Sunday, October 14, 2012


Watch this whole parody as it is so funny. But minute 6:07 has a parody on Vice President Joe Bidon's faux Catholicism, which sadly is a caricature of so many so-called progressive Catholics today, which technically is what we once called "bad" Catholics.

And in the real debate, Vice President Biden either showed he was woefully ignorant about the HHS Mandate forcing Catholic Insurance companies to pay for contraception, abortifacients and sterilization, or he lied through his teeth, in fact, perhaps we can say of the Vice President, "Liar, liar, pants on fire!"

This is the USCCB reaction to the Vice President's deception and lies:

USCCB Responds To Inaccurate Statement Of Fact On HHS Mandate Made During Vice Presidential Debate

October 12, 2012

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued the following statement, October 12. Full text follows:

Last night, the following statement was made during the Vice Presidential debate regarding the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to force virtually all employers to include sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion, in the health insurance coverage they provide their employees:

"With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact."

This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain "religious employers." That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to "Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital," or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.

HHS has proposed an additional "accommodation" for religious organizations like these, which HHS itself describes as "non-exempt." That proposal does not even potentially relieve these organizations from the obligation "to pay for contraception" and "to be a vehicle to get contraception." They will have to serve as a vehicle, because they will still be forced to provide their employees with health coverage, and that coverage will still have to include sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients. They will have to pay for these things, because the premiums that the organizations (and their employees) are required to pay will still be applied, along with other funds, to cover the cost of these drugs and surgeries.

USCCB continues to urge HHS, in the strongest possible terms, actually to eliminate the various infringements on religious freedom imposed by the mandate.


Anonymous 2 said...

I agree with calling out Joe Biden on his claims to be a practicing Catholic, on his falsehoods, and on his inconsistency (he would, for example, not use public coercion to impose his faith-based views on abortion on others but apparently is willing to use it to impose his faith-based views on other aspects of the Church’s social teaching). But shouldn’t Paul Ryan also be called out for making the same claim, for his own falsehoods, and for demonstrating a similar inconsistency (his use of public coercion would be the opposite of Joe Biden’s, it seems)?

Isn’t it a little jarring to hear someone who for years has been an avowed and zealous disciple of Ayn Rand claim, as Congressman Ryan did in the debate, that “My faith informs me about how to take care of the vulnerable, of how to make sure that people have a chance in life.” Ayn Rand made it abundantly clear that “altruism” was, in her view, “evil.” Ryan now wants to distance himself from Ayn Rand’s “atheism” (something that, incredibly, he claims to have discovered only very recently). But has he distanced himself from her economic, social, and moral views (other than on the politically convenient abortion question) in reality as opposed to in rhetoric? As George W. Bush famously said, “Fool me once, . . . . etc.”

Sorry to be so quarrelsome, but shouldn’t the Catholic position be tantamount to “A pox on both their houses”? Then it becomes a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils, the complexity of which I have tried to analyze in previous comments addressing the Bishops’ document “Faithful Citizenship.”

Fred said...

The USCCB statement did not identify Biden as the speaker. Why? Was it sloppiness, or the desire of some USCCB staffer to protect Biden?

Doug Indeap said...

Actually, it is the the bishops that have it wrong. Their claims that the health law violates religious liberty are based on a "big lie"--a gross falsification constantly repeated and embellished to lend credibility. Notwithstanding claims to the contrary, the health care law does not force employers to act contrary to their consciences.

Employers may comply with the law by choosing either of two options: (1) provide qualifying health insurance plans or (2) do not provide such plans and instead pay assessments to the government. Unless one supposes that the employers’ religions forbid payments of money to the government, the law does not compel them to act contrary to their beliefs.

The second choice does not amount to "violating" the law and paying a "fine," as some suppose. As the law "does not explicitly mandate an employer to offer employees acceptable health insurance"
(, there is no such "mandate" to "violate." Rather, the law affords employers two options, either of which is as lawful as the other.

Nor are the assessments set so high that paying them would drive employers out of business, as some speculate. The law provides that if a "large employer" (i.e., one with at least 50 employees) chooses not to provide health insurance, it must pay assessments of $2,000 per year per employee after the first 30 employees. That is much less than an employer typically would pay for health insurance. Small employers would pay no assessments at all. Because of this potential saving and because the law affords individuals realistic opportunities to obtain insurance on their own, many employers are considering this option--for reasons entirely unrelated to religion.

In recently issued commentary on the various options of employers, the National Catholic Bioethics Center acknowledges, albeit grudgingly, that the option of not providing health insurance and instead paying assessments is "morally sound." While also considering this option "unfortunate" in that the insurance employees would find on their own would include coverage the Center deems objectionable, the Center concludes that the employers' "moral connection" to that coverage would be "remote."

Bottom line: Employers are not forced by the law to act contrary to their consciences. Rather, as recognized by even those who object to some aspects of the insurance the law makes available, the law affords employers with similar objections the morally sound option of not providing such insurance and paying assessments instead.

Gene said...

Anon 2, So, why aren't you bothered by all the Muslim influences on Obammy? Why aren't you upset about the book he was seen carrying entitled, "The End of the West? So, is it really that difficult for you to decide to vote for Obama? Just do it. You'll be proud of yourself because no one will call you a racist.

Indeap: So, I guess all those Bishops, lawyers, analysts, and others who say it does violate religious libery don't know as much as you. Damn, maybe Anon2 will save you a place in the Obama line at the polls. LOL!

Marc said...

A2, you need to read Quod Apostolici Muneris and then bring yourself in line with what the Church teaches because the idea of government providing for the needy is not in line with Catholic teaching as you are assuming it is. Therefore, your choices are those who oppose abortion versus those who do not. If you choose the latter with full knowledge, you sin mortally. I further suggest you stop relying on the Faithful Citizenship guide as shield for your errors as it is clearly leading you astray.

Doug, how is an assessment not a fine? Your argument is a good one other than your simply glossing over this issue. I mean, of course we can always choose not to follow a law and be subject to a penalty. Sometimes that is the moral choice. That does not mean wee should not fight against the unjust law that punishes us for choosing the morally acceptable route.

I hope A5 comes here to comment because I am constrained due to my commenting via iPhone.

Anonymous 5 said...

Doug Indeap,

You are wrong, for the following reasons.

