Something's been bouncing around in my head these last few weeks, after the President's address at Notre Dame and having heard, ceaselessly, from those Professional Catholics who made it a point of defending both the university and the President.
There was one refrain which I heard from these folks over and over again. Something to the effect of "...and I'm really, REALLY pro-life, so don't misunderstand me...
First, it was great to see these folks feeling the need to preemptively explain themselves. After all, those of us on THIS side of the ideological divide have often felt the compulsion to preface half of what we say by stating that, yes, we actually DO care for the poor and the oppressed.
Second, it was fun to see most of their arguments include the dog-eared trope of "Well, when President Bush..." (It seems abundantly clear to me these benighted folks intend to run against Bush for the next 50 years, sort of how they ran against Hoover until 1956.)
Third, I received much not-so-innocent pleasure from watching the exegetical Cirque de Soleil contortions these guys underwent as they tried to explain how President Obama was actually closer to Catholic social teaching than anyone else, ever!
So, other than the
very foundational building block from which every
single solitary tenet of Catholic social doctrine springs, he's right on board with us, says the Progressive Catholic Guild. Without the merest chemical trace of irony.
The hallmark of the PCG is that yes, one may vote for a candidate who views abortion favorably and has a stellar record as far as NARAL is concerned; provided, natch, that said candidate is simpatico with their
interpretation of Catholic social doctrine, preferably one having a strong statist flavor. Then they trot out the aged and venerable "seamless garment" hypothesis which they wish everyone to believe is the only possible way in which the poor and oppressed may achieve prosperity and freedom.
But they remain, they assert, stalwart pro-lifers.
So, in the interest of science, let's take this argument at face value. Let us suppose the entire membership of the PCG is, adamantly, ardently -- to coin the phrase -- pro-life. Close your eye and imagine that, if that helps.
Got that picture in your mind's eye?
Now ask the following -- and, as is my wont, impertinent -- question: "What has THAT accomplished?"
"Yes, you PCGers are all a pack of raving pro-lifers and no other issue matters more to you than those of life. Your soul aches at the carnage wrought by the abortion industry and all that. But where has THAT gotten us?"
See, the problem is that the PCG has never been able to put more, er, visible issues (poverty, oppression, etc.) in a subsidiary position to that of abortion and other life issues. They are, I firmly believe, congenitally incapable of doing so. Therefore, they vote for the candidates who are adamantly NOT pro-life and who, at most, cast glittering rhetorical pearls of lip-service ("I intend to reduce the number of abortions...") and allow them to assuage their consciences and rationalize their votes.
The fact remains and will remain that there will never be a change in the abortion laws in the USA (or anywhere, really) until a critical mass of legislators, jurists, and executives has been reached and held
. Not just a majority because the majority might be enuretic (as we saw from 1994-2006) or the minority might be obstinate (ditto).
So, PCGers, if you're really serious about being pro-life...ask yourself this question:
"Has my voting record helped to overthrow or helped to entrench the culture of abortion