VP Pick Sen. Tim Kaine seeks to balance Catholic faith with Democratic politics.

With news Friday that Hillary Clinton picked Tim Kaine as her Democratic running mate, the U.S. Senator from Virginia finds him, and his faith, back in the national spotlight. Like many other Democratic politicians who are Catholic, Kaine struggles with the challenge of living out his personal faith in a party that doesn’t always share his church’s views on complicated issues.

As a young attorney in Virginia, Tim Kaine offered his legal services free of charge to death-row inmates seeking exoneration. He has said for decades that he is against the death penalty and that he is uncomfortable with the idea of abortion. Both positions are informed by his lifelong Catholic faith, but he nonetheless eschews the label of “pro-life,” a view he made clear as recently as last week.

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When Kaine ran for governor of Virginia in 2005, anti-death penalty advocates were hopeful that should he win, he might follow the lead of other Catholic governors and halt executions. The commonwealth had killed more criminals than any other state, save Texas, according to a 2012 profile of Kaine inThe Washington Post.

But political realities set in. An anti-death penalty crusader would have a hard time winning statewide office in Virginia. 

So Kaine promised that, even though he was personally opposed to the death penalty, as governor, he would enforce the laws. He kept his word and 11 people, six of them black, were put to death during his tenure.

Kaine’s position, of being personally opposed to a practice but not willing to prohibit it by law, is a standard refrain among some Catholics active in Democratic politics, though more commonly it is applied to abortion rather than the death penalty. 

RELATED: Mike Pence’s Relationship with the Catholic Church is...Complicated

It was in part this view that prompted some liberal activists to complain in the days leading up to his selection by Clinton that Kaine is not one of them, that he is too boring and perhaps too moderate for Democrats in 2016. (He admitted as much to the first charge on Meet the Press, stating quite succinctly, “I am boring.”)

But if he lacks a certain pizazz, what Kaine does bring to the ticket is a worldview shaped by the Catholic faith.

Born in Minnesota and raised outside Kansas City, Kaine said his church was an important part of his upbringing. He told C-SPAN earlier this year that if his family “got back from a vacation on a Sunday night at 7:30 p.m., they would know the one church in Kansas City that had an 8 p.m. Mass that we can make.” 

He went on to attend the Jesuit Rockhurst High School, which is where, he said, he first started “talking about faith and spirituality.”

“That high school experience with the Jesuits was a key part of my transition into an adult life where instead of just accepting the answers of my parents or others, I’ve been a person who wants to go out and find the answers on my own, and the Jesuits get credit for that,” he said.

After being admitted to Harvard Law School, Kaine took a year off to volunteer at a Jesuit vocational school in Honduras, teaching welding and carpentry, skills he learned from his father. It was in El Progreso where he became fluent in Spanish, a skill expected to help Clinton shore up the Hispanic vote.

He told Virginia’sThe Daily Press last year that his experience in Honduras still informed his politics. “My experience working at Loyola taught me the importance of access to skills-based training—both in Honduras and the U.S.—and inspired me to pursue the issue of expanding career and technical education in the U.S. Senate,” he said.

When he and his wife settled down in Richmond about three decades later, they chose to attend a predominantly African-American Catholic parish. There, Kaine helped start a men’s group and joined a gospel choir. (He had toquit the choir once he entered politics, rehearsals becoming difficult to attend.)

He went on to become a city councilor and then mayor of the mostly African-American city in 1998. He was sworn in as lieutenant governor in 2002 and became governor in 2006. Barack Obama considered Kaine as his running mate in 2008 before choosing Joe Biden. He ran the national Democratic Party from 2009 to 2011, and he won a race for the U.S. Senate the following year.

Like his views on the death penalty, which U.S. bishops have long opposed, Kaine’s stance on immigration are also in line with the Catholic hierarchy.

In 2013, Kaine became the first lawmaker in history to deliver a speech from the Senate floorentirely in Spanish. “It is time that we pass comprehensive immigration reform,”he said in Spanish.

But Kaine’s public policy positions on abortion and marriage put him at odds with Catholic teaching.

With speculation mounting that Kaine would be Clinton’s choice, Kaine recently revisited his stance on abortion, recognizing that his own pro-life views were at odds with many Democratic activists. The party, after all, recently adopted in its draft platform for the first time a measure to repeal the Hyde Amendment, a compromise Kaine supports that for decades has restricted federal money from paying for abortions.