1) The Catholic Church, Catholic organizations, and all Catholic employers who employ more that 50 persons must either provide health care plans that cover morally objectionable items or pay a government fine. This is in accordance with 45 CFR 147.130(a)(1)(iv), which references HRSA Women's Preventive Services: Required Health Plan Coverage Guidelines. You can reference these authorities at the following URLs. Note that the Catholic Church does not meet footnote 2's definition of a religious institution in the second link and so does not get an exemption:

2)Although the law "does not explicitly mandate an employer to offer employees acceptable health insurance," the only other option is to pay a fine to the government. This is tantamount to a requirement of a payment for the ability to exercise First Amendment Free Exercise rights and, as such, chills the exercise of those rights and is thus unconstitutional. The amount of the fine is irrelevant. The concept of the chilling effect as developed by the Supreme Court is that something discourages the exercise of a constitutional right without actually preventing it. The Court strongly disfavors anything that burdens the exercise of constitutional rights. See the following URL:

3) You've taken the quotation from the Catholic Bioethics Center out of context. The full quotation is "As unfortunate as it is, [paying the fine] appears to be the most morally sound and fiscally survivable option for the employer at present.” That's very conditional, and it's offered for small employers who have no other financial option, and who do have the duty under Catholic social teaching to see to the welfare of employees who would otherwise have to pay the full cost of insurance. The article also expressly notes that the bioethics center supports the lawsuits against the mandate.

4) At any rate, the bioethics article neither has any doctrinal authority nor any consideration for the constitutional questions. In other words, moral or not, the mandate is still unconstitutional.

All in all, then, I submit that your post was either ill-informed or an attempt at disinformation.

Gene said...

It appears our friend "Doug Indeap" is really one David Ivester who is a member of a blogging group of atheists, or a "community of non-theists." So, he is simply a troll on this blog. He is also a California other words, a fruitcake.

Anonymous 2 said...

To Doug Indeap: Although I have not personally analyzed all the legal issues involved, I am at this point persuaded by Anon 5’s cogent analysis of the Church’s First Amendment free exercise claim. In particular the exercise of First Amendment free exercise rights surely should not be burdened by the “chilling effect” of a fine. I am very disappointed with the Obama Administration over this issue, and am trusting to the courts and the Rule of Law to set matters right.

Gene: You are being silly again in several respects.

First, as to your implication that I support the Obama Administration’s position on the health care issue, see my reply to Doug Indeap above.

Second, as to your suggestion that I will vote for Obama, you seem to know the answer to something I do not yet know for sure. Perhaps you too are clairvoyant! (I am the classic swing voter as I am non-partisan -- not that how I vote will make any difference in Georgia). Anyway, my own voting is not at issue here. What is at issue here is exactly what the Bishops say is at issue: What does it mean to be a “Faithful Citizen”? I hope that I would be making similar points if the distortions and one-sidedness on this Blog were in favor of Obama-Biden and against Romney-Ryan. My point is very simply that neither choice is an optimal one from the Catholic viewpoint and that applying the Bishops’ document Faithful Citizenship to this election may permit a faithful Catholic to vote for either ticket. As I have said before, it depends on the circumstances and the intention of the voter. That is what the Bishops’ document says, and I take the Bishops (unlike the candidates) at their word. I will not go into all this again, as I have done so at length in comments to earlier posts, although I add a bit in my reply to Marc below.

Third, it is you who seems to be obsessed with Obama’s race. It is of no consequence to me. It matters not one whit to me whether he is black or white. Nor does it matter to me that one of the candidates is a Mormon. Nor would it matter to me if one of the candidates was a woman. Please get over it.

Fourth, I am not upset about the book “The End of the West” that you inform us Obama was seen carrying. Nor, probably, would you be if you actually knew anything about it. I have not read the book and thank you for telling us about it. If it is the one I have tracked down on the Internet, then its thesis seems to be that “the West” (understood as the combination of Europe and the United States) is coming to an end because Europe is in serious decline as the United States rises to global hegemony and China rises as an economic superpower. Here is a review of the book:

I suppose you would have reacted just as negatively if Obama had been seen carrying a book entitled “The Death of the West” (written by Pat Buchanan) or one I have used in my own teaching by Koch and Smith entitled “The Suicide of the West” (calling for a restored self-confidence in the West’s “six great ideas”) or Oswald Spengler’s quirky “Decline of the West” (published in the early twentieth century).

Fifth, I do not know the details about Obama’s Muslim advisers. But I am gratified that he is indeed trying to learn something about the Muslim world instead of blundering about like a bull in a china shop. Perhaps if George W. Bush had received some informed advice about the complexities of that world, he might have understood basic things like the difference between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims (apparently he did not know about this when he decided to invade Iraq to deal with non-existent weapons of mass destruction).


Anonymous 2 said...

To Marc: Even though I may not agree with it, I respect your position in relying upon pre-Vatican II documents to question some of the Vatican II (and post-Vatican II) pronouncements of the hierarchy. Please respect my position in wishing to be guided by that same hierarchy (including the USCCB) instead of my own judgment or the judgment of a vocal minority who are not in communion with Rome (SSPX). I believe that my own position is just as “traditional” as yours; it is just that we have different understandings of what is required by our tradition.

I appreciate your concern to help a fellow Catholic avoid what you see as a mortal sin, but what you have effectively said is that any Catholic voting for Obama-Biden commits a mortal sin. Please think about that. Unless and until the Bishops tell me what you tell me, I will be guided by them. But let me be quite clear. If I or any other Catholic votes for Obama-Biden with the intention of supporting their position on abortion then we do indeed commit a mortal sin (if I understand the Bishops correctly). On the other hand, if we vote for that ticket despite the Obama-Biden position on abortion, because for other reasons that seems to be the better choice prudentially, especially if we do what we can in other respects to end the scourge of abortion, then it does not appear to be a mortal sin to vote for the Obama-Biden ticket. Of course, if my understanding is incorrect, then I trust that Father McDonald or someone else with similar authority will correct me.

Marc from iPhone said...

A2, my advice to you has nothing to do with the SSPX. It is an analysis of a papal encyclical (part of the ordinary magisterium) vs. a USCCB document with no magisterial authority. This isn't a "Traditionalist" vs. other Catholics issue. This is about being Catholic and being not Catholic.

