Obama widens Catholic lead

A new survey from the Pew Forum shows that President Obama is widening his lead over GOP nominee Mitt Romney among likely Catholic voters, a group the president won in 2008.

Among all Catholics, the president leads 54-39%, though both candidates are about tied among white Catholics.


Religion News Service points out that the Romney campaign just unveiled a list of prominent Catholic supporters, dubbed the Catholics for Romney Coalition, headlined by five former US ambassadors to the Holy See. Mitt Romney praised the Catholic Church in a press release:

The Catholic Church embodies all that is great about America—loving your neighbor, defending life, and helping the less fortunate to overcome poverty and rise in the world. Forming a more perfect union requires that we continue to turn these principles into reality. If I am elected president, that will be my highest priority.

Earlier this year, Obama announced his Catholic steering committee, which includes some names well known among progressive Catholic circles. Obama also released a video specifically targeted toward Catholic voters, hitting heavily on themes of collective values. Watch that video below.

Michael J. O’Loughlin

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Joseph J Dunn
7 years 10 months ago
Obama's lead among likely Catholic voters seems strange, given his positions that an employer's obligation to pay for health insurance trumps religious liberty and that the right to abortion is sacrosanct. Perhaps economic problems are leading many to make ''redistribution'' the key issue in this election. That is not unprecedented. In 1936, eighty-two percent of Catholics voted for FDR's second term. He also ran on a ''redistribution'' theme that included anti-business, anti-wealthy, and anti-bank speeches. This election took place a year after passage of Social Security and establishment of the WPA and while older stimulus-infrastructure programs were continuing. This was accompanied by the 1935 and 1936 Revenue Acts, which raised taxes on corporations and high-income earners. But sadly, by 1939, the unemployment rate was still 14%, business innovation and job growth were dormant, one third of American households had income less than the poverty level, and non-profits were cash-starved. In other words, redistribution had dire effects on those it was supposed to help. Much more detail is available in my recent book After One Hundred Years: Corporate Profits, Wealth, and American Society.
Joseph J Dunn
7 years 10 months ago
Actually, the ''recession within the Depression'' to which Mr. Killoran refers lasted from mid-'37 into 1938. The 1939 stats reflect little, if any, of that recession. Further, the drought of business innovation, as measured by patent applications ( a record kept by the Patent Bureau since 1840) lasted decades after the end of WWII. Truman's autobiography notes that one in three of young men called up in the first year of the draft were rejected for poor physical condition-a number that matches well with the number of families still living on sub-poverty incomes even in 1939. After One Hundred Years is the product of six years of research, including much in FDR's Presidential Library, and the footnotes and bibliography are easily checked by anyone interested. It spans the 20th century, not just the Depression years, and is vital for anyone interested in promoting the general welfare or trying to balance the scales of economic justice.
JR Cosgrove
7 years 10 months ago
''the unemployment rate jumped in '39 because FDR listened to the deficit hawks and cut government spending!''

From the mouth of FDR's Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau, in May of 1939.

'We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong…somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises…. I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started…. And an enormous debt to boot!'
Joseph J Dunn
7 years 10 months ago
I stand by the comments I wrote in #1 and #7 above, and in After One Hundred Years: Corporate Profits, Wealth, and American Society. I have never claimed that my book was ''peer reviewed'', and explicitly state in the book that responsibility for the work is mine alone. It will stand up well to scrutiny, and I welcome all readers. 
Vince Killoran
7 years 10 months ago
You're right John-remember all the terrified rhetoric of the spring, i.e., the very existence of the Faith would collapse if BO was re-elected? The USCCB seems quiet these days. . . was it a "false alarm"? So much for the message of "Fortnight for Freedom." I notice that there is not a single thing on the USCCB main web page now about the HHS guidelines. 
JR Cosgrove
7 years 10 months ago
''There was a significant turn to austerity in 1937, which is a significant causal effect with a recession/depth at that time frame. ''

But I have just shown that there was no turn to austerity. That is a myth. Spending was higher in 1937 than during the earlier Roosevelt years.  The exception is the high spending in 1936 which was due to the presidential election as Roosevelt handed out welfare/work project monies to those areas that he needed to bolster for the 1936 elections. 

Information is to the left what water was to the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz.
Vince Killoran
7 years 10 months ago
Steady there Tim-no one is "spinning" and I wasn't engaged in a scholarly debate on moral theology. I was observing that the USCCB  machine had gone quiet. I looked at the USCCB main page and didn't see the large, bold headlines I did in the spring.  I still don't see them. The "Fortnight for Freedom" was to be the start of a major uprising of Catholics against the oppressive state.  What now? A link announcing a Mass on October 14th and another on "urging" Catholics to "renew their commitment" to life is feeble.

I'm pleased to get your information regarding the "Catholic News Agency" but that was not under consideration. 

I don't much care for BO-too centrist, too much a corporate lackey. Still, I guess I'll vote for him and keep plugging away for progressive causes. I know you'll sleep better with that information! 
Sandi Sinor
7 years 10 months ago
Pew is among the most reputable research and polling organizations in the country - ALL large national polls are conducted the same way - they are well-designed and usually have a statistical reliability of 3 points, plus or minus.

For those of us unfamiliar with the acronym - what is MSM?

 Mr. O'Leary, have you appointed yourself as spokesman for a sub-group of highly conservative Catholics - who think that they may judge what makes someone ''Catholic''?  Funny, the church has always said it is baptism. But now it seems that for some it comes down to unqualified assent to some man-made interpretations and rules rather than to the creed, with no apparent awareness of another very important church teaching - primacy of conscience. 

Predictable reaction though - ''conservative'' Catholics attack the messenger when they don't like the results of studies done of what the majority of Catholics believe. They turn to their fallback judgment - ''those people aren't ''real'' Catholics. Only people who think exactly as they do - and who never dissent from anything because they choose to use their own minds and consciences as taught by the church - are ''real'' Catholics.'' With this narrow criteria, a number of saints who at one time ''dissented'' or were judged to be heretics would be dropped from the calendar of saints. Neither Joan of Arc nor John Cardinal Newman, among many others, would meet Mr. O'Leary's qualifications for being a ''real'' Catholic.

