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Are there really any ‘Catholic’ politicians?

Matt Wiley | Wednesday, April 7, 2004

Tom Coffey’s letter to the editor from April 6 reflects the sad state of American Catholicism today. John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president and a Democrat, was elected back when the Democratic Party’s main concerns were social and racial justice, views fully in line with Catholic beliefs. However, today’s Democratic Party seems to be primarily concerned with abortion rights, gay marriage and other issues that are compromising America’s religious beliefs. Recently, John Kerry voted against a bill protecting unborn children when the pregnant mother is murdered, and his stance on abortion has resulted in requests, as Coffey noted, for Kerry not to take the Holy Eucharist at Mass. How any Catholic could stand behind what today’s “Catholic” politicians support is beyond me.On the other hand, the Republican Party has us in what most people would not consider a “just war.” Republicans also support the death penalty and tend to protect business rights at the expense of focusing on the rights of the less fortunate. And, as Coffey noted, the Republican Party has not been overly hospitable to Catholics in the past. So this puts the American Catholic in a tight spot. One can either take the moral path with the Republican Party or take the traditional social-oriented path of the Democratic Party. It is not easy to be a Catholic voter in America, and it should not be easy to be a Catholic voter in America. But if you simply support the Democratic Party because of its prominent Catholic politicians, I suggest you rethink your Catholic beliefs. Coffey said that “there has got to be something about Catholicism which makes being Catholic and being Democrat such a good fit.”I believe that that “something” died once the value of a choice took precedence over the value of human life. My Catholic beliefs do not lead me to join a party simply because of tradition, and Catholic voters must ask themselves if their beliefs lead them to vote according to the 2,000-year-old traditions established by Christ, or the 40-year-old traditions of a political party.

Matt WileyjuniorSorin HallApril 6