And, yes, if you or any Catholic votes for Obama with full knowledge and full consent of the will, that is a mortal sin. Your understanding is incorrect. And now you know that so you cannot claim ignorance in relying on the USCCB's toilet paper "Faithful Citizenship" guide that most Catholics will fall back on.

Anonymous 2 said...

Marc: I am sorry if I misunerstood your point. So now the Bishope are not Catholic?

Marc from iPhone said...

The bishops are not infallible and oftentimes appear to compromise the faith due to political pressure. As an example of what I'm talking about, I'll reference the entire history of the Catholic Church.

It's not really an argument, A2. I'm surprised you are confused about this as it is quite rudimentary. Of course it is a mortal sin to knowingly vote for the most pro-death candidate. To argue otherwise makes me believe you are being either disingenuous or deliberately obtuse. I hope, though, that you are genuinely confused by this. If that is the case, then my argument about the disservice the USCCB has done with their terrible "guide" is self-evident.

Anonymous 2 said...


Regarding my misunderstanding of your point, I hope you can understand how that happened. You referred me to a pre-Vatican II (1878) papal encyclical that condemns the doctrines of atheistic communism and socialism to support your contention that “the idea of government providing for the needy is not in line with Catholic teaching.” However, I have difficulty reconciling this contention with the following sections of the CCC:

Section 2406, which states that “Political authority has the right and the duty to regulate the legitimate exercise of the right to ownership for the sake of the common good.”

Section 2409, which states that tax evasion is “morally illicit.”

Section 2436, which states that “it is unjust not to pay the social security contributions required by legitimate authority.”

Section 2449, which lists various types of “juridical measures” that regulated ownership of property in ancient Israel in the interests of the poor.

So, I naturally assumed that your invocation of the 1878 papal encyclical was questioning the CCC, which presumably reflects Vatican II and post-Vatican II thinking, and was yet another example of the type of challenges made by the SSPX that you have mentioned and supported many times before.

Anyway, is it your position that the above sections of the CCC are not in line with Catholic teaching?

Please understand my difficulty. Most of us who try to live a faithful Catholic life (despite our continual failures in that respect) are guided by authority such as the CCC and the USCCB. Such deference to pronouncements of the magisterium is a very traditional position I believe. By contrast you seem to reject much of this guidance, and invoke pre-Vatican II documents to justify that rejection.

Marc from iPhone said...


In Quod Apostolici Muneris, Leo XIII set out the perennial teaching of the Church that there will always be the poor and the wealthy. Christ informed us of this as well. Both then tell us that we have a responsibility to the poor. The Church teaches subsidiarity - that isle long at the lowest levels as individuals, parishes, and communities. Does that negate the good efforts of large governments in helping the poor? No; but, it proscribes the sorts of wealth redistribution plans found in socialist states (which we are inching closer to in America with our tax levels).

With regard to our president, who appears to favor policies that will help the poor, we cannot give him the benefit of that doubt because his policies have in some ways created more poor due to unemployment and economic crisis.

On the other hand, we know that in America people are very charitable. So, if more people paid less taxes, they would have more income to donate to local groups that would actually help the poor in their community with programs targeted to the specific needs of that community. That is subsidiarity in action.

I agree the government has a right to levy taxes. Christ himself told us that. I believe the CCC. It does not contradict what I am saying here or wha I have said. If it did, I would believe the CCC over my opinions. This is, again, not about the VII versus pre-VII Church (a fallacy you appear to have fallen for based on the dichotomy you see in my quoting Leo XIII). The teaching is the same now as it has always been.

Finally, the choice here is not just about those who claim to help the poor versus those who may not. Our choice here is whether to re-elect a president who has essentially waged war on the Church, religious freedom, and the unborn. Even "Faithful Citizenship" recognizes a hierarchy of issues with abortion at the top. Therefore, I submit to you that you cannot vote for Obama without committing a mortal sin.

The question really is: can on vote for Romney/Ryan (who also do not espouse the Catholic view against abortion) as the lesser of two evils or should one abstain altogether?

Marc from iPhone said...

By the way everyone, CCC 2406 cited by A2 above discussing the right of government to take private property cites to Gaudium et Spes paragraph 71. I recommend you read the actual paragraph from the Council before deciding what paragraph 2406 of the CCC means as it is incomplete based on a reading of that section of Gaudium et Spes.

The other cites from A2 disuss the privileges of government, but are not necessarily prescriptions on how government should act.

Anonymous 5 said...


Please don't take my input here as ganging up, since I, too, am neither Republican nor Democrat. It's a source of some irritation to me that I have to keep reminding even some of my own immediate family members of this, to ay nothing of others, whenever I say something that they're sure is motivated by partisanship. They have trouble seeing the distinction between partisanship and critical thinking, which is a dire portent for America's future.

That said: I am a single-issue voter on the abortion issue, for the following reasons (and since you're on the fence I commend my analysis to you).

The USCCB has talked about a seamless web or fabric or something like that of pro-life issues, and calls on Catholic voters to decide for themselves which party on the whole is most pro-life. Leaving aside my concerns with that analysis, and its authoritativeness and bias, for a moment, I find the balancing under that test easy. In this country we (morally, if not legally), murder something like 4000 people a day--people who have neither legal nor actual means of defense. I can't think of anything on the other side of the equation (e.g., feeding the poor, providing health care, etc) that can balance that out. The question then becomes whether the Republicans can or will change that.

Even though the two entities most responsible for these abortion stats are 1) the Republican Party (by their weasly supreme Court appointments) and 2) America's Catholic bishops (by their long refusal to say or do much about abortion, especially when they still had their historical alliance with the Democrats back in the '70s), we've been within one vote of overturning Roe v. Wade for about 15 years now. The next presidential term will likely see the last gasp of the attempt to secure that one vote; after that, it won't be the swing or liberal votes on the court who are retiring but the conservatives. The Republicans have lately been coming around with appointments such as Roberts and Alito, so I think the hope that they will do it one more time is reasonable. Assuming the court does overturn Roe, the effect on the abortion numbers are largely imponderable, depending on what the individual states do, but they can only go down, I imagine.

Compare all this to the Democrats, for whom abortion has largely become _the_ non-negotiable issue.

Continued . . .

Anonymous 2 said...

Marc: With respect, I believe it is you who are confused. I would not suggest that you are being disingenuous or obtuse, because I believe that you are completely sincere in your views. I do have to wonder, however, whether some followers of this Blog (not you necessarily) are at least subconsciously allowing their politics, rather than their faith, to determine their positions. I suspect that some people are just looking for ways to justify voting for Romney-Ryan because they hate, and I do mean hate, Obama so much for whatever reason.