RELATED: Room on the Platform for Pro-Life Democrats?

Speaking toCNN earlier this month, Kaine was asked if he is “pro-life,” to which he said, “I've never embraced labels."

"I have a traditional Catholic personal position, but I am very strongly supportive that women should make these decisions and government shouldn't intrude," he continued. "I'm a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade and women being able to make these decisions. In government, we have enough things to worry about. We don't need to make people's reproductive decisions for them."

That position has worked with voters in the past, most of whom fall somewhere in between the two parties’ platforms on the abortion question. But it might not go over so well with some members of his church.

When John Kerry was nominated by the Democrats in 2004, the last Catholic to be given the nod from either party, some bishops warned that Kerry’s views on abortion meant he could not receive Communion, including Archbishop Charles Chaput, who was then the archbishop of Denver. Other bishops have said the same about Vice President Joe Biden, also a Catholic.

This year, there has been relatively little mention from the U.S. hierarchy about abortion politics, perhaps because both candidates are widely viewed to favor abortion rights. (Trump has said in recent months he is against abortion, a position that puts him at odds with his own previous statements. He did not mention the issue during his nomination acceptance speech Thursday.)

On L.G.B.T. issues, Kaine changed his stance on marriage and gay adoption in recent years, like many other Democratic leaders. In 2005, he said he was against adoption by gay parents because he believed only married couples should be allowed to adopt, and gay marriage was still illegal in Virginia.

By 2013, Kaine had changed his mind publicly on marriage, saying, “I believe all people, regardless of sexual orientation, should be guaranteed the full rights to the legal benefits and responsibilities of marriage under the Constitution.” He said he hoped the Supreme Court would legalize same-sex marriage, which it did in 2015.

He explained his thinking with theRichmond Times-Dispatch, saying he had personally changed his mind on the issue as far back as 2006. “My thinking has evolved on it because of people I know, so many gay and lesbian folks, some in long term relationships who are great parents,” he said.

When pressed by the Post in 2012 on how he makes peace with his personal beliefs and public stances, Kaine said, “I have really struggled with that as governor.” He continued, “I hope I can give a good accounting of myself on Judgment Day.” 

Yet Kaine told C-SPAN he is constantly considering the bigger picture when he is voting or pushing an issue, something he traces back to his time with the Jesuits.

“Everybody has motivations in life,” he said. “I do what I do for spiritual reasons.”

Michael O’Loughlinis the national correspondent for America. Follow him on Twitter at @mikeoloughlin.

