Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Convention for the Common Good : Catholic, or Just Liberal?

Catholic social teaching ought to get a fair amount of attention at a Catholic university, which is why it’s good to see Professor Mark Johnson in Theology giving some attention to something called the Platform for the Common Good propagated by The Convention for the Common Good, which describes itself as “Over 800 Catholics and faith leaders [from] across the country.”

The group’s position on abortion is rather anemic. It wants to . . .
Promote policies that prevent and reduce abortions by supporting women and families. Ensure robust alternatives to abortion, including adoption.
But then what does it say about the death penalty?
Abolish the death penalty.
Johnson notes:
Now, I have no bone to pick with the moral truth-value of either of these demands; I support both. But why is it that, in comparison to the pithy demand on the death penalty, the demand on abortion appears to be a serpentine and supine wish, with which no one in contemporary politics disagrees? It was the Clinton administration of the 1990’s, after all, that gave us the desire that abortions should be “safe, legal, and rare.” Was the Platform, by addressing abortion in a verbiage ratio of almost 4-to-1 compared to its treatment of the death penalty, really saying nothing much?
There is a bit more rhetoric about abortion in the statement, all of it equally mealy-mouthed.

Johnson then concludes:
Policy-promotion and ensuring alternatives rarely attain to what abolition accomplishes. If the death penalty can only be abolished by laws—would the Platform be satisfied with “policies that reduce” the death penalty?—then it stands to reason that the same will be true of abortion. If the angel Gabriel were to appear to me today with the offer that abortion would be steadily reduced to the point of complete extinction, but would still remain legal, would I take the offer? Yes, in a heart-beat. But since law exists both to restrain and to instruct, I would ask Gabriel to take back to the Lord my prayer that the law would soon reflect and perpetuate the community’s conviction that citizenship and civil rights exist from conception forward.
Johnson, in fact, understates the leftist bias of the document, which endorses every leftist policy one might think of.

This is all too typical of the things that happen when the more established types of Catholic political activists tackle an issue. They pay lip-service to the Catholic position on abortion, but in their hearts of hearts they are liberals. They feel uncomforatble taking positions like those of the Christian Coalition or the Republican party, and they’re happy taking positions consistent with voting for Barack Obama.

Christianity, of course, has a 2,000 year history of struggling with a worldly culture sharply at odds with Christian culture, and with some frequency it has lost. This appears to be the latest example.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Dad29 said...

If you zip through the websites of the named organizations, you'll find a LOT of grayhairs.

So they're Lefties.

9:38 AM  
Blogger CatholicSoldier said...

One problem with Liberal Catholics, in addition to their usual luke-warm opposition to Abortion (if not support for it) is their failure to understand the Catholic Principle of Subsidiarity. If they truly took that to heart, they would end up placing much greater responsibility in the hands of individuals, communities and states, not an over-reaching Federal Government.

The other significant problem is that they look at all issues being equal or end up creating a straw-man to knock down (The evil conservative who is pro-life, but wants to execute all criminals, starve the hungry, kick out the homeless, etc), which is far from the truth.

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Daffy said...

And of course they assume that all women who have abortions do so because they lack the resources to raise a child.

4:14 AM  
Blogger John Pack Lambert said...

Half of all abortions in the US are on women over age 24. While some are motivated by pure economics a lot are motivated by not wanting to readjust their education to fit having a child. One problem is extreme negative views towards adoption especially from race hustlers.

8:07 PM  

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