I will now confess, again, my own hatred. It is not of a person but of her views. I hate, and I do mean hate, the views of Ayn Rand. In my opinion those views are literally diabolical, and they are infecting a large part of this country as the continual indoctrination through the widespread propagation of her books by the Ayn Rand Institute continues to spread, as it has been doing for so many years now. This, more than anything else, is what gives me pause about voting for Romney-Ryan. Ryan has been an avowed, devoted, and zealous disciple of Ayn Rand and her horrible philosophy (I do not believe Romney is a disciple; he is just untrustworthy in the usual way). Thus Ryan gives a copy of Rand’s books (in particular Atlas Shrugged I believe) to each of his staffers and expects them to read it. If you know about Rand’s philosophy of total selfishness and do not see the serious danger it poses, then you have allowed yourself to be deluded. It, as much as liberals who support abortion, is an enemy of the Catholic Church. The CCC makes this quite clear in its condemnation of hyper individualism and the pursuit of profit at the expense of everything else. See sections 2243-2245.

This is what makes the choice in this election so dilemmatic for me. I would like to believe that Ryan no longer subscribes to Rand’s diabolical positions (I accept that he does not hold her diabolical views on abortion) but he needs to convince me that this is the case, and he has not yet really addressed this question explicitly (other than to disavow her “atheism”, which, incredibly, he claims to have discovered only recently). Yesterday’s cynical “photo op” at the Vincent de Paul Society in Ohio has not exactly reassured me in this regard. I have written about Ayn Rand and her views on this Blog before. Did you read my comments? If not I will send a link so you will have some idea what we are dealing with. And if you are aware of credible evidence that Ryan has sincerely rejected Rand and confessed his previous errors, please share it with us.

Now, back to your confusion. The Bishops have not compromised the Faith in the slightest. They are very clear in their condemnation of abortion as an intrinsic evil. What they are addressing is a different question – citizenship and voting. They recognize that this involves a complex calculus, not simplistic and naïve Orwellian mantras such as “Democrats bad, Republicans good.” Please see my analysis posted on October 2 in response to Father’s September 29 post “This won’t go over well with pro-choice catholics” in which I analyze the relevant factors (including the scenario under which Obama-Biden’s pro-choice views may prove to be immaterial because they will be unable successfully to nominate a pro-choice candidate to the Supreme Court even if they want to –it will depend on the composition of the Senate). Far from compromising the Faith, the Bishops are challenging us to make the effort to find ways to give it maximum effect in our voting. Perhaps they, too, have in mind the dangers posed by immoral, but oh so seductive, philosophies such as Ayn Rand’s.

Anonymous 5 said...

Continued . . .

A2, as for Marc's points: I do have to agree with him on them, for several reasons.

First, the USCCB has no magisterial status as far as I'm aware, and I think the slow creep in that direction in a de facto way is dangerous. I recall when some staffer from the USCB recently wrote to a bishop (Burke or Chaput, I think) and tore into him for failing to comply with USCCB standards regarding the prevention of clergy sex abuse. Burke (or whoever) wroite back a very forceful letter, telling the staffer that the USCCB had no authority to teach, rule, and sanctify and that she should, in essence, quit lecturing him and shut up.

I _do_ think that the USCCB is also strongly influenced by leftist thought in this country, sometimes bordering on Liberation Theology. That's another reason for me to ignore them. I would hope that I'm intellectually honest enough that I'd take the same stance if they were pro-SSPX. (Actually, in that case, I would probably use what they said, but I would still definitely preface my comments with "Of course, they have no doctrinal authority, but their ideas are good ones.")

As for the CCC, which you cite, I even take _that_ with a grain of salt. If you look at the footnotes, nearly all of them are to either Scripture or VII (which brings to my mind a Protestant/Modernist mashup). It isn't that I deny the doctrinal correctness of the CCC, but that to be fully and correctly understood within the light of Catholic doctrine, the CCC simply must be read in the context of other doctrinal statements.

I don't think that Biden is being particularly Catholic in his advocacy of social welfare programs, and on this point I'm incidentally on Marc's side, for the reasons he gives. We're enjoined to care for the poor, not to let someone else (like the government) handle it. Further, I strongly suspect that Biden is pro-social welfare regardless of Church teaching (just as he is pro-abort regardless of Church teaching), and that he can conveniently cite some Scripture and such to make it seem like his social welfare concerns are born of a deep and abiding Catholic faith.

As I mentioned above, all of this smells more than a bit of Liberation Theology, which is both a theology that has been condemned and a political position that I think very dangerous.

As to your observations about Ryan and Ayn Rand: very interesting. I didn't know that about him. I guess the question is whether one can appreciate Rand's individualism without buying into the atheism. Some months ago I read a very interesting article asserting that Rand's Objectivism is LaVey's Church of Satan without the liturgy. But despite all this, I think that Ryan has the right answer (more or less) on abortion regardless of how his Catholicism plugs into it. In other words, you're probably right that both Biden and Ryan are lousy Catholics, but in my vies Ryan happens (by chance and not intent) to be the better Catholic (though not necessarily a good one).

Marc from iPhone said...

A2, I am not a Republican and voting Republican disgusts me. I don't support Romney/Ryan. In no way is politics informing my thoughts on this. To the contrary, the Church informs my politics.

You will note I ended my last post questioning whether we can vote for either of these terrible parties with their non-Catholic agendas.

My point, though, is merely that you are incorrectly equating social welfare of the poor with abortion. The two, for reasons set forth by A5 and the USCCB, are not equal. Therefore, because the Church informs my vote, I am a single issue voter against abortion just like A5. In this case, considering the level of evil, voting Romney/Ryan as the lesser of two evils is the appropriate Catholic choice regardless of how repugnant it otherwise is to vote Republican.

I reject your abrogation of responsibility by relying on the Senate to not approve a pro-choice justice. I have a political science degree and a law degree. The idea that the senate will be an appropriate safeguard instead of merely changing the "upfrontness" of the nominee during the process lacks credibility to me.

As for the US Bishops, you are evidence of the damage they have done in their utter failure to uphold the faith. That said, be mindful that the bishops do not sit around at USCCB HQ writing these things. Instead, committees of activist laity write them and send them out on behalf of the bishops. The bishops are ultimately responsible, but generally are not leading the charge on the mess from day to day.