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William Rydberg
1 year 4 months ago
This fellow seems to be the political opposite of Mr Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. A Jesuit education is rare and expensive in the USA... Catechetical training doesn't seem to be something that tends to come first to mind, when the old boys that went into Federal Politics share their recollections. It would be dreamy should an America interviewer raised the same questions that Fr Rosica CSB of Salt & Light Television raised with Mr Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont... In my opinion, questions asked here are pretty "softball". ;)
ed gleason
1 year 3 months ago
Senator Kaine took off a year at Harvard Law to do missionary work in Hondurus. Trump ducked the draft so he could begin his toxic ambition for financial success. Kaine's ability to rein in ambition makes him A Christian Catholic leader. My opinion may be un-American but Ambition is not a virtue.. .
michael iwanowicz
1 year 4 months ago
Well, Kaine seeks the soft ground ... claiming to be for 'life' and then deciding that government policy overrides his beliefs... discipleship is costly.
Carlos Orozco
1 year 4 months ago
What a FRAUDULENT Catholic this BORING politician is. That must be why the insecure Hillary Clinton chose him as her running mate. Be it abortion, the death penalty or homosexual "marriage", the Democrat party line seems to be the ultimate deciding factor for Senator Kaine. His "Catholic" conscience will now bow to Her Crookedness. He must have forgotten the scriptures on Jesus rejecting the powerful temptations of Satan in the desert... not that anything remotely similar ever be expected from little Timmie. It seems to me, the political circus is being prepared to fool people into feeling compelled to choose between the forces of bigotry (Trump) and those of death (Hillary). Free yourself from the two-party system lie and dump BOTH candidates.
ed gleason
1 year 4 months ago
The First amendment gives us free speech and free exercize of religion. Can't one believe that abortion is morally wrong and still not want to constantly uproot the law/amendment that allows that wrong?. The 18th and 19th century Catholic Church could not abide the First amendment. Who wants to condemn the First Amendment advocates for not wanting to up-root the the First amendment allowing gravely wrong speech, print and religious practice?. Try 18th century Euopean Bishops.
Carlos Orozco
1 year 3 months ago
Ed, I never asked for any "safe zones" against the First Amendment, as that is a practice that pollutes interchange of ideas in our politically-correct society, endangering liberty of thought in the near future. No need to go back all the way to the 18-th century to find enemies of the First Amendment. Senator Kaine can say whatever we wants and commentators in the blog can carry the water for the Clinton political machine if they choose to do so. Therefore, because freedom of speech exists, I decide to exercise my own with respect to a public figure that, I believe, is fraudulently being portrayed as a "Catholic missionary" in the dinosaur, corporate, pro-Hillary media.
Chuck Kotlarz
1 year 3 months ago
Does the moral compass suggest abortion is the worst of all evils? Is slavery a lesser evil than abortion? Is economic slavery a lesser evil than abortion? University of California Berkeley economics professor Emmanuel Saez notes average income for the richest 1 percent of Americans, excluding capital gains, rose from $871,100 in 2009 to $968,000 from 2012-13. New York times writer, Justin Wolfers, notes the 99 percent saw a drop in average incomes from $44,000 to $43,900. The calculation excludes government benefits in the form of Social Security, welfare, tax credits, food stamps and so on.
Carlos Orozco
1 year 3 months ago
Chuck, I don't know which is the worst evil in the world. But abortion must be among them, as it destroys the sacred bond between mother and child, through lies and propaganda that dehumanize both. Does the fight for a pro-life culture collide in anyway against present-day forms of slavery? How could it if both evils arise from the cheapening of the worth of every human being? Maybe you think the Democrat ticket is sincerely worried about social justice. If so, remember Hillary's long history with her biggest donors: the bankster kleptocrats that feed the appetite for wars of the industrial-military complex.
Chuck Kotlarz
1 year 3 months ago
Double entry...sorry.
Chuck Kotlarz
1 year 3 months ago
History perhaps can shape our HRC expectations. US GDP growth underperforms world GDP growth miserably with GOP presidents, but tracks dramatically better with democratic presidents. http://politicsthatwork.com/graphs/us-world-gdp A democrat in the White House also drives personal income growth dramatically better. The last forty years of a Republican president grew personal income 50%. The last forty-four years of a democrat president grew personal income over 250%. http://politicsthatwork.com/graphs/personal-income-by-president.
ed gleason
1 year 3 months ago
I'm against a person having an abortion so I'd like to know how you so called pro-life posters plan to restrict abortion by law and criminality. The law allows abortion and when it did not, it happened anyway. If you have not spent an enormous amount to time, money and risk to change the present law your continual complaining about the law is useless. When your GOP party had the WH, the Congress, the Supreme Court they did nothing. to end abortion.. m.. . . . .
Chuck Kotlarz
1 year 3 months ago