But, most ''real'' Catholics study the issues and the proposals of the candidates and base their vote as much as possible on a balance of all the issues. Not a single candidate in any race in the country would support every single current Catholic teaching out there - so, each person must decide in their own consciences which issues take precedence - looking at the big picture, rather than just at a narrow set of current hot button issues in the church (gay marriage, contraception, etc).

 These (real - sorry, but they are as ''real' than the narrow, evangelical-fundamentalist clone Catholics are) Catholics are also grateful that the US, unlike some nations, has genuine separation of church and state. They understand that as Catholics they may accept and follow certain teachings without imposing their own religious beliefs on the 78% of fellow citizens who are not Catholic. They understand that the American concept of religious freedom also protects them - perhaps when they are rushed to the emergency room for a blood transfusion they are grateful that their insurance will cover it, even if their employer and owner of the business where they work is a Jehovah's Witness.
Tim O'Leary
7 years 10 months ago
Sandi #31
I never said the Pew Forum wasn't good at what they do. They are very good at polling. But, one has to understand the limitations of the methodology, such as what definitions they use, how questions are phrased, how the people are selected (who is at home, etc.), and the statistical assumptions.

The problem I raised is how they define a Catholic in their polling. My question does not have anything to do with conservative or liberal per se, unless the former just means objective reality (vs. subjective reality). For example, it may shock you that it is not as clearcut as determining a person's sex or age.

For example, your test of having being baptized would include not only many non-Catholic Christians, but also many people who became atheists in their adult lives, such as Richard Dawkins, Hitler, Stalin, Bill Maher, etc. What if they converted to Islam? So, how is that a test? Do you believe what you write? Or do you refuse to believe one who says they no longer believe in the Catholic faith? Is that giving them proper respect for their conscience?

You really do complain a lot that I am even on this site, which is not very tolerant of you. But, I never thought liberals were consistent about that in any case.
7 years 10 months ago
High support for Obama among Catholics is a deeper commentary into the failure of proper catechesis the past few decades. The Church and the Bishops only have themselves to blame. Anyone know the numbers for active Catholics attending weekly mass?  
JR Cosgrove
7 years 10 months ago
I realized my previous post was about a rather long blog post and not an article in the magazine.
ed gleason
7 years 10 months ago
Imagine the polls are now showing a pending devastating GOP defeat and Joseph Dunn is still campaigning against a 4 term FDR who led us out of the depression  Who are these campaigning conservatives that are rooting for Romney?
Remember in the 90s it was "The Economy.. Stupid'?
Now it's The Polls Stupid. The majority of Catholics will vote for Obama because they don't believe the GOP rhetoric and don't believe the GOP ever overturning Roe/Wade. B. Kieren says " 'he {Obama] is the most pro-abortion president in history'.. no he is not... Reagan was.. in the sixties he signed first state OK abortion law in Ca. and did diddly in 8 years as president. He wins worst title even though Romney flipped flopped even more than Reagan. O!!! and people liked Reagan.
Sandi Sinor
7 years 10 months ago
Mr. Killoran, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform provides a mechanism for writers to self-publish their books.  The only editorial review of the book on Amazon is Kirkus Indie Reviews, which is a group that will - for a fee - provide an ''honest'' review of self-published books by anonymous reviewers who may or may not be qualified as far as content goes. The author was an agent with an insurance company for 30 years. He has some executive education training (continuing education) in business from reputable schools, but no relevant degrees are mentioned.
I have not read the book, and so hesitate to judge it, but as an economist I would guess that while the factual/statistical information in the book is probably accurate the analysis may not reflect much depth or breadth of knowledge of economics - based on the very little information and analysis given in the posts here.
7 years 10 months ago
Just another indication of how far out of touch Dolan et. al. are with those in the pew. So much for the faux "religious liberty" issue.
Vince Killoran
7 years 10 months ago
"GDP is a macro economic concept and macroeconomics didn't become popular till later years as a result of the work of Keynes.  GDP didn't become an accepted measure till during WWII."

I can only assume that you're having a little pre-weekend fun Cosgrove. A cold beer is a good way to get that started.

Anyways, it doesn't matter when GDP "became an accepted measure" because we use it today to examine the relationship of government spending to the total economy. It's a good metric to use in doing economic history. Further, as you know, Keynes was at the height of his career. The New Deal administration was divided between the Morgenthau crowd and the Keynesians. 

FDR insisted on a balanced budget in '37. The cuts to "emergency" programs were especially sharp.  The economic nosedive began about six months later. There's scholarly consensus on this but conservative journalists and activists (and some Milton Friedman disciples) don't accept it because they would have to admit that deficit spending worked to bring the nation out of the Great Depresssion.
Sandi Sinor
7 years 10 months ago
Tim #36, it is interesting that you think I ''complain a lot'' that you are on this site. I have made no more than about dozen posts on America's website ever I think, and don't recall that I ever said you should not be on this site. Could you please cite a specific post where I said that you should not be posting on this site? 

 I do admit that I have responded to some of your more sweeping judgments at times. Perhaps the reason you spur me to post when the posts of others here don't (including many who see Catholicism as you do) is that you seem often to set yourself up as someone who has some kind of ''right'' to judge others - someone who decides whether other posters (or those who respond to polls in this case) are really Catholic - under your own personal definition. 

Those who self-identify as athiests or agnostics, or who have become active in another christian or non-christian faith, or who self-identify as ''none'' or as ''spiritual but not religious'' will not likely identify themselves as ''Catholic'' in a poll.  You object to people self-identifying as Catholic if they do not share your personal understanding of Catholicism. You wish to limit the definition of ''Catholic''  to those who conform to YOUR set of ''correct'' responses to a narrow set of questions. The reality is this - among those who are baptized in the Catholic church and who self-identify as Catholics - and not as athiests, agnostics, Baptists, Episcopalians, Muslims, Jews etc, etc, etc - have just as much ''right'' as do you to self-identify as Catholic. Your example of Dawkins, Hitler et al is a form of red herring, but I suspect that you know that.