In closing, it is odd to me that the potential for a VP candidate to have an inclination toward Rand is enough to sway your vote against his Presidential running mate while the President has and is actually implementing policies that have killed millions of unborn and are likely to force the closure of hundreds of Catholic institution that assist the very people you claim Ryan is against.

Your priorities are not in line with Catholic voting even as espoused by the USCCB guide on which you are relying. So, I propose it is you who are letting your politics dictate your decision making here.

Henry Edwards said...

Some of what's been said about Ryan here sounds to me like objective calumny. What I know about him--including testimony from his own (very orthodox) bishop--corroborates other evidence I'm aware of, that he is a faithfully believing and practicing Catholic of the kind that we so desperately need more of in public life.

Incidentally, anyone--including me, about as conservative a Catholic as it gets--can find the conservatism of Ayn Rand of sufficient interest to read or even recommend her books, without subscribing in the slightest to any of her religious views.

Gene said...

I am having a deja vu experience of my sophomore year of college on this blog. We had Millie on here all banannas about the "historicity" of Scripture; then Ignotus raised issues about philosophical ethics and "social justice" talk largely from a Marxist perspective. Now, we are squabbling over Ayn Rand, a neurotic, malignant hysteric who wrote a sophomoric book about self-interest as the ultimate humanism. Didn't you guys read "Atlas Shrugged" in high school? I did. Then, I had to endure the crap again in a college modern lit seminar. Can we not get past this pop philosophy? Why not, at least, discuss Rousseau, Voltaire, Spinoza, Kant, JS Mill, or some other real thinkers who deal with the same issues in a bit more depth and without the melodrama. Sheesh!
Anon 2,
Do you really care thet Ryan read Ayn Rand? Do you think he really understood it in its socio-historical perspective in light of the history of philosophy? I don't.
Do you really believe Ryan espouses Ayn Rand's "objectivism" as a world view? Please. You are setting up a straw man so you can vote for Obama without feeling guilty. LOL!
I am a Republican. I hold my nose sometimes when I vote, but there hasn't been a Dem I would vote for since I have been able to vote. The Leftist rabble have taken over the party and they are literal enemies of the Republic. Obama feels no ownership of this country's heritage, founding, values, or the sacrifices that have been made so that he and his ilk could be "free." He has no understanding or appreciation for the concept of free enterprise (with its faults), exceptionalism, individual ambition and hard work. It is just too bad that all those founding principles, all that history and heritage happens to be Western European/Caucasian. To him and his ilk, that just makes it racist. They are literally too stupid to understand that, were it not for that heritage, they would all still be in chains somewhere, sold out by their own, incidentally. White guilt has given the country away to Leftists and an ignorant rabble who only understand violence, a welfare state, and who have been instilled through public education with some vague feeling of being owed something. And you really want to vote Democratic again? Might as well load the gun and hand it to them...but, hey, you're a Brit. You guys blew a whole damned empire through the same kind of egalitarian blather Obama and his minions want to drop on us.

Anonymous 2 said...

Henry, Gene, Anon 5, and Marc,

I will try to respond to at least some of your points as best I can. Let me begin, though, by explaining that I am not seeking to persuade any of you that it is permissible for a Catholic to vote for Obama-Biden rather than Romney-Ryan depending on the Catholic’s intention and depending on the circumstances. It is clear to me that your vote will be determined by the single issue of abortion and more specifically by your desire to vote against a ticket that supports the legal right to abortion. And that is just fine. The Bishops’ document Faithful Citizenship clearly permits a Catholic to decline to support a candidate for that reason. I am simply trying to clarify for the readers of this Blog the range of permissible voting under the Bishops’ document. Once again I refer readers to my October 2 response to Father McDonald’s September 29 post for further discussion and analysis of this point, including references to the pertinent sections of Faithful Citizenship. I resist, because the Bishops resist, the suggestion that the ONLY morally acceptable course for a Catholic is to vote Republican. This in effect transforms the Catholic Church in the United States into a wing of the Republican Party, and that just cannot be correct, or so it seems to me.

On the abortion issue alone, the situation is actually much more complex than is often made out. I would like to see a situation in which there are no abortions in this country. Under which ticket will there be more abortions? Clearly under Obama-Biden, I hear you say. So much seems obvious. But wait. Let us consider:

(1) Romney-Ryan do not reflect the Catholic position because they admit exceptions for rape, incest and threat to the life of the mother. Certainly that is better than Obama-Biden but it is not Catholic; and there is more.

(2) Romney-Ryan want to reverse Roe v. Wade and return the matter to the states, which will then decide in accordance with the majority democratic will. Some states will permit abortion; others will prohibit it to a greater or lesser extent. Result: those who can afford it will travel to states where it is permitted; those who cannot may avail themselves of backstreet abortions, just like in the good old days.

(3) Romney-Ryan would very likely reduce social supports for single mothers or families facing an unwanted pregnancy (my God, what a terrible phrase that is), making it more likely that the parent(s) will choose not to have the baby.

So, matters are not so simple even on the abortion question alone. And this is even before we get to the issue of whether or not Obama-Biden can actually influence the composition of the Supreme Court in a pro-choice direction.

Anonymous 2 said...


But, of course, the abortion question is not the only issue that a faithful Catholic may take into account, as the Bishops document makes clear. And here, yes, I am worried about Ryan’s Ayn Rand worship (remember Marc, he would be a heartbeat away from the Presidency and may in any event influence weather-vane Mitt). No, Gene, I don’t care that Ryan has read Rand’s stupid and sophomoric books. But I do care that he makes other people read them and I care that he has said that Rand "did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism" and that Rand was "the reason I got involved in public service.” And no, Henry, I don’t think it is calumny to raise questions in light of these statements. If you have evidence that Ryan does not subscribe to Rand’s heartless and very non-catholic economic, social, and moral philosophy, but is a truly devout Catholic, please share that with us. I would dearly like to have my misgivings dispelled (I concede that he has recently publicly rejected her atheism after he was called out on his devotion to Rand).

And then, of course, there is foreign policy and the greater likelihood that Romney-Ryan will get us into yet another idiot war resulting in yet more loss of life, including innocent men, women, and children (and even unborn babies) because the Romney advisers seem for the most part to be the same naïve and ideologically besotted neoconservative clowns who got us into the last one.