Set the moral compass to the hard core “prolife” states where divorce rates, minority incarceration rates, police fatality rates, suicide rates, etc. all run at least 25% higher than in those “compromised” Catholic states.
Jacques Cowen
1 year 4 months ago
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Crystal Watson
1 year 4 months ago
I like him :) ... "Tim Kaine: Catholic Church Should Ordain Women" http://www.rollcall.com/news/home/tim-kaine-catholic-church-should-ordain-women
Kester Ratcliff
1 year 4 months ago
Sounds fairly reasonable to me. Politically boring maybe, but being boring on culture wars issues frees him to be more politically exciting about public issues which really matter more to more people, such as extreme inequality and poverty, including why a single mum who is afraid she won't be financially able to care for her child well or have the stability required and so is considering an abortion, not out of evil motives but because of external constraints, societal constraints, which are our problem, not just hers. Every unnecessary unjust suffering of anyone diminishes the common good of us all. THAT too is orthodox Catholic teaching (Common Good and Universal Destination of Goods).
Gabriel Marcella
1 year 4 months ago
Looks like another nuanced "I'm personally opposed to abortion, but..." Thank you Governor Cuomo and Senator Biden, and a few more, for leading the way in how to abandon Catholic principles but survive and prosper politically.
Carlos Orozco
1 year 4 months ago
Sacrifice principles (and lives) in the pursuit of power. That simple. Ageless story.
Vince Killoran
1 year 4 months ago
Oh great, another neoliberal on the ticket. Remember when some HRC supporters assured us that "Bernie's candidacy will push Hillary to the left"? Not a chance.
Bruce Snowden
1 year 4 months ago
Oh yes, simply put, we may be sure that "Kaine" is "Able" - anyone Jesuit trained is always able! Sorry, just can't resist puns, even as vehicles of truth.
Kevin Murphy
1 year 4 months ago
Another attempt to square the circle. You can't support unrestricted abortion and claim to be a faithful Catholic, no matter your previous good deeds. I'll never understand individuals who sell their souls for a little political power.
Carlos Orozco
1 year 3 months ago
I agree, Kevin. Common sense seems to be less common these days.
Crystal Watson
1 year 4 months ago
It's not just about politics. He said ... "I deeply believe, and not just as a matter of politics, but even as a matter of morality, that matters about reproduction and intimacy and relationships and contraception are in the personal realm. They're moral decisions for individuals to make for themselves. And the last thing we need is government intruding into those personal decisions." http://www.npr.org/2016/07/23/487082207/where-tim-kaine-and-hillary-clinton-stand-on-key-issues
Bill Moynihan
1 year 4 months ago
Kaine captures the Catholic ethos. No one but Mr. Kaine and God herself gets to decide who is a real Catholic. Clinton and Kaine are going to win, and women and gay people are going to continue to change the world and the Church for the better. The days of women being subservient to men and gay people staying unmarried are over. I know that is scary to some, but the Holy Spirit is already making it happen.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 3 months ago
Bill - you might be right for the Episcopal Church! But, for the Church Christ founded and one the Holy Spirit protects, dream on. The Gates of Hell shall not prevail against the Church Jesus Founded (Mt 16:18)
Michael Barberi
1 year 4 months ago
Tim Kaine's position on abortion, same-sex marriage and on child adoption is consistent with the views of many U.S. Catholics and those who regularly attend Mass. We live in a divided Church and in a crisis in truth. The post-Vatican II world is much different from the pre-conciliar world. While populist opinions are not taken into consideration in developing Church doctrine, collective human experience is an important factor along with Scripture, Tradition and Reason when considering reform or exceptions to rigid norms. There is space for legitimate disagreement of an properly informed conscience on sexual ethics. For example, most Catholic believe that terminating a pregnant in cases of rape, incest and to save the live a mother are reasoned and legitimate reasons for exceptions to the Church's definition of abortion. In other words, there is a significant theological disagreement over what is considered 'direct' versus 'indirect' abortion such as in the Phoenix case. There are few if any Catholic politicians whose views on sexual ethics are in line with all the teachings of the magisterium. No one position defines a candidate and Catholics must weigh the character, trustworthiness and the candidates position on all issues when they vote. This consistent with Catholic social ethical teachings. Both Mike Pence and Tim Kaine are safe choices for each presidential candidate. To many Catholics, it appears that they will have to vote for the lesser of two evils in November.
William Rydberg
1 year 4 months ago
Is this brother really certain of his facts, especially the assertion around weekly Sunday Church goers in the first paragraph? After reading some of the wikileaks DNC emails, I would not be honest if I were not to admit that one wonders if some of the comments placed here in America might be "crafted".. Just my opinion...
Michael Barberi
1 year 4 months ago
William, You are entitled to your opinion but not the facts. There are many polls that attest to my comments and I have been following Catholic polls for 20 years. See one recent Pew poll below. If the link does not work, you can google it. Key findings about American Catholics | Pew Research Center www.pewresearch.org/.../key-findings-about-american-catholics/ Pew Research Center Sep 2, 2015 - Pew Research Center asked American Catholics for their views about family structures, religious beliefs and practices and other topics.