Father Hans Kung dissents from many Catholic teachings. Yet the pope has not only never excommunicated him, he has even had him as a guest to lunch. He is a Roman Catholic priest in good standing. But if a pollster called him and he told them he is Catholic,  you would likely judge that  his opinion doesn't count as a ''real' Catholic because he dissents from some current Catholic teachings. Tim, it is not up to you to judge who is a ''real'' Catholic and who isn't - on this website or in a pre-election poll. You have a perfect right to post here - but you do not have the right to judge who is or is not Catholic.

Some Catholics judge other Catholics because they lack sufficient knowledge of the history of the Catholic church and of the development of doctrine. These Catholics also sometimes veer towards a dangerous fundamentalist religious mindset that is more often seen in some denominations of protestantism than in Catholicism.

BTW, why do you assume that I am a ''liberal''?

Am I a ''liberal'' in your eyes because I don't think you have the right to judge who is a ''real'' Catholic and who isn't - and especially perhaps because I object to this kind of judgmentalism on the part of some Catholics? Fortunately, not all ''conservative'' Catholics believe that they are God (or that they are the pope) and have a ''right'' to judge the minds and souls of other Catholics.

 I have not weighed in on this election - I have not indicated even by a hint in my posts which candidate I will vote for. So, would you please enlighten me as to how you have come to your judgment that I am a ''liberal''?  And while you are at it, could you please define what YOU mean by the term ''liberal''
Thank you.
Vince Killoran
7 years 10 months ago
"I tend to require stronger proof than simple self-identification."

Yeah, and we all know that scientists never produce conflicting results.

"Did people change their minds in the last week or did the selection process of respondents change?"

I'm certain it's the latter with additional factors such as wording.  If you're interested in discussing "Polling 101" please contact me. The point is that the Pew method is unremarkable.

7 years 10 months ago
I love watching propaganda in the morning!

The video speaks much louder by what it does not say. It avoids the fact that Obama is against Catholics and the Church on almost every major issue: life issues (he is the most pro-abortion president in history - every speaker at the Dem convention promoted/extolled abortion on demand), on the religious liberty issue, marriage, torture, war and the use of drones to kill US and foreign citizens without due process....

Here is a good article for those thinking of voting for this unethical politician:
Carlos Orozco
7 years 10 months ago
Post-Constitutional voters re-elected George I in 2004, why would they not do the same with Barack I in 2012?
Vince Killoran
7 years 10 months ago
What a treat to watch conservatives squirm and explain this away (e.g., these are "real" Catholics, they are brainwashed, etc.).

As for Joseph Dunn's claims (recycled from Shlaes THE FORGOTTEN MAN-a book with absolutely no credibility by scholars), the unemployment rate jumped in '39 because FDR listened to the deficit hawks and cut government spending!  When WWII began government spending skyrocekted and pulled the country out the Depression for good. 
Joshua DeCuir
7 years 10 months ago
Glad Brett Kieran linked to Conor Friedersdorf's article; I keep searching in vain for a response from Catholic liberals who support Obama, they tell me, on moral grounds.  Obama has been much worse with respect to the war on terror than Bush, so you'd expect SOME objections.  So far, though, crickets (or, rather, a fusillade against Romney about Ayn Rand, etc.).
Vince Killoran
7 years 10 months ago
With all due respect Mr. Dunn you are incorrect and your book is not the product of a peer-reviewed scholarly process. I am not familiar with the press that published your work, "CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform."

p.s. Re. Cosgrove's Morgenthau quote: Morganthau was the deficit hawk who pulled FDR into this late '30s mess. Please do consult Alan Brinkley's THE END OF REFORM. Brinkley is an historian at Columbia and a world-class scholar on the New Deal.  You will not find any scholars who disagree with this basic assessment of FDR's "stumble."
Mike Brooks
7 years 10 months ago
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to fish and you feed him for the rest of his life.  Promise him a fish every day of his life and you make him a Democrat.  Give over 50% of the voting population a fish every day, you'll have a Democrat POTUS for the remainder of the abbreviated life of the Republic.
Mike Brooks
7 years 10 months ago
Here's a good article for poll-happy ed gleason on how Carter beat Reagan in 1980:  http://spectator.org/archives/2012/09/25/how-carter-beat-reagan. 

I seem to remember a bunch of polls in 2010 proclaiming that the Dems were going to hold on to the House and lose no seats in the Senate.  And most recently, I saw the polls in North Carolina claiming that the vote on a constitutional amendment to preserve marriage as the union of a man and a woman was going to be close; it passed by more than 20%.  That last one should be particulalry concerning for Dems, with gay marriage in the official party platform.

I think Democrats are going to be unhappily surprised this November.
Patricia Bergeron
7 years 10 months ago
Mr. Brooks, I'll add one more: filet the fish, throw the bones to the poor, and keep the rest for yourself. Then you qualify as a conservatice republican.
JR Cosgrove
7 years 10 months ago
This discussion is way of topic but to set some things straight before we move on.  Some facts

1. Mr. Morgenthau was Secretary of the Treasury and if he was as Alan Brinkley says, incompetent, what does that say about his boss, Franklin D Roosevelt?  Roosevelt had surrounded himself with a lot of incompetent people.  One economist said about Roosevelt that he made good speeches and that is not to be underestimated but he made lousy economic decisions.

2. Mr Morgenthau made the statement which probably reflected FDR's thoughts and a lot of others in the government.

3. The year was 1939 so Morgenthau was assessing 6 1/2 years of economic activity by the Roosevelt government and his comment was probably an honest assessment of what had happened since Roosevelt had taken office.

4. The government did reduce spending in 1937 but not by much and it was higher in 1937 than in 1933-1935.  If spending was high in 1937 then it is hard to pin the recession on low spending.

1934 - $6.5 billion
1935 - $6.4 billion
1936 - $8.2 billion
1937 - $7.6 billion

Why so much in 1936.  Roosevelt spent the money to buy the 1936 election.  In August of 1936 public opinion favored Landon but then Roosevelt released an onslaught of money before the election and won in a landslide.  Good old fashion vote buying.  Roosevelt bought his good name in history by prolonging the Depression.