Now, some wish to fault me for choosing to be guided by the USCCB, or by Vatican II, or the CCC. I choose to do this because I know I am not as smart or as enlightened or as divinely inspired as the hierarchy of our Church, or as some followers of this Blog, when it comes to these matters of our Catholic faith. So, perhaps those followers might in charity indulge us lesser mortals who do not share their own superior knowledge, intelligence, and insight and who are therefore unable to understand that the Bishops, or as the case may be the Pope, are really liberal progressives or perhaps indeed not really Catholics at all. For myself, when they change, I will change. Until then, I will follow their guidance. If that makes me a liberal progressive Catholic or not Catholic in the eyes of some, so be it. I don’t think our Lord will fault me or any other Catholic for it.

Marc from iPhone said...

But that's just it, A2... I am not claiming any superior knowledge or insight. I believe the position set forth by myself and A5 to be THE Catholic position as presented by the bishops and the Magisterium.

So our disagreement once again comes down to an interpretation of what precisely the Church teaching is. In this regard, I think we can agree that we need more specific direction from our pastors and bishops.

I appreciate your detailed response. I can see you have put quite a bit of thought into this, just as I have.

Gene said...

Anon 2, Your sarcasm is unconvincing. "I don't think our Lord will fault me or any other Catholic for it." A most Protestant statement...

Marc from iPad said...

A2, this isn't like you are an uneducated peasant in Bishop Arius's diocese. You can rely on guidance to a certain extent, but you are betting your salvation on using a Nuremberg Defense before our Lord at judgment... You can think for yourself. Moreover, you are deliberately misreading documents and relying on something non-Magisterial at that!

The fact is, in terms of Catholic voting, abortion is intrinsic evil whereas the other things you have discussed are not. Therefore, the abortion issue is the deciding factor in terms of who gets the Catholic vote. If the Dems don't like the Church being "an arm of the Republican Party" they should stop supporting intrinsic evil. Yes, the Romney plan is still not in line with Catholic morality, but it is much closer on the issue of abortion. Therefore, that is the proper choice.

Anonymous 2 said...

Marc: Thank you for understanding that all I have been trying to do is to work through a difficult decision that considers many different factors in a complex constellation of factors in accordance with the guidance given by the Bishops who, at some level at least, represent the magisterium with a degree of authority to which I, as someone trying to be a faithful Catholic, am expected to defer (or at least it is not faithless and unreasonable for me or any Catholic to do so).

Gene: My very last statement was not intended to be sarcastic. Please explain to me in what way it is Protestant. I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that those who reject the pronouncements of the hierarchy must be appealing to something higher. Now that may be, as Marc suggests, other, earlier pronouncements of the magisterium. But for those of us who are unable to determine the conflict and resolve it against the current pronouncements of those with authority such as the Bishops, and who are nevertheless told that even relying on that authority may involve us in committing a mortal sin, as Marc suggested, have nowhere else to go other than to God Himself. But, of course, the details would be worked out in the context of confession. But can you imagine a priest agreeing that is a mortal sin to follow the guidance of our own Bishops? If that is a mortal sin, then Catholics are in a terrible situation. Do they follow the Bishops or those who reject the Bishops? And how are they supposed to know for sure who is correct? Therefore, I must believe in, and trust to, God’s mercy in this regard and that I will be forgiven for any error or sin that may be involved in following what our own Bishops tell us.

Anonymous 2 said...

Marc, I think you will agree, if you (re)read the Bishops document, that it is certainly not aimed at ignorant peasants but at those who recognize that the situation presented by voting is much more complex than it would appear to an ignorant peasant. That does not mean that our faith cannot be a simple faith but that this simple faith must be brought to bear intelligently to address complexity.

Marc from iPhone said...

A2, I agree. I wasn't trying to imply the document was aimed at ignorant peasants- only that we are now able to do a bit more research than our ignorant Catholic predecessors. So we bear a bit more personal responsibility, perhaps.

Anonymous 2 said...

Marc: I missed one of your points earlier today but have just noticed it upon rereading the comments. You suggested that I was deliberately misreading documents. Now, I am sure you did not mean what you appear to say here. I do not deliberately misread documents. Can I inadvertently misread documents or overlook something or otherwise make mistakes? Of course I can. So, if I have misunderstood the Bishops document in some way (inadvertently), please do me the courtesy of explaining how I have done so. If your explanation is accurate, I will willingly and gratefully acknowledge my error. Thanks.

Anonymous 2 said...

I have been doing some research on the issues under discussion and have come across the following discussion of “Intrinsic Evil and Political Responsibility” in a 2008 issue of the Catholic periodical “America.” Now, I have never read this periodical before and perhaps it is one of those condemned by certain followers of this Blog. I really do not know. However, I offer the discussion for its intrinsic merits (or demerits). It seems like a nuanced and serious treatment of the issues that confirms my own approach to them. However, please feel free to offer critiques and alternative references:

Doug Indeap said...

Anonymous 5,

1. You acknowledge that the law provides employers with the choice of paying the government money. We need not quibble about your characterization of the payment as a "fine." The fact is that the law affords an employer the option to pay that money and provides that that option is every bit as lawful and compliant with the law as is the choice to provide qualifying health plans. In other words, that choice does not amount to "violating" the law and paying a "fine" for the violation.

You mention the law's exemption for qualifying religious organizations. My point does not depend in the least on the exemption. My point is that the law does not force ANY employer to act contrary to his or her conscience.

In the end, as you acknowledge, the law merely requires employers choosing not to provide health insurance to make payments to the government. The question then is whether a law requiring employers to pay money to the government somehow forces employers to act contrary to their consciences. Those making this claim have the burden of proving it.

2. In an apparent attempt to meet that burden, you argue that paying a "fine" to exercise one's First Amendment right to freely exercise one's religion chills the exercise of those rights and is thus unconstitutional.
Confronted by questions about the government requiring or prohibiting something that conflicts with someone’s faith, the courts have generally ruled that under the Constitution the government cannot enact laws specifically aimed at a particular religion (which would be regarded a constraint on religious liberty contrary to the First Amendment), but can enact laws generally applicable to everyone or at least broad classes of people (e.g., laws concerning pollution, contracts, torts, crimes, discrimination, employment, etc.) and can require everyone, including those who may object on religious grounds, to abide by them. (E.g.,

When the legislature anticipates that application of such laws may put some individuals in moral binds, the legislature may, as a matter of grace (not constitutional compulsion), provide exemptions or otherwise accommodate conscientious objectors. In doing so, the legislature need not offer the objector a free pass. It may require them to pay or do something instead. For instance, in years past, we have not allowed conscientious objectors simply to skip military service for “free”; rather, we have required them to provide alternative service in noncombatant roles or useful civilian work.

