but there is serious damage to unwind.

AH_C on August 15, 2013 at 3:53 PM

And this is why I left the Church and ended my St. Vincent de Paul charity work.

I concluded I was endangering my own soul and the soul of clients by doing what really was the Devil’s work, as opposed to what Christ REALLY preached.

No more.

You finance the squalor, you take from others, you take their dignity away, etc. you are not walking with Christ but are in fact a fool.

KirknBurker on August 16, 2013 at 3:36 AM

The liberal version of “social justice” is nothing more than coveting.

tommyboy on August 16, 2013 at 4:08 AM

FoByFo on August 15, 2013 at 5:51 PM

Bravo Zulu, Fo.

I was raised Catholic, but was always offended by the Church embracing big government solutions to social justice. In doing so, they were un-Christian in their politics and they wound up up making a deal with the devil, which Rhode Island Bishop has only now comprehended.

And now the Church has reaped what it has sown – Obamacare forces all Catholics to pay for the slaughter of their unborn countrymen.

Jesus calls us to the service of others. In answering this call, the difference between liberals and conservatives is that conservatives answer with their savings and their sweat, while liberals answer by delegating it. Look at any survey – liberals are miserly when it comes to charity and selfish with their time. Conservatives give more of their money and selves to charity than liberals ever will. Working class conservatives will give more to charity than rich liberals.

When I took over finances for my mom and dad, who were living on Social Security and their savings, I discovered they were giving more to charity in a year than what the government was paying them.

Liberals – AND CATHOLIC LEADERS – are COWARDS. They have failed to answer Christ’s call, yet they puff themselves up with pride at forcing others to carry the burden of their duty.

I have nothing but contempt.

Cricket624 on August 16, 2013 at 9:24 AM

And now the Church has reaped what it has sown – Obamacare forces all Catholics to pay for the slaughter of their unborn countrymen.

Last year a nation of 70 million Catholics gave over half a billion dollars to Planned Parenthood. How is this possible?

Because most of our bishops are socialists first, pro-lifers second. They will accept anything if its part of the socialist agenda.

shinty on August 16, 2013 at 9:35 AM

unclesmrgol. And pray tell, how does Pope Francis’ teachings on social justice square with your views on Catholicism? Or do you understand Catholicism better than the Holy Father?

I’m a moderate Republican who understands that Catholic social teaching is way to the left of the Republican platform. I’m fine with this because I believe the Church has a different role than the State. The Church is helping us strive for an ideal society while the State is dealing with reality.

Illinidiva on August 16, 2013 at 12:03 AM

They square entirely. Are you saying that the Church, which is concerned with the redemption of individual souls — and teaches that said redemption is associated with individual acts — “in what I have done and what I have failed to do” — teaches that stealing money through the ballot box — or providing one person advantage over another through said ballot box — is good?

I don’t see it. The means of Catholic social justice — the path to a just society — is outlined in the places I have mentioned.

Try this portion of the Catechism, which describes the place for private goods in a just Catholic society in which a primal commandment is “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”. I see no difference between what Pope Francis — or, putting some putative cult of adoration of Francis aside, any Pope — has taught and the words of the Catechism.

http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s2c2a7.htm

The Church has, over and over, quashed the concept of “liberation theology” in which a putative right of the poor to take the possessions of the rich is put forth.

http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s2c2a9.htm

I’m put two sections of the Catechism up which deal with unequal distribution of assets in society, and the need for individual acts to remedy same. None of the other Articles in the Catechism counter this. Note again that the Catechism is firmly rooted in both Scripture and Tradition. I pointed out how in Jesus’ interaction with the rich young man, he does nothing which counters the above teachings, and does much which sustains them.

I would suggest that your proclaimed title of “moderate Catholic” needs to be burnished with a bit of informed conscience. Then you will see that the word “moderate” is an indication that you are something other than fully Catholic — that you see some need to discard elements of your faith which do not meet your world view. In my mind, that is something to be guarded against in thought, word, deed.

As the latter citation of the Catechism states (see 2516), we are all imperfect beings striving to achieve the perfection God’s teachings can give to us. Each person will approach those teachings through a lens of their own experience, but the Church tries to show us the truth undistorted by said individual lenses of experience.