So it is a myth that lack of spending caused the 1937 depression.  One has to look elsewhere to find the causes.  One cause was they raised taxe rates in 1936.  Another cause was business never knew what they were going to do next so this caused tremendous uncertainty in business which reduced investment substantially.  Another cause was a large increase of gold into the US from Europe which was getting very panicked and this caused inflation.  Another cause was high union wages  many new government regulations which made a lot of business unprofitable.

These likely explanations are inconvenient today because supposedly stimulus creates a rosy economic environment.  But as we know that is not true.

Alan Brinkley is a left wing ideologue and it seems a dishonest one if he says it was reduced government spending that caused the recession which means all those who agree with him are suspect to their honesty about the cause of Roosevelt's stumble.  Spending was at a high level.  It did not decrease from the high growth years.  And we got a large drop in economic activity.  Funny thing about those stimului.

Maybe we should leave this alone now since this OP is about Catholic support of Obama and not 1930's failed economic polices. 
Joseph J Dunn
7 years 10 months ago
The article we are all blogging about reports a poll of likely Catholic voters in the coming election, in which unemployment, poverty, and the economy are obvious issues. So, the history of Catholics voting in similar previous elections, and the consequences of those votes, are relevant.  As Catholics, we have a duty in stewardship, in charity, and in justice, to consider all of these issues carefully for the common good. A good book, like a good article, calls our attention to information and to propsitions that challenge our thinking about methods, to achieve our goals and avoid mistakes that imperil the least fortunate among us.
Rick Fueyo
7 years 10 months ago
"Alan Brinkley is a left wing ideologue and it seems a dishonest one if he says it was reduced government spending that caused the recession which means all those who agree with him are suspect to their honesty about the cause of Roosevelt's stumble."

As President Clinton would say, it's just a matter of arithmetic. Or as Stephen Colbert would say, reality has a well-known liberal bias.
There was a significant turn to austerity in 1937, which is a significant causal effect with a recession/depth at that time frame. But there is an equally significant cottage industry of professional prevaricators on the right who seek to unlearn the lessons of the Great depression in order to rationalize and otherwise plainly a moral worldview.
Those who need to believe it cannot be convinced, but it remains the truth
Joshua DeCuir
7 years 10 months ago
"You're right John-remember all the terrified rhetoric of the spring, i.e., the very existence of the Faith would collapse if BO was re-elected?"

Would you (or someone) provide the exact quote wherein the USCCB - or Card. Dolan - stated that the re-election of the President posed a fundamental threat to the faith?  I think you're making it up for political points.

Whether or not the President wins, it doesn't change the fact that the HHS mandate - which remains unchanged yet - is a lamentable policy that changes the traditional relationship of the federal government to religious institutions.

Whether or not the President wins, doesn't immunize him from criticism over how he views religious liberty under the First Amendment.  Remember, his administration lost a religious liberty case NINE to ZERO in the Supreme Court, with an argument that even his own former Solicitor General characterized as "amazing" in its obtuseness.

I'd take supporters of the President a bit more seriously if they didn't tend to view the election as a zero-sum determination between the all-good, all-knowing, all-wise President and those evil, short-sighted, greedy bishops.  As Conor Friedersdorf's article points out (which remains unacknowledged by Catholic progressives thus far), Pres. Obama's moral record is certainly worthy of criticism, not white-washing. 
Helen Deines
7 years 10 months ago
The most conservative bishops and Cardinal Dolan, in their fervor, their intellectual dishonesty and revisionist history, have been Barack Obama's best campaign staff.  Perhaps we will see a return of spiritual leaders who remember the unique gifts of our Catholic faith.  

Thanks you, Nuns on the Bus and your sisters and supporters, who kept your sanity when so many around you lost their center.
Vince Killoran
7 years 10 months ago
Josh-Why not ask me to provide proof instead of accusing me of "making it up for political points"?

Here's one of the many quotes from Dolan:

"NY Archbishop and Cardinal-Designate Timothy Dolan described the move as, 'the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences.'  Dolan, who is also the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, went on to say the move was 'unconscionable' and that it 'represents a challenge and a compromise of our religious liberty.'
Dolan, and the Church, is calling for HHS to reverse their decision.
'The Obama administration has now drawn an unprecedented line in the sand,” he said. 'The Catholic bishops are committed to working with our fellow Americans to reform the law and change this unjust regulation. We will continue to study all the implications of this troubling decision.'"

Do they say "do not vote for BO"? Not in those words-but see the already-prepared "homily notes" on the USCCB website for Nov. 4, 2012. In the last section the bishops note that Catholics must make “important distinctions among moral issues acknowledging that some of these issues involve the clear obligation to oppose intrinsic evils which can never be justified and that others require action to pursue justice and promote the common good.”  The "moral issues" that they identify are abortion, birth control, and gay marriage.  You connect the dots.

BTW, any "lines in the sand" have been drawn by the USCCB & their supporters. They ramped up the rhetoric and got their meager troops to the battle lines in the spring but are nowhere to be seen just now.  Of course, there's still time yet. I know our parish priest will give it at least another go before election day.  But then what? Will they announce the end-of-the-world as we know it? Apologize for the hyperbole? Probably "no" to both.  Their credibility is pretty low as a result of this & the sex abuse scandal.

Re. Cosgrove's persistence in historical error please note that federal spending as GDP for 1933 was 22.38; for 1937 it was 18.74. Realizing the mistake and the slide back into depression government spending climbed back up to 20.53 in 1938 & 20.66 in 1939. It didn't really reach the necessary high levels until WWII when it peaked at a whopping 52.94 in 1945.

Your characterization of Professor Brinkley is hilarious.  When faced with facts try to smear the experts right?