The real question here then is not so much whether the First Amendment precludes the government from enacting and enforcing the generally applicable laws regarding availability of health insurance (it does not), but rather whether there is any need to exempt some employers in order to avoid forcing them to act contrary to their consciences. Since the law already affords employers choices by which they can avoid acting contrary to their consciences, there is no need for an exemption.

They may not like paying money to the government and they may not like what the government does with the money, but those are garden variety gripes common to most taxpayers. Such gripes hardly amount to being forced to act contrary to one's conscience. Should each of us be exempted from paying some portion(s) of our taxes so we aren’t thereby “forced” to pay for making war, providing health care, teaching evolution, or whatever else each of us may consider wrong or even immoral? If each of us could opt out of this or that law or tax with the excuse that our religion requires or allows it, the government and the rule of law could hardly operate.

Doug Indeap said...


3. While the National Catholic Bioethics Center expressed misgivings about the law, as I noted, in the end it acknowledged that the law does provide employers with a choice that, while hardly ideal in the view of the Center, is at least "morally sound" in that it does not force employers to take actions contrary to their consciences, e.g., actually use or provide contraception, and employers' payment of money under the law is sufficiently "remote" from contraception use and coverage and such that they have no "moral connection" to such actions. In other words, they are not forced by the law to act in violation of their consciences.

4. I neither know nor care about the "doctrinal authority" of the Center's guidance. I pointed to it merely to observe that a knowledgeable, thoughtful Catholic institution (that opposes the law on various grounds) has carefully reviewed the law and concluded that it affords employers an option that avoids forcing them to act in violation of their consciences.

Anonymous 5 said...

Doug Indeap:

If I were a judge, at this point I'd sanction you for either negligently or intentionally misstating the law. I'll see you Employment Division v. Smith, to which you cited, and raise you a Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal, which effectively overrules Smith. .

In short, Smith isn't good law in this case. Again, you're either ill-informed or deliberately attempting disinformation.

Regarding your following statements:

"I neither know nor care about the 'doctrinal authority' of the Center's guidance. I pointed to it merely to observe that a knowledgeable, thoughtful Catholic institution (that opposes the law on various grounds) has carefully reviewed the law and concluded that it affords employers an option that avoids forcing them to act in violation of their consciences."

It doesn't matter if they're a knowledgeable, thoughtful Catholic institution or not if what they're saying isn't in accord with Catholic doctrine. There have been many knowledgeable and thoughtful Catholics who have thought themselves right out of the Church.

And since by your own admission you know nothing about Catholic doctrine (a discussion of which you yourself opened the door by bringing up matters that necessarily implicate doctrine), then you're unqualified to be commenting on this topic anyway.

This will be my last reply to you. I think we've established that you're a troll whose analysis is sufficiently deficient and/or misleading to require no further reply, and I'm not going to let you turn into a time-suck since I have better things to do.

To all: Pay no attention to Mr. Indeap's analysis. It's all been objectively wrong so far and, should he make further posts, I don't expect it to improve.

Marc from iPhone said...

That's what happens when one tries to debate Constitutional law with a nationally recognized Constitutional law scholar/historian/professor...

In law practice, we call that getting "lawyered", as in "BAM! Doug just got lawyered!"

Anonymous 5 said...

Thanks for your kind words, Marc, but it dint take no nashunally rekognized constututional skolar to cut mr. Indeap's guts out. Any lawyer who can click the "shepardize" button should be able to figure this out--if he wanted to.

Gene said...

Anon 2, How is your statement, "I don't think our Lord will ault me or any other Catholic for it," protestant-sounding? First of all, it is presuming to know the mind of God on an intimate and personal protestant evangelical theology often presumes ("What A Friend We Have in Jesus," "In The Garden," etc.)
Secondly, if you follow the advice of the USCCB or some other ostensibly Catholic body that is not infallible and "think your way out of the Church (into mortal sin)," as Anon 5 so nicely puts it,
our Lord may indeed fault you for it no matter what you "THINK." According to Catholic teaching, you don't get a pass for it just by going and talking to Jesus about it like they do down at the Sword of Joshua Baptist Church on The Frontage Road. It is commendable to do so, but it does not bring Absolution or provide Penance.
Thirdly, it reflects a subjectivist theology which is highly protestant. I interpret Scripture for myself, I am my own theologian, "I don't need no Pope or no Church telling me how to read the Bible, by God!" There was a country song by Cal Smith a few years back with a line that went something like, "I know I been cheatin' and runnin around...but me and the good Lord are gonna' have us a good talk a little later tonight..." I think that captures it pretty well.
Now, Anon 2, I am not convinced by your twisting and turning and torturing words in some phony effort to "decide how to vote." I think you decided long ago how you are going to vote and all this playing Hamlet is just an effort to sow doubt and sway others into voting Democrat.
Never, in the history of the Republic, has the choice been so clear. If you are Catholic, Judaeo-Christian, patriotic, and believe in the Founding Principles of this nation and treasure freedom and Western culture, there isn't but one choice. Only a protozoan could not see this...

Anonymous 2 said...


Once again you have done what you so often seem to do – leap to conclusions without considering the evidence first, especially reading the relevant texts or documents.

I agree that, taken out of context, my original statement may have sounded protestant. But how can it be considered protestant in the context provided by the rest of what I say in the comment? Your first and third points are clearly beside the point. How am I making a decision BY MYSELF when I try to follow what our own Bishops teach? I do not follow the logic of your argument here. How is it interpreting the Bible myself or ignoring the teaching of the Church or the Pope to follow what the Bishops themselves teach? So, the only point that seems on point is in fact the second point, in which you say that to follow our Bishops is to think my way out of the Church. Yes, I agree that this is a nice phrase of Anon 5. I also urge you and everyone else to consider very seriously just who it is who is thinking themselves out of the Church – I who try to apply faithfully what all of our Bishops are teaching in Faithful Citizenship or those who claim that they know better than the Bishops because they can understand, through their own independent reasoning comparing the Bishops pronouncements with earlier magisterial pronouncements, how the Bishops (or Vatican II or whatever they don’t like) are in great error?

