Maurice Timothy Reidy
How can Catholics engage the new Democratic majority?
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In conjunction with three articles in the February 16 edition addressing the intricacies of the abortion debate, America offers here three more pieces on that neuralgic subject and other political issues Catholics will have to reckon with under a new presidential administration.

In “A Change in Tone,” Thomas A. Shannon, emeritus professor of religion and social ethics at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, looks back at the “fairly harsh and strident” rhetoric employed by some U.S. bishops prior to the November election, and calls for a change of tone as Catholics seek to establish a respected place in the public square. “When the rhetoric of an argument is reinforced by a position of authority,” Shannon writes, “the danger of neither side in an argument hearing the other is magnified exponentially.”

Read “A Change in Tone.”

Gerald Coleman, S.S., a lecturer in moral theology at Santa Clara University, considers the much-talked about Freedom of Choice Act, or FOCA, which Barack Obama has pledged to sign if it reaches his desk. That legislation would vastly expand the rights of women to obtain an abortion, and threatens the independence of Catholic hospitals, Coleman writes, but ultimately he concludes that FOCA has little chance of passing. A far more pressing issue, and one that Catholics would do well to pay more attention to, is the distressing fact that close to 60 percent of young Catholics approve of the legality of abortion.

Read “A Failure to See.”

Finally, Cornelius F. Murphy. Jr., takes another look at Faithful Citizenship, the 2007 document authored by the bishops on the responsibility of the Catholic voter, and finds much in it worth preserving and reflecting upon as Catholics attempt to work with Barack Obama’s new administration. “As Catholics bring their moral principles into the public square,” Murphy writes, “they have a unique opportunity to convince others of their value, since these conceptions of the good belong to all.”

Read “A Catholic’s Political Duty."

Maurice Timothy Reidy is online editor of America.

Comments

Michael Bindner | 2/17/2009 - 10:07am
Given that certain of our fellow bloggers from the pro-life side have not yet weighed in, my guess is that there are those who don't respond to web only features.
Marie Rehbein | 2/11/2009 - 9:18pm
In response to Michael, above, I would say that the lack of responses might indicate approval. I usually only respond if it seems as though something is off base.
Michael Bindner | 2/11/2009 - 11:09am
Given the lack of responses to these articles, I would speculate that people don't read the web only features or that they have had enough on abortion for the present.
CHRYS FISHER | 2/7/2009 - 4:58pm
Yes, it's a disgrace that the Catholics on the Supreme Court keep kicking Our Lord's poor in the face. Someone should deny them communion.
ROBERT MCNULTY | 2/6/2009 - 2:25pm
The statements about Catholics dealing with this administration makes one wonder: To what religion do they think The Vice-president and the Speaker of the House belong? This to say nothing about The Chief Justice of the United states, also a gpvernment official.