NOW we can get back to the election.
Rick Fueyo
7 years 10 months ago
"But I have just shown that there was no turn to austerity."
No, you didn't. it's a simple? ?f?u?n?c?t?i?o?n? ?o?f? ?m?a??t?h????.?????
You are in over your head on substantive economic discussions, even if the water is only a foot deep
Tim O'Leary
7 years 10 months ago
Vince #19
Up to your old spinning tricks again? As regards your comment on the USCCB, you might be technically correct that the word HHS doesn’t appear in a headline. I just went to the home page, where I see the following:

Top of their home page: ''October 14 Mass and Pilgrimage for Life and Liberty''
Lower down on the same home page: Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship
Over on the left: Cardinal Dinardo Urges Renewed Commitment To Defending Human Life In 2012
Here is the link to the USCC http://www.usccb.org/index.html

Also, from the Catholic News Agency 5 days ago: Thousands join grassroots women's movement opposing HHS mandate
You can keep up on the Religious Freedom issue at this site dedicated to the fight http://www.catholicliberty.com/
Rick #25
You are always in over your head when it comes to moral theology but you still opine anyway. Are you an economist (or just a lawyer)?
Every election, liberals put out polls assuring their side of a win, and always are surprised with the result, because the vote was much closer than they thought or because they lost, as happened in 2010, 2004, 2000…
JR Cosgrove
7 years 10 months ago
''Re. Cosgrove's persistence in historical error please note that federal spending as GDP for 1933 was 22.38; for 1937 it was 18.74. Realizing the mistake and the slide back into depression government spending climbed back up to 20.53 in 1938 & 20.66 in 1939. It didn't really reach the necessary high levels until WWII when it peaked at a whopping 52.94 in 1945.''

I am sorry but you make my point when you use a bait and switch.  I gave actual government expenditures and you divert to some other measure that wasn't even used then.  GDP is a macro economic concept and macroeconomics didn't become popular till later years as a result of the work of Keynes.  GDP didn't become an accepted measure till during WWII.  It is possible to go back and examine GDP till the late 1700's but they didn't use that measure for anything during the 1930's so they didn't change anything because of it.  And besides they didn't increase spending anyway by any significant amount.

So what you are saying is nonsense.  They did not cut back on spending, they increased it over previous years except for the money Roosevelt used to buy the 1936 election which didn't go into anything really productive.  Spending during 1937-1939 was fairly similar and substantially above 1933-1935.  The recession ended with little increase in spending.  Nothing you say is consistent with the concept that lack of spending caused the 1937 recession nor spending got one out of it.
Joshua DeCuir
7 years 10 months ago
"Do they say "do not vote for BO"? Not in those words"

So the answer to the question I asked is that you have no proof of either Dolan or the USCCB saying that "the very existence of the faith would collapse" if the President were re-elected.

Just wanting to make sure. 

" The "moral issues" that they identify are abortion, birth control, and gay marriage.  You connect the dots."

If I'm not mistaken, they also have been critical of Paul Ryan's budget.  At least that's what Sr. Simone told me during the DNC - you know when she endorsed Pres. Obama on grounds of his standing for justice.

Guess she hasn't read and responded to the Conor Friedersdorf's article either.  Does social justice include the President's claims to extrajudicial, extraterritorial assassinations of American citizens?  Or are we supposed to ignore that?
Vince Killoran
7 years 10 months ago
"So the answer to the question I asked is that you have no proof of either Dolan or the USCCB saying that "the very existence of the faith would collapse" if the President were re-elected."

They made two assertions, and they are connected. The first was that the HHS guidelines released by the Obama Administration would result in the end of religious liberty and they must be opposed with maximum effort; the second was that Catholic voters must separate a small number of issues from the other ones and apply special attention to them when voting.

Here's what I wrote in #24: ""[S]ee the already-prepared "homily notes" on the USCCB website for Nov. 4, 2012. In the last section the bishops note that Catholics must make “important distinctions among moral issues acknowledging that some of these issues involve the clear obligation to oppose intrinsic evils which can never be justified and that others require action to pursue justice and promote the common good.”  The "moral issues" that they identify are abortion, birth control, and gay marriage.  You connect the dots."

Re. your final point, I would ask: does Romney oppose "extrajudicial, extraterritorial assassinations of American citizens?" if you are looking for my opposition with BO on issues I can assure you that I have many disagreements.

Guys, it's been fun but it's the weekend. Enjoy. 
Tim O'Leary
7 years 10 months ago
I went into the Pew Forum site to see how they collect their information. It is by telephone, land phone and cell. Those who are willing to speak to a pollster are already self-selected in some way and not fully representative of the general populaiton.

 It appears that one gets into a religious group by self-identification. So, one could say they are a Catholic but mean it by birth, by practice, by culture, etc. So, it is a highly dubious classification. I am sure there are more Evangelicals who by belief and practice are more Catholic than the many cultural Catholics. 

At least Church attendance has some practical relevance. It would be interesting in a poll to ask all self-identified Catholics what they believe on say 3-5 items on doctrine (such as: Is Jesus God? Did he truly and physically rise from the dead? Is the bread at Communion his real body? Did Mary ever sin? ...) and 3-5 on morality (abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, divorce, ...) and on practice (weekly attendence, annual confession, marriage in the Church...). Then we could really know what Catholics think about this election. For now, we know very little apart from the weekly attendance numbers.

ed gleason
7 years 10 months ago
Tim, Yes we have all heard that the polling is a MSM conspiracy. Even Fox News is in on it now. MSM is now 'fixing' the debate next Wednesday as Obama's 'handlers' have made up a list of every possible  question to be asked. He will ask for a TelePrompTer to be setup  at the last second... something like Eastwood's chair.  
Tim O'Leary
7 years 10 months ago
Ed #33
I was making a more general point about the limits of polling by religious affiliation, but I guess it triggered your partisan peeve. Garbage in garbage out was my point.

But I can do partisan too. The teleprompter president will do fine in the debates. He will say sorry for the last 4 years and he will promise to do better in the next 4, at least in golf.

I hope the majority will not get fooled again. In the end, we always get the president we deserve, God help us.

