A friend of mine recently forward to me an article from America Magazine entitled Conscience and the Catholic Voter, written by Mary Ann Walsh, R.S.M., director of media relations for the USCCB.
I've been reading quite a few articles like this lately and I can't help but notice a trend, or even a "template".
It goes like this:
1. Clear statement of authentic Catholic moral teaching (i.e. "Not all issues are equal")
2. Followed by words, more words, more and more words, words, words, and more words…(i.e. the rest of the article)
3. Along the way, a plethora of issues are mentioned that by the time you get to the end the initial statement is so diluted and blurred that either the average reader just gives up and votes his/her gut (as item 6 even suggests), or the Catholic, looking for justification to vote for a pro-abortion candidate, finds what he/she is looking for.
Actually this article doesn't wait long to reveal it's pro-Obama bent. It gets right to it in item #1.
Item 1 begins with the lofty "Not all issues are equal" and identifies "life" issues as paramount. But then opts for singling out Embryonic Stem Cell Research as an example of a life issue.
It's not a coincidence (in my opinion) that ESCR is selected and isolated. This is the only issue that McCain is at odds with Church teaching on.
The author's intention is clearly suspect in selecting ESCR as the demonstrable issue. Here's why:
The debate over ESCR is divided between:
1. Harvesting new embryos for research
2. Using existing embryos for research that would otherwise be destroyed. (McCain ONLY supports this option)
Also in the moral gradation of Life Issues, procured abortion would trump ESCR because abortion involves another intrinsic evil: torture. (That abortion is NOT EVEN mentioned in the article is EXTREMELY ODD especially coming from an office within the USCCB.)
While neither option a nor b is morally acceptable to a Catholic, a non-Catholic, like McCain, may not have the moral foundation to clearly understand the nuance (most Catholics don't either). The author makes no attempt to define the debate.
As for point 2 above, the fetal spine and brain (and thus sensitivity to pain) are usually developed between 5-9 weeks. About ½ of all abortions happen after the 9th week. Almost all abortions after the 9th week involve surgical dismemberment, crushing of the skull, burning the child in the womb, or some form of mutilation of a living, feeling human being. Obviously we are speaking of torture here- something that wouldn't apply to ESCR.
The author then descends into the normal litany of issues such as health care, poverty, right to a job, just wage, immigration, discrimination, etc.
All of these are important issues in themselves and must be dealt with but the author's design seems an obvious attempt to scurry away as quickly as possible from the the Life Issue.
There is also the requisite back handed slap at the Bush administration, most evident in the health care and economic issues.
What's sad is that traditionally the Church did not wait for the government to provide health care, She provided it. She invented the medical missionaries, the hospital, the orphanage, the soup kitchen. This is the way the Church USED to work for justice and human rights.
Taking care of the poor, the stranger, the downtrodden ourselves was our FIRST order of business. Campaigning for legislative change was secondary. We now (not all of course) excuse ourselves from doing this dirty work because the "grant didn't come through" or "the Republicans took away the funding".
I could go on point by point but it just gets thicker.