William Rydberg
1 year 4 months ago
Note the language "among those who identify as Catholic's". Based on such criteria, it's arguable that the Republican VP would fall under the Catholic column. Normally, when one solicits feedback from sports fans, the researchers go to the Stadium. Don't know how deep you have in the past dived in to "Reporting Principles". But it's key...
Michael Barberi
1 year 4 months ago
William, Pew Research is a reputable polling service. You need to scroll down to the results section about the opinion about weekly Mass goers, which pertained to your question. The results are quite clear. They mimic other polls on the opinion of weekly church attendees on various issues of sexual ethics.There are may causes and reasons for such opinions and delving into this would take us far afield from this blog and article. Lastly, I am attentive to survey methods and their limitations. Some polls can be misleading. However, the important key is when polling results by various polling services are consistent over time. I did not question the Pew research results because they were similar to other polls.
William Rydberg
1 year 4 months ago
GIGO Polling results by standard deviation... No thank you... To use the same methodology for Catholicism and Protestantism is unwise since in many denominations missing Church on Sunday is not considered. Compare Catholicism... I think of Mark Twain's famous quote: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." Only a prominent Catholic magazine like America could hope to change the current polling methodologies... There's no appetite for actually doing statistical sampling of Catholic Parishes across America. Even the rich German Church doesn't do this type of polling, could jeopardize their concordat money...
Michael Barberi
1 year 4 months ago
William, It appears that our respectful give-and-take is drifting far afield and becoming incoherent. Thanks for your thoughts. This will be my last comment.
William Rydberg
1 year 4 months ago
Which brings to mind the need to challenge polls and interrogate them for reasonableness given actual experience obtained at the Parish level. I am certain that I am not alone on this score, bringing to mind again the word "crafted". Seems that our discussion is rather "circular"...
Gabriel Marcella
1 year 3 months ago
It's sad to see in some of the responses the notion that Catholic moral doctrine depends on polling. If that's the case we can dispense with the Pope, the hierarchy, other features, and join a feel good community.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 3 months ago
The Mark of Kaine - "I am a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade" He now supports abortion-on-demand politically, even though, in 2005, as governor, he supported abstinence-based education, measures to reduce the number of abortions and authorized sale of "Choose Life" license plates. NARAL gave Virginia an F grade in 2007 for restrictive abortion laws.https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/this-devout-catholic-who-hillary-is-vetting-for-vp-supports-abortion-on-dem. The article reports he was a finalist for Obama's VP in 2008, but there were concerns he wasn't sufficiently pro-abortion. So Obama picked Biden as the more reliable abortion supporter. So, Kaine evolved. Here is a Kaine quote from 2003, as lieutenant governor: ““Marriage between a man and a woman is the building block of the family and a keystone of our civil society,” Kaine, who was lieutenant governor at the time, declared. It has been so for centuries in societies around the world. I cannot agree with a court decision suddenly declaring that marriage must now be redefined to include unions between people of the same gender.” However, he now supports gay marriage. Ditto on women priests and a host of other contradictions of the Catholic faith. Sounds like he got a good modern Jesuit education.
Carlos Orozco
1 year 3 months ago
Sort of reminds me of Ted Kennedy, who early in his political life spoke so passionately in favor of life... only to end his days as the Catholic guardian dog for Big Abortion and later becoming patron saint of Obamacare.
J Cosgrove
1 year 3 months ago
I have some suggestions for columns for Mr. O’Loughlin Why not do a column of Justice Ginsburg and her comments about Donald Trump and whether this should recuse her from all future Supreme Court decisions. Do a column on Hillary's email problems and Comey's non-indictment indictment and how others with similar issues have faired in the justice system. Do a column on the recent leaks of the DNC emails and how it illustrates unethical and possibly illegal activity on the part of the Democratic Party. Especially interested on your take of the possible Bern in left wing part of the party. Do a column on Mrs. Clinton's successes as Secretary of State as a basis for competency. I would be particularly interested in the discussion on Libya and Iraq. If you want to throw in the Clinton Charity initiative and foreign donations go ahead. Oh, I almost forgot the "Reset" button with Russia. I have no problem with columns on Donald Trump either. He is a target rich area. We could also get an appraisal of how bad each candidate is and then maybe Mr. O’Loughlin could examine why we got into this mess where we essentially have two liberal Democrats from New York running for president. I know your job is to make Republicans look bad(not hard with Trump) and have some occasional faux criticism of the Democrats. But remember the Johnson amendment. Bet you would get a lot of comments. Have at it.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 3 months ago