Jobs, debt, gas, peace, freedom. Change is our only Hope.
Tim O'Leary
7 years 10 months ago
Sandi #37
You are misunderstanding my point. I re-read my posts above and do not find one where I judge anyone. I do my best to draw a hard line between judging a sin and not a sinner. I also have not appointed myself to judge anyone, but defer to God and His Church on that. But on this post, I am just bemoaning how an opinion pollster defines a Catholic. While you didn’t come out directly on this, I think you have moved your definition from “anyone baptized” to anyone baptized and still self-identifying as Catholic. So, that definition would cover Fr. Arius and Fr. Lefebvre, King Henry VIII and Martin Luther, who went to their graves believing they were Catholic. It also includes people who are cultural Catholics but do not practice and even do not believe in things like the divinity of Christ or the resurrection. In other words, people who are not even Christian by any logical measure.

My problem is that your definition does not seem to provide much useful information, as the group of self-identifiers is almost identical to the population as a whole, and the idea of a Catholic vote with this definition is meaningless.
On the question of liberal or conservative, these terms in the Church have the common meaning of those who L) do not accept the Church’s teaching on many matters and C) who accept the Church’s teaching (even if not following it faithfully). It is a spectrum rather than two groups. As regards tolerance and judgmentalism, the L side of the spectrum on this blog certainly wanted to rule Paul Ryan out of the Church because of his budget.
Sandi Sinor
7 years 10 months ago
OK, Tim, let's parse your post and then perhaps see how someone could interpret it as implying that you are trying to narrow the self-identified Catholics who responded to a poll into groups you would call ''not really'' Catholic and ''really'' Catholic.

  It would be interesting in a poll to ask all self-identified Catholics what they believe on say 3-5 items on doctrine (such as: Is Jesus God? Did he truly and physically rise from the dead? Is the bread at Communion his real body? Did Mary ever sin? ...) and 3-5 on morality (abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, divorce, ...) and on practice (weekly attendence, annual confession, marriage in the Church...). Then we could really know what Catholics think about this election.

From this statement, I concluded (perhaps wrongly - but reasonably I think) that for you, a poll of self-identified Catholics is meaningless in terms of what ''Catholics'' think because unless they answer your approved questions on doctrine, morality and practice a specific way, you would rule out the answers of some of the self-identified Catholics as indicating what ''Catholics'' think about this election. I concluded (perhaps wrongly - but reasonably) that in your mind, the poll must weed out Catholics according to a set of ''approved'' answers in order to know what ''Catholics think''. This implies a judgment by you of which self-identified Catholics are ''Catholic.''

Perhaps you would like to clarify?

Next - you continue to throw up the red herring of irrelevant people (who is Fr. Arius anyway?) while avoiding answering my direct question about Fr. Kung. So I will ask you again - if Fr. Kung was an American instead of Swiss and he answered a pollster's telephone call and self-identified as a Catholic, and his answers did not conform to whatever you think a ''Catholic'' should answer on your selected questions, would you include his views as part of what ''Catholics think about this election.''?  

You admit that Catholic thought reflects a spectrum of opinion - do you think that only those on the ''C'' side of that spectrum are the ''Catholics'' whose answers to a poll reflect ''Catholic'' opinion?

I did not ask about the ''liberal'' Catholics on the site's opinion of Paul Ryan's proposed budget. I don't know if some have stated that he is not a ''real'' Catholic. I don't read every blog nor every comment. But I no more believe that ''liberal'' Catholics should judge others as not being ''real'' Catholics than I think ''conservative'' Catholics should judge liberals as not being ''real'' Catholics .(However, I do see this kind of judgment coming from ''conservative'' Catholics far more frequently than from ''liberal'' Catholics about their more conservative brethren).

I did not ask about Paul Ryan, but I did ask you why you said

1) that I have ''complained'' about you posting on this site. I asked you to cite a post where I made such a complaint, but you have not done so.

2) and I asked why you labeled me as a ''liberal''? You have not answered that either. 

You have offered a definition for ''liberals'' and ''conservatives'' in the church, and agree there is a spectrum of opinion when it comes to church teachings - however, ALL who are on that spectrum are Catholics - including those who are ''L'' - are they not? You would not dispute that the ''L'' Catholics are ''Catholic'' if they self-identified as ''Catholic'' in a poll? Or would you? 

Also - you seem to conflate being a ''liberal'' within the Catholic church and being a ''liberal'' in terms of politics.  For some, the world doesn't break down in such  a totally black and white fashion.
Tim O'Leary
7 years 10 months ago
Sandi #39
I did say that Catholics should be defined by what they believe and practice, and not just by self-identification. But then I just raised some possibilities ''say 3-5...'' without explicitly defining them. Surely you're not saying that there are no doctrinal issues that a person could hold that would be incompatible with membership in the Catholic Church? For example, are you aware that performing an abortion is by canon law (#1398) an automatic excommunication?

I even mentioned the divinity of Jesus and the Resurrection. Is that already too much for you? If so, then you have a very fluid idea of Catholicism and Christianity (like the Episcopalians or Unitarians). My point again is that just saying one is Catholic is completely insufficient to determine if one is Catholic for scientific polling analysis and determining ''what Catholics think'' about an issue.

I certainly wouldn't judge Hans Kung and will leave that to God and His Church. I don't know what he believes about the resurrection but I hope he believes it was real, etc.

As to some of the minor questions:
Liberal-conservative is a short-hand way for defining the opposing groups in today's Church (see Ross Douthat article) and politics but I agree the terms are imprecise and leave much to be desired. So, I am happy to accept you are not a liberal and I trust you will not call me a conservative either.
As to your prior complaining about my posting, here is a link to ''After the Fortnight'' and your comment #37
Fr. Arius was the priest who set off the Arian heresy, the greatest threat to the Church ever.
MSM as Ed Gleason used it means Mainstream Media, meaning the dominant media with a liberal bias.
Colleen Baker
7 years 10 months ago
There is such a thing as a Catholic world view, and it's independent of practice.  Any cradle Catholic who was raised in the Church, especially in parochial schools, will view the world through a Catholic lense no matter the state of their current practice.  Catholic is not just a belief or a set of specific practices, it truly is it's own mindset.  A person can be as athiestic as they want, but if they were raised Catholic, they will be an atheist with a Catholic mindset.