And, if the original context of my statement still did not make it clear, there could be no mistaking my later clarification in which I clearly stated that if you reject the magisterial statements of the hierarchy like this, then those of us who do not in fact presume to know better than the Bishops have nowhere to go but God Himself (the alternative being our own judgment about why the Bishops are wrong) but the details would, of course, be worked out in confession. I also said that I could not imagine a priest agreeing that it is a mortal sin to follow the guidance of our own Bishops (I suppose an SSPX priest might, but they don’t count for present purposes because they are not in communion with Rome – I would be scared to go to someone like that. Can they give a valid absolution, for example?).

So, perhaps you should have actually read what I said before judging it. But then you like to judge, don’t you Gene? So, although you fault me for presuming to know the mind of God on my own (which I clearly am not doing), you presume to know my mind and that I made up my mind to vote for Obama a long time ago. No, you are wrong. In fact, the comments and my responses on this Blog have been helping me to sort through the issues. I hope that they have been helping other followers of the Blog sort through the issues too. As I also said in an earlier comment above, it is not so much about me and how I will vote as it is about trying to clarify for everyone that the Bishops seem to permit a broader range of voting responses than you and some others would allow.


Anonymous 2 said...

And I have also tried to demonstrate why I believe the Bishops have done so. When you actually apply their guidance to the circumstances we face and when you have the correct intention, matters are not as simple as you make them out to be at the end of your comment. BTW, to imply that someone who does not vote for Romney-Ryan is not “Catholic, Judaeo-Christian, patriotic, and [does not] believe in the Founding Principles of this nation and treasure freedom and Western culture,” as you do, is, to use Obama’s words in the second debate, “offensive.” It is also so egregiously wrong, and such a shortcut for thought, that I would not know where to begin in challenging it.

Unlike you, I will not presume to see into your mind, but are you sure that you are not being blinded by your own anger or even hatred of Obama? I would not fault you for that necessarily, if it is true, because I watch FOX News, CNN, and MSNBC, and I fact check the assertions made there. I am appalled at the lies and distortions engaged in by the media (and certain people on FOX, like Sean Hannity, a very dangerous manipulator indeed, are the worst of all). I would be happy to give examples if anyone wants them. So my advice to everyone is not to trust these people but to double check for yourselves. I do not second guess the Bishops but I do second guess all these media manipulators, just as the Bishops suggest we should! Don't be a protozoan; think for yourself!

Doug Indeap said...

Anon 5,

Hold off on those sanctions Your Honor. You misunderstand the Gonzales case. It did not, as you seem to suppose, effectively overrule Smith, which interpreted and applied the First Amendment. Rather, Gonzales interpreted and applied RFRA, a statute enacted after Smith was decided, which establishes a statutory standard different than the constitutional one explained in Smith. Smith remains "good law" on the constitution and the Supreme Court's primary explanation of the First Amendment in this regard. My comment pertained to the constitution, what it allows and disallows, and thus when a need or desire for exemptions may arise when Congress passes new laws. I did not address RFRA, which is another subject. (I'd be happy to address that in a side bar if you'd like.)

Back to my point based on Smith, hearing no substantive contrary argument on point, I trust you are ready to rule in my favor?

With respect to the subject of Catholic doctrine, am I to understand that you assert that anyone who brings up matters that "necessarily implicate doctrine" is unqualified to discuss the topic unless they are conversant with Catholic doctrine? And what do you mean in this context by implicate?

All of this hoo-ha about Catholic doctrine is a red herring anyway. I certainly did not state or assert anything about it. (I know little of it, and would, as you say, be unqualified to say much about it.) My point had nothing to do with that. I merely observed the fact that a Catholic institution has reviewed the law and found that it affords employers an option that does not entail violating their consciences. Whether or how that implicates Catholic doctrine is neither here nor there to me. My point is merely to observe the fact--and about that you say nothing.

Back to my basic point that the law does not force employers to act contrary to their consciences, hearing no substantive contrary argument on point, would you like to give my opponents another chance or are you ready to rule?

Gene said...

Anon 2,
1.) The Bishops are not infallible. 'nuf said.

2.) My presuming to read your mind is quite different (and easier) than your presuming to read God's.

3.) My observations regarding your prolixity and perseveration are not "judgments" upon you, at least, not in any moral way. And, no, I do not normally judge when dismissing is much simpler.

4.) Actually, I have read all your posts...and read, and read, and read. LOL!

Anonymous 2 said...


1. Of course, you are correct. The Bishops are not infallible. But not ‘nuff said, I am afraid. If I understand correctly, the Bishops represent the “ordinary magisterium,” and their pronouncements, while not infallible, are “authoritative” and require “religious submission of intellect and will.”

2. I have already clearly explained that I was not presuming to read the mind of God by submitting to the authority of the Bishops and by saying that I believe that any sin I may be committing in doing so would be forgiven by God, the details of all that being worked out in confession.

3. Dismissing presupposes a judgment, if only the judgment that the case being made is not worthy of being listened to.

4. So much reading, so little understanding. LOL (to quote a phrase).

Doug: Why are we still arguing about this? The matter will be settled by the courts in accordance with the Rule of Law (I very much hope in the Church’s favor), not by us.

(and Gene): I have the same frustration with this argument over the DHSS mandate as I do with the argument that the Bishops are wrong in Faithful Citizenship or the Ecumenical Council was wrong in Vatican II. I accept and defer to legitimate authority – of the courts and of the magisterium. When the former have finally decided, I may criticize the result. Until then I wait, unless I am making legal arguments intended to influence that result. When the latter has decided, I do not criticize the result. The difference is that the courts are not guided by the Holy Spirit. As Catholics, we believe, or should believe, that the magisterium is so guided.

The Bishops deserve deference in Faithful Citizenship, particularly as no other higher level of the magisterium has explicitly contradicted them, as far as I am aware. The challenges are being made based on alleged inconsistencies between Faithful Citizenship and other earlier magisterial documents of higher authority. The basis for those challenges is murky, however, at least to me, and I defer to the magisterium. If higher authority of the magisterium declares that the USCCB is wrong in Faithful Citizenship I will accept that. Unless and until that occurs, I will defer to the Bishops.