I certainly can see defects in individual Republican positions relative to my Church. I am for open immigration (a position obviously held by the Church) and against the death penalty (ditto), and for compensation to the Palestinians (some of whom are Christians) by those who sinfully took their land. The Republicans, in my mind, hew in most other ways far more closely to the teachings of the Church than the Democrats. The respective party platforms show this in a very hard light.

That the Democrats denied God three times in a vote at their Convention is telling. Quite so.

unclesmrgol on August 16, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Actually, there is another consideration that will cause pro-life, church-going Catholics to vote Democratic – the anti-military, anti-war position. During the Bush years, I knew many Catholics who were anti-war and felt that that concern for human life trumped all other concerns and essentially forced them to vote for Democrats. My mother-in-law came from Hungary to the US after WWII and is virulently anti-war because of her experiences. She will never, ever vote for a Republican because she thinks the GOP promotes war. She and other pro-life Catholics justify their votes in their minds based on the premise that being anti-war saves more lives than being anti-abortion.

inmypajamas on August 16, 2013 at 10:21 AM

The Church has, over and over, quashed the concept of “liberation theology” in which a putative right of the poor to take the possessions of the rich is put forth.

It is true that there is a paragraph somewhere in the 2500′s of the catechism which addresses what you mention, uncle… however…

Have you ever heard this mentioned in the hundreds of homilies you’ve sat through? Or anywhere else where Catholics routinely gather or read?

A line or two out of the thousands from the catechism apparently hasn’t been enough to counteract Catholic leaders’ (from bishops to priests to academics to other professional Catholics) consistent agitation for more wealth redistribution and bigger government.

shinty on August 16, 2013 at 11:06 AM

shinty on August 16, 2013 at 11:06 AM

Yes, I have.

As for Catholic leaders, you are right — many act in ways counter to the message of the Church. Their motives may be faultless, but as has often been said, the road to Hell is paved with good intention….

We saw that in the case of the Bishops, who felt that Obamacare — the so called Affordable Care Act — was a good thing — that the poor would now have healthcare and that “society” would pay for it.

When the other edge of the sword — a requirement for everyone to pay for abortifacients and contraceptives — when that other edge bit, they rethought their position. But not enough. Forcing me to pay for someone else’s healthcare — or forcing someone else to pay for my healthcare — does neither of our souls any good. One has been robbed of a chance for almsgiving by an agent of the other.

When these bishops and priests and academics agitate for more wealth redistribution, they are uttering words completely at variance to the inalterable teachings of the Church. And as for the size of government, Scripture, tradition, catechism — the Church — is mute on exactly which size is right. But as for the qualities of such a government — the Church has much to say, and none of it involves stealing.

unclesmrgol on August 16, 2013 at 1:01 PM

Disgusted by the spectacle of the celebration of abortion at the Democratic National Convention in 2012…

Ed…is that you talking, or the Bishop…the ‘celebration of abortion’?
Try and leave the crass stridency to the Westboro Baptist types.

verbaluce on August 16, 2013 at 2:43 PM

Is the Bishop’s (and Ed’s) goal to make abortion illegal, or is it to reduce abortions?

verbaluce on August 16, 2013 at 2:45 PM

Is the Bishop’s (and Ed’s) goal to make abortion illegal, or is it to reduce abortions?

verbaluce on August 16, 2013 at 2:45 PM

Abortion is, according to the Church, identical to murder. Whatever a just society does with respect to murder, it ought to do with abortion.

unclesmrgol on August 16, 2013 at 2:56 PM

When you begin to frame charity as social and/or economic justice, you’ve lost me. Charity is a gift, not an entitlement, and it has nothing to do with justice.

cheeflo on August 16, 2013 at 5:19 PM

unclesmrgol on August 16, 2013 at 1:01 PM

Just for clarity’s sake, uncle, you’re saying you’ve heard it in a homily – that using the IRS to take your neighbors’ money for the government to redistribute – is not in keeping with church teaching?

If that is the case, you have heard an incredibly rare message from the Catholic church.

I think it doesn’t really matter what the catechism says in a line or two amongst the hundreds of its pages… It matters more what our church leaders have repeatedly taught over the decades.