If a person self indentifies as Catholic, they are acknowleding a personal truth about how they view the world, not necessarily what their current religious pratice is.  It bothers me sometimes when the definition of Catholic is reduced to membership in some kind of exclusive club. It's much more than that, good bad or indifferent.
JR Cosgrove
7 years 10 months ago

I follow these discussions on religion with interest but rarely comment on them.  I usually limit my comments to the politics on this site which there are many  The reason I came to this site was the result of some conversations with high school class mates at a reunion.  Not Jesuit taught by the way but Christian Brother taught who said you should see what they say on the America site.  Since I am one of a small percentage of my high school  classmates who were taught by the Christian Brothers and then went on to college at a Jesuit school, I decided to see what was being said at an official Jesuit site.

It was an eye opener.  It is nearly a 100% political site with a very liberal political philosophical bent with some religious topics thrown in.  A high percentage of the religious topics are encased in a political discussion as this one is.   They are obsessed with politics here, not religion.  There are some religion alone discussions but even a majority of them are in a framework of traditional (believing what the Church has taught for centuries) vs. non traditional (challenging one or many of these teachings.)  It is the authors here who interject the notions of right vs. left in the discussion and the term ''right wing'' Catholic has been used frequently and not in any fondness for the fact that they are referring to those who believe and uphold what the Church has taught for ages.

Often the religious topics will question such things as salvation, baptism, and the value of being a Catholic at all.  For many I can find no real reason to be a Catholic other than some part of the term suits them or that is just what they have been most of their life even though they may not have many beliefs that are traditionally Catholic.  I have used the concept that it is like belonging to a social club or a being a fan of a particular sports team as a way of describing their self designation as a Catholic.  It's fashionable for them.  One said they never go to Mass but then chastises others as not being true or good Catholics.  Another with SJ after his name said he actually believed in the Nicene Creed giving the impression that there are SJ's who do not believe in the Creed.  I asked can one be a Catholic and not believe in the Nicene Creed.  Silence.

So I read what is said on this site to see what others say so as to understand and learn just what are the problems for the Catholic Church.  It may not be a full spectrum of attitudes and beliefs but it is probably a good sample.   I notice that the Jesuits are very careful in what they say but often will phrase their OP's with ambiguity so one can read between the lines and say this is what they really believe.  This is not a place to convert or convince or even to be validated in one's faith.  This is a place to see what the various world views are and to know what is truly eating at the fabric of the Church.  

This is a place to see where there are Catholics who are not Christian.  What do I mean by that?  They identify as Catholics but do not believe Christ was God.  He was just a rather gifted philosopher who had a cult following who conned the locals and the rest is history.  Interesting the site the Jesuits run here and it keeps me coming back to see what new will be said here in the name of I do not know what.
Sandi Sinor
7 years 10 months ago
Tim (#40),

You have proposed that pollsters ''quiz'' self-identified Catholics using a set of questions as a litmus test to determine if they are ''Catholic'' - at least if they are "Catholic" in the minds of some self-appointed judges. You seem to have proposed this because you didn't like the results of a pre-election survey showing that Obama is leading Romney with Catholic voters. I may be wrong, but I doubt you would have raised the issue of how ''Catholic'' these Catholic respondents are if Romney were leading.

As a practical matter, who would decide which questions should be asked? Who decides what the ''right'' answers might be?  Is a ''perfect'' score required to be considered ''Catholic''? What is a "passing" grade? What about someone who accepts the doctrines of the creed (along with the majority of all christians, so not really a "Catholic" litmus test), but disagree with the teaching that using modern birth control methods is "intrinsially evil" (that question alone would reduce the "Catholic" population in this country by 90%, since 90+% of all Catholics - including those who pass your litmus tests of weekly mass attendance, annual confession etc - use(d) modern birth control methods during their marriages with perfectly clear consciences).  Some of your questions apply to most christians - you could call a Baptist and he or she would agree that Christ is God and that he rose from the dead. Would you then identify that person as ''Catholic'' in your poll?  The same Baptist might agree that homosexual behavior is sinful - does that make him a ''Catholic'' in your eyes?

One teaching that is totally unique to the Roman Catholic church relates to infallibility - and Hans Kung's primary claim to fame is related to his dissent from the re-definition of infallibility that arose at Vatican I  (no Baptist would ever agree that the Roman Catholic pope or the Roman Catholic church are infallible). If the pope thinks Hans Kung is ''Catholic'' in spite of his ''notorious'' public dissent, and you say that you are not in a position to ''judge'' whether or not Hans Kung is ''Catholic'', then how can a Pew Research pollster ''judge'' whether or not any self-identified Catholic is ''Catholic'' enough to suit you?

BTW, your curious comment about only God being able to "judge" Kung (yet you want to "judge" the self-identified Catholics in the Pew poll) raises a question - do you believe that only Catholics can "go to heaven"? [the EENS teaching]

As far as ''judging'' goes, I can't link to the thread, but I do remember at one time you said that the reason you post here is because you fear that casual readers who don't know much about Catholicism could be in danger of being misled about what Catholicism really teaches - especially when some of those folk with SJ after their names post thoughts, concepts, ideas. and possibilities that don't fit into your personal set of ''correct'' Catholic beliefs - some people might think about what they say, because they are, after all, highly educated Catholic priests. Perhaps you didn't mean it this way, but that post came across as meaning that you have appointed yourself  as some kind of doctrinal purity watchdog on the America site - which implies that you are "judging" the blogs and readers posts, ready to "correct" interpretations you don't agree with. I'm surprised you haven't already risen up to ''correct'' Fr. Coleman's most recent post so that the unwary don't get the ''wrong'' idea about whether or not they are morally obligated to oppose legislation that would legalize CIVIL gay marriages.

Re my comment to Dan that you linked to. I did not say that you should not post on this site. I was simply commenting on the fact (so he could take it into consideration) that any poster who engages you had best be prepared to either continue posting ad infinitum, or to simply bow out, because you are one who never stops unless you have the last word.

It's nice of you to offer to stop calling me a "liberal", but actually I said nothing about asking you to stop identifying me as a ''liberal''.

