On religion: Catholic voters feel lost, tense at the end of 2020 | Chroniclers


Conservative Patriarch Edmund Burke died in 1797 in Beaconsfield, England.

That didn’t stop Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, a Catholic conservative, from making Burke her writing choice in the 2020 White House race. She wasn’t the only voter who felt politically homeless, due to religious and moral beliefs that clashed with the political and personal choices of President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Again, there was no way to ignore the issues of faith, morality and, yes, character. This was especially true with Catholic voters who frequent pews.

Considering Trump, Noonan pointed to the coronavirus crisis, where the president ultimately “ran into a problem he couldn’t get out of.” I believe that is what happened: he played down the pandemic, lied, made uninformed statements at briefings that serious people found it difficult to remain useful. He produced chaos. The country cannot afford anything in a sudden and severe crisis. “

What about the Democrat, a longtime Catholic? Noonan predicted that Biden would be an “unhappy and reluctant driver” on a “runaway train,” especially on moral and cultural issues.

“The progressive left,” she argued, “supports and lobbies for the identity politics that is killing us, an abortion regime far beyond anything that could be called reasonable or civilized and on which she will not compromise; it opposes charter schools and other forms of liberation from public schools; he sees the police as the enemy; he shows no distinct loyalty to free speech and, more recently, his stated hopes range from runaway courts to abolishing the Electoral College and adding states to the union. “

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The bottom line: The political realities of 2020 left many Catholics and other active believers torn between political options that no longer seemed acceptable.

It was easy to read between the lines in the key passages of a new cover letter that the American Catholic Bishops added to their document “Shaping Consciences for Faithful Citizenship”.

“The threat of abortion remains our top priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place in the sanctuary of the family and because of the number of lives destroyed,” the letter said. “At the same time, we cannot rule out or ignore other serious threats to human life and dignity such as racism, the environmental crisis, poverty and the death penalty. …

“Abortion contaminates many other important issues by being included in legislation relating to immigration, poor care and health care reform.”

After a victory for Biden, the Catholic liberals would be in the spotlight. A key leader of this flock, the Bishop of San Diego, Robert McElroy, noted some of these tensions during a recent Zoom webinar hosted by St. Mary’s College and the University of Notre Dame.

The realities of America’s current two-party system, he said, “bifurcate Catholic social teaching, with each party embracing some essential elements of Catholic teaching while rejecting many others. Thus, the faithful Catholic voter is automatically homeless in our political world … never feeling at peace with partisan tribalism in both Democratic and Republican cultures.

“The political choice is a mixture of satisfaction and regret,” he continued. “For the faith-filled Catholic voter, the regret is greatly magnified.”

However, McElroy’s remarks included veiled shots at Trump’s character and criticism of those attacking Biden’s abortion rights activism and his 2016 decision to perform a gay union rite. for two colleagues from the White House. The bishop rejected the “public denial of the candidates’ identity as Catholics because of a specific political position they have taken.”

Sounding popular progressive Catholic themes, McElroy emphasized, “Catholic social teaching calls us to protect both the lives of unborn children and the sustainability of our planet which is the prerequisite for all human life. He calls on us to see immigrants and refugees as our brothers and sisters and to protect the elderly from the false lure of assisted suicide. The gospel of Jesus Christ calls for a total rejection of racism and the death penalty. It calls for housing, jobs and health care for the poor and the strengthening of marriage and family life.

The bishop’s thesis will be quoted by pro-Biden Catholics, as it infuriates others: “There is not a single problem which, in Catholic teaching, is a quick fix that determines an option. unitary for a vote filled with faith.

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