Our priests & bishops give up their rights when they submit to the central authority of the church. We shouldn’t be surprised when we learn they think everyone should do the same for the federal government. That’s the type of personality our church government tends to attract…

shinty on August 16, 2013 at 5:23 PM

Disgusted by the spectacle of the celebration of abortion at the Democratic National Convention in 2012…

Ed…is that you talking, or the Bishop…the ‘celebration of abortion’?
Try and leave the crass stridency to the Westboro Baptist types.

verbaluce on August 16, 2013 at 2:43 PM

You’d be hard pressed to characterize the 2012 Democratic National Convention as anything other than a celebration of abortion. Abortion was the foundation of their platform.

And I wouldn’t characterize the vagaries of Westboro Baptist Church “types” as mere crass stridency. It is undisguised hate.

cheeflo on August 16, 2013 at 5:30 PM

I’m a moderate Republican who understands that Catholic social teaching is way to the left of the Republican platform. I’m fine with this because I believe the Church has a different role than the State. The Church is helping us strive for an ideal society while the State is dealing with reality.

Illinidiva on August 16, 2013 at 12:03 AM

I struggled with this for a long time. I’m a cradle Catholic – 12 years of Catholic school, and currently a Catholic school teacher. In my 20s, early in my teaching career, I tended left politically because I thought that those priorities, mainly spending on the poor, supported my personal beliefs.

I had my own a-ha moment when a good friend of mine – a “social justice” teacher no less – pointed out to me that what he taught in that course is that we are supposed to build the kingdom of God. It was so subtle I missed it the first time. WE are supposed to build the kingdom of God. We can do it individually or collectively through our parish or favorite charity. He did not teach that government policy is a solution to poverty. Or racism. Or any -ism. We can’t turn over building the kingdom to the government, because then we are not involved anymore.

I concluded that looking to the government to build the kingdom of God was not only unrealistic, but suicidal. Once the state becomes the great provider of all things, who needs God? Looking to Europe and their religious decline, I think the answer is very few.

I agree with you that the Church has a different role from the State, and I agree with the commenter that we need their voice to criticize. I just think the Church lost its way when it started thinking that government policies could do its work and started advocating government involvement in those issues.

pascelle on August 16, 2013 at 9:36 PM

shinty on August 16, 2013 at 5:23 PM

It is more than just a line or two in the Catechism. Look at the Scripture which those one or two lines reference, and there you are.

As for me, I remain Catholic and American. I do not want my Church and my State commingled in ways other than that outlined in the First Amendment and in Scripture.

We Catholics do interact with the Government — particularly as voters — and the Government is in some ways a reflection of our views. But there are lots of non-Catholic voters who also interact in that way, and so the Government is not Catholic by any stretch.

If it were, it would depend totally upon voluntary donations — alms — for its functioning, and all of its actions would be the result of freely offered work of our hands.

But we have a so called progressive tax — in which some people take but do not give, and the ones who give are forced to do so. Caesar is not God — as Jesus reminded the Pharisees as he avoided their attempt to trap him into denouncing the Romans. We have an obligation to pay our taxes, as Jesus reminded us, but in a democracy, those who impose said taxes for their own benefit — who force others to pay for that which is not common to all — are thieves and scoundrels. And a grasping Ceasar who is a democracy makes us all who vote for it thieves.

As for what the Church is — it is not a democracy. God did not make it so. If it were, can you imagine what its teachings might be today? And with that thought, I hold our bishops and priests responsible for teaching the true faith — not something which is constructed out of the local modern viewpoint, for Jesus constructed a Church which is for all ages. Remember: From age to age He gathers to Himself a people… It is not that from age to age the people gather to themselves a new god…

Indeed, the motives of many who support ObamaCare are not unGodly — they are an attempt to render to the poorest access to healthcare — a motive fully in keeping with that expressed in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. But in its enactment have come impositions of taxes which fund things which are completely counter to Christian teachings — and we as Christians cannot pay those taxes, and must agitate for their removal. Its mandates for price caps take away the property of others under the sovereignty of government. The other part of the equation is rendering unto God — and God has always told us that we have free will in that respect. We will be Judged, but we have free will.

unclesmrgol on August 17, 2013 at 1:27 PM

I concluded that looking to the government to build the kingdom of God was not only unrealistic, but suicidal. Once the state becomes the great provider of all things, who needs God? Looking to Europe and their religious decline, I think the answer is very few.

pascelle on August 16, 2013 at 9:36 PM

Every state provides for its citizens on the basis of taxation. How much or how little the state provides is of no consequence. It is what you provide of your own free will in private almsgiving that is important to God. For the rest is taken from you in the form of taxes, and I doubt there is a person among us who willingly pays all of their taxes. I doubt even that liberals pay theirs willingly — listen to them gripe about the cost of national defense to understand.