 I did ask on what grounds you decided that I am a ''liberal.''  And I would like to know whether you believe I am a ''liberal'' in terms of church outlook or in terms of political outlook or both because sometimes you seem to be alluding to ''liberal'' in politics or ''liberal'' in the church - and specifically I am curious as to why and in which realms you concluded that I am a ''liberal.''

 Based on the content of your posts, using the ''shorthand'' you mention, I would indeed conclude that you are a ''conservative'' - both politically and in church-related matters. Is that conclusion incorrect?  Are you a ''liberal'' in some arenas? I would be interested to know more about those. I once knew a very ''conservative'' Catholic woman - totally ''faithful to the teachings of the magesterium'' - except in one area. She had a lot of empathy for gays - apparently because she was the mother of a gay person.  So she was what is commonly called a ''conservative'' Catholic in being obedient and giving assent to all official Catholic teachings - except in the one where her soul [some would say it was the Holy Spirit] informed her head on the matter.

I would also be curious to know if you accept Newman's beliefs about the sensus fidelium. And it would be helpful also to understanding your posts to know your definition of ''the church'' - especially when it comes to the oft-repeated reminder that Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would always guide ''the church.''

I await your response.
Tim O'Leary
7 years 10 months ago
I agree that the way the Pew Forum asked the question includes answers from atheists who were born Catholic. But, do we know how many atheists, agnostics, and indifferentists were in the Pew poll? How many are completely ignorant of the faith, and how many differ on key doctrinal issues? Could it be over half? If so, how is it scientifically honest for the Pew Forum to make a summary statement ''Catholics believe…,” using this question? If they also added in the poll that 30% of respondents who said they were Catholic also said they did not believe in God or haven’t gone to Church in over 5 years, wouldn’t that put a more realistic gloss on their poll for the general public reading their results?

Sandi #43
You are certainly no slouch when it comes to volume on this blog. So many questions, but I will stick to the main one.

To make a category judgment on who is a Protestant or Catholic or Atheist, or a doctor or lawyer, etc., is an intellectual judgment, completely distinct from judging the soul of a person. Only the latter is to be avoided, per the teaching of Christ. To avoid intellectual judgments is to stop thinking. For example, to state that slavery is wrong or sex-selection abortion is a war on women in the womb is making a judgment on the intellectual level. To say a lot of people who call themselves Catholic use contraception, cheat on their spouses or lie is also an intellectual judgment, correct or not on the statistics, not a judgment of their state with God, who alone judges the soul. Colleen made the intellectual judgment that some people say they are Catholics when they are atheists. Is she being judgmental?

As Colleen said, she expects there are atheists in the Pew Forum responding as Catholics, so I have a question for you. Would it be too much if the Pew Forum asked just one follow-up question when people respond yes to the question ''Are you Catholic?'' “Do you consider yourself a believing committed Catholic or a cultural Catholic?” That would be very informative and not hard to do, though I don't think this blog would like the result.
JR #42
I too have great admiration for the Jesuit tradition, and the great founders and martyrs and faithful teachers. I am saddened that some have lost their way, especially when it comes to their fourth vow (fidelity to the Magisterium). Maybe, in the coming ''Year of Faith'' there should be special mission to the Jesuits?
Vince Killoran
7 years 10 months ago
When the polls run our way we embrace them and when they go against us we find heaps of fault with the pollsters and the polled.

Tim suggests that pollsters ask  “'Do you consider yourself a believing committed Catholic or a cultural Catholic?'” That would be very informative and not hard to do, though I don't think this blog would like the result.

It would not be informative and it would be impossible to do.  It is a terrible idea that social scientists would reject for a multitude of reasons. The time-tested practice is to allow those being polled to self-identify. Can you imagine the imprecision and bias in doing what Tim recommends with race, ethnic, gender, religious, political, etc. self-identification? Constrasting (and arriving at a definition of)  "believing committed" versus "cultural" would be absurd.

Why write "I don't think this blog would like the result"?  It must be cold comfort to huddle with the few & chosen and think that fellow Catholics aren't "real" Catholics.  
Sandi Sinor
7 years 10 months ago
Tim, I will bow out with this post  - that these self-identified Catholics must not be ''Catholic'' - in your personal definition of 'Catholic''. After you concluded [judged] that I must be a ''liberal'' I asked you how you came to this conclusion - and you have not answered that either.

In your most recent post you made another sweeping judgment and concluded that asking self-identified Catholics in a political poll about whether or not they are a ''cultural'' or ''committed'' Catholics would produce results that ''this blog would not like''.  What is your basis for that conclusion?  How do you know what the results of posing such a question would be? How do you know that ''this blog'' would not like the results? There are some logical fallacies in just that partial sentence alone that would take a while to work through.

  The simplistic ''solution'' to the self-identified Catholic issue is not a solution. Now instead of somebody (who?) developing a set of questions as a litmus test for ''Catholics'' among the Catholics polled, you have reduced it to a single question. But, that doesn't work either.  Different Catholics would define ''being a committed Catholic'' .... differently. For you, it seems to come down to: belief in the creed, opposition to women's ordination; opposition to civil marriage for gays; weekly mass attendance; annual confession and a few other practices and beliefs. Others would offer far more complex, nuanced and, possibly, scholarly definitions.

Many would disagree with your list as being the ''legitimate'' definers of ''Catholic'' - and they would be just as ''committed'' Catholics as you claim to be.

You have not answered questions about your belief - or disbelief - in EENS. You have not answered the question about how you define ''the church.'' You have not answered the question about your views of the sensus fidelium. You have not answered the questions about Hans Kung - although now that you have simplified your litmust test to a single question, it raises a new one regarding Fr. Kung. I would guess he would tell a Pew Research pollster that he is a ''committed'' Catholic rather than a ''cultural'' Catholic - would you agree?

I leave you with the questions already asked and would love to read your answers. But one more - why do you avoid answering these questions?
Marie Rehbein
7 years 10 months ago

Apparently some respondents are under the delusion that the people sitting with them in church think exactly the way they do.


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