If you think a government, no matter how much it gives, can ever supplant God, then you think that God’s worth is merely in providing things — that He is a small god, a puny god.

No, He is not.

unclesmrgol on August 17, 2013 at 1:32 PM

I think you misunderstand me, unclesmrgol, but I think we are saying the same thing – that charity is personal. I happen to work in an environment where a lot of the theology taught in social justice courses is that government is a solution. Perhaps I wasn’t clear in delineating my own view.

I also spoke a generalization that many people no longer feel the need for God once material needs are met. Yes, that is a rather lame view of God (and certainly not mine), but look to the countries where the state has become more ascendant than here in providing food, shelter, clothing, health care, etc, and you see the decline of religion and a corresponding rise in atheism. That’s not my opinion, that is a fact. That is why I don’t understand why the Catholic bishops and all want to get in the business of turning their work over to government.

pascelle on August 18, 2013 at 3:57 AM

look to the countries where the state has become more ascendant than here in providing food, shelter, clothing, health care, etc, and you see the decline of religion and a corresponding rise in atheism. That’s not my opinion, that is a fact. That is why I don’t understand why the Catholic bishops and all want to get in the business of turning their work over to government.

pascelle on August 18, 2013 at 3:57 AM

Exactly. Look at the spiritual state of European socialist nations. The state has replaced God for every need and consequently young people are deserting churches by the thousands.

It’s not unlike feminism replacing men; when a ‘woman’ can get everything she needs from someone besides a husband, what use does she have for marriage?

MelonCollie on August 18, 2013 at 9:37 AM

Bible Search Search took 0.06 seconds.

Your search – social justice – did not match any documents.
No pages were found containing “social justice”.

The Catholic term “Social Justice”appears nowhere in the pages of Scripture. I think it just Marxist counterfeit of Christian Charity.

Kjeil on August 18, 2013 at 12:05 PM

pascelle on August 18, 2013 at 3:57 AM

We cannot base our political viewpoint on what the Government might provide to those in need, with a view to minimizing same. We should base it on how the Government provides it, and a strict measurement of the good or evil which results.

Certainly the concept of the tithe has great attraction — that everyone gives the same percentage of their income to fund the commonweal. The remainder of that income should be free to spend as one wills without further taxation.

In other words, even the poor — those receiving largess from the Government — should pay some tax.

This concept is key to the institution of a truly small government — one in which everyone has a stake in keeping small. It is also key to the institution of a fair government — one which does not steal from Peter to pay Paul.

We Catholics don’t tithe (offer a set amount to the Church) — but we do believe in almsgiving — to helping those in need to the extent we can. I don’t give money to the homeless begger who asks, but I do take him or her to the nearest fast food place and share a meal with them. Anything on the menu is fair game — as much as they want. I’ve never had anyone who’s accepted abuse the offered generosity — anyone who will accept is not about to spend my money on things I would not spend it on myself.

unclesmrgol on August 18, 2013 at 3:36 PM

The Catholic term “Social Justice”appears nowhere in the pages of Scripture. I think it just Marxist counterfeit of Christian Charity.

Kjeil on August 18, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Try this:

http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catholic-social-teaching/

Catholic social teaching emerges from the truth of what God has revealed to us about himself. We believe in the triune God whose very nature is communal and social. God the Father sends his only Son Jesus Christ and shares the Holy Spirit as his gift of love. God reveals himself to us as one who is not alone, but rather as one who is relational, one who is Trinity. Therefore, we who are made in God’s image share this communal, social nature. We are called to reach out and to build relationships of love and justice.

Catholic social teaching is based on and inseparable from our understanding of human life and human dignity. Every human being is created in the image of God and redeemed by Jesus Christ, and therefore is invaluable and worthy of respect as a member of the human family. Every person, from the moment of conception to natural death, has inherent dignity and a right to life consistent with that dignity. Human dignity comes from God, not from any human quality or accomplishment.

And this:

http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/economic-justice-economy/index.cfm

Indeed, look at number 7 in the list and see how many ways one might implement said desirable feature.

All of this flows from Scripture, but can, of course, be implemented in ways which are completely opposed to Scripture. Certainly the German socialists, in the run-up to WWII, blamed one segment of their society for all of its ills, and acted to punish same and remove it from power. Such is the legacy which gave rise to universal healthcare in Germany — and Buchenwald and Auschwitz.

unclesmrgol on August 18, 2013 at 3:45 PM

Social justice is nothing more or less than the mission to which Jesus Christ called his church — the care of the poor, the infirm, the imprisoned, and the hopeless.

Ummm…no. That would be mercy.

For something to be considered justice, it must–it must–be just. For something to be considered just, it must–it must–be deserved, whether it’s a payment or a punishment. In a nutshell, justice means reaping what one sows. And it involves the uniform applications of laws to all.

Justice means that the hard workers reap the benefits of their hard work. There is nothing wrong or evil about that. Justice means that the slackers reap the hardships their laziness and wastefulness deserve. There is nothing wrong or evil about that. The parable of the talents, for example, teaches us these principles–and, interestingly enough, involves an unequal distribution of resources. But I digress…

Justice is the rule from which order in society flows. Mercy is the mildly chaotic exception–meant to be an intervention in those cases where the rules that should apply to all are simply too onerous to be borne–in cases of sickness or utter helplessness, etc. Mercy means supplying what is not at all deserved.

“Social justice” is mercy, plain and simple–or charity, as some have called it. And mercy is a beautiful, beautiful thing. But it has absolutely nothing in common with justice. Nothing. It’s a suspension of justice. The distinction in terminology is important.

Calling mercy “social justice” does a disservice to both justice and mercy–it usurps the authority and weightiness of the former to warp the attributes of the latter into a mandatory, legalistic structure. Mercy is as wild and free for those who seek to give as for those who receive; “social justice,” if it embodies the concept of justice as the phrase implies, is an inescapable obligation to the giver and an entitlement to the receiver–in other words, it is deserved. That changes everything. Suddenly, “the poor, the infirm, the imprisoned, and the hopeless” become, not the recipients of grace, but the taskmasters for whom all of the rest of society is expected to labor. In one fell swoop, justice is upended and mercy becomes meaningless.

Mercy is not justice, and justice is not mercy. The two concepts must remain distinct, or else both run the risk of becoming things they were never meant to be.

butterflies and puppies on August 19, 2013 at 3:26 AM

I didn’t read the OP… Was it the abortions in the lobby… I mean the Abortion Lobby that got to him? If so… this guy is too slow to be a leader… Was he in a comma for the past 30 years?

RalphyBoy on August 19, 2013 at 11:58 AM

What? The Democrats believe in murdering children and the marriage of homosexuals??”

He’s been a registered Democrat for nearly 45 years and just now he’s realizing this.

CrustyB on August 19, 2013 at 1:06 PM

But what about the other 90% of bishops who faithfully vote for abortion loving Democrats?

BillCarson on August 19, 2013 at 1:17 PM

butterflies and puppies on August 19, 2013 at 3:26 AM

He is wrong in the sense in which he uses justice.

But:

It is not mercy for an employer to pay an employee a fair wage commensurate with the value the employee provides to the employer. That is justice.

It is not mercy for a government to tax all proportionately to what they earn. That is justice.

It is not mercy for a government to mandate that a child be properly cared for from the time it is conceived until the time it is an adult and able to care for itself. That is justice.

It is not mercy for laws to state that the result of the work of a person’s own hands is the property of that person and no other. That is also justice.

You see, there is a place for justice in Catholicism. And the above all comprise Catholic teaching in the matter of justice.

unclesmrgol on August 20, 2013 at 1:24 AM

But what about the other 90% of bishops who faithfully vote for abortion loving Democrats?

BillCarson on August 19, 2013 at 1:17 PM

I don’t know that 90% of the bishops are Democrats. We do have one who was, but is not any more.

But whether they are or they are not, consider what Jesus said about the scribes and the Pharisees. There were undoubtedly many good scribes and Pharisees, but Jesus did have some choice words about the bad ones which echo through the ages.

As for the Democrats, they did deny God three times before Villaraigosa crowed.

unclesmrgol on August 20, 2013 at 1:27 AM

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