Great List, J. From the stream of positive articles on how good for America Obama was and how good a Catholic Joe Biden is, for the last 8 years, I think your list would not only embarrass the Democrats, but the America Jesuits as well. They need to do some soul searching on their vocations.
Carlos Orozco
1 year 3 months ago
Given the two horrendous presidential options for November, I find worrisome how so few Catholics have opted out of the two-party system scam. With respect to expectations of a third Clinton administration, I have none, due to their long association with Wall Street banksters. The catastrophic consequences brought forth by banking deregulation, under the presidency of Bill Clinton (killing the Glass Steagall Act), crashed the world economy a decade later, crash from which we are still in the process of "recovering". Many Democrat supporters speak ill of the so-called 1% percent, but then ignore that Hillary is in bed with them.
Douglas Fang
1 year 3 months ago
Some commenters here seem to have a very low respect for the Jesuits. I’m wondering whether this position comes from prejudice, ignorance, arrogance, or pure intellectual dishonesty. I came from Asia, where the S.J. is the most prominent, and most respected Catholic order. For the majority of young men, when they think about vocation, S.J is at the top of the list. For full disclosure, I did try to join the S.J when I was 16. My wife and my cousin got their degree from Jesuit universities. My pastor has a very high respect for the S.J. In one homily, he told us the story of his Jesuit friend who had just graduated from some training. As a challenge, he was asked to learn the meaning of being sent to the world with nothing but his faith. The test was to walk out of the office in the North East and travel across the country with almost no money. He had to work or beg his way for a few months to arrive at the destination in the West. This is the kind of radical love and faith that the S.J expects from its members. For all of you who sit comfortably in the armchair of your room and criticize the Jesuits or those who at least try to learn something from their model, i.e. Tim Kaine, who took a year off to volunteer at a Jesuit vocational school in Honduras, I have only one thing to say, which I borrow from the “Games of Throne” – “Jon, you don’t know anything, Jon…” PS – For curiosity, if you guys have a very negative view about the Jesuits, why bother reading America? You can feel yourself much more comfortable with the like-minded at FirstThing or National Catholic Register… In doing so, you would not need to engage in some debates that can become so distorted and uncharitable. Remember number one fact – you cannot persuade or change the mind of anyone via blogging . There is no absolute or even objective true in any of our comments here. There are only subjective opinions and personal viewpoints. To claim anything otherwise is just self-deceiving.
J Cosgrove
1 year 3 months ago
There is no absolute or even objective true in any of our comments here. There are only subjective opinions and personal viewpoints. To claim anything otherwise is just self-deceiving.
It is refreshing to find someone who is honest about himself and the relevance of his comments. My suggestions are that this person stop commenting since he obviously does not expect his words to have any meaning.
Some commenters here seem to have a very low respect for the Jesuits.
I started commenting at America about 6 or 7 years ago when some of my classmates were talking about what the Jesuits were saying and the question was "are the Jesuits Catholic anymore. " Here is a current example of Jesuit Catholicism. http://bit.ly/2a5PKPN Maybe the authors/editors at America want to discuss this if it is true?
Douglas Fang
1 year 3 months ago
J - This is precisely why I need to continue blogging here, to remind someone like you that your comments are completely useless to change any mind. As a matter of fact, I see your profound prejudice or ignorance in your comments on almost every topic, from evolution, global warming/climate change, free market capitalism, to cultural diversity, gun control, and black live matter, etc. I understand that this is your personal viewpoints, no more no less. I just hope that you have the courage, the modesty, and the honesty to accept that. If not, it seems that your illusion of self grandiose is much worse than I can imagine.
J Cosgrove
1 year 3 months ago
If you ever want to dispute anything I say, I am always willing to have a polite discussion. That may not be useful for you since you say you will not change your mind. But others may have a different attitude. Again they may not as you say.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 3 months ago
Douglas - I love the Jesuit charism as practiced by its founder and most of its members in the past, and many notable Jesuits today (Fr. Schall, Pope Francis, Fr. Lombardi, come immediately to mind). I do think there are many well-known Jesuits whose liberal politics trump their faith. And, certain institutions. Loyola Marymount and Georgetown have in many ways departed from orthodox Catholic teaching, others less so. The election of Pope Francis has given them some pride and some pause in directly opposing the Church and its teaching, but that seems to be wearing off now, and they are reverting to their former positions. Catholic beliefs and practices are likely to come under increasing political disapproval in the next few years (esp. if Hillary gets elected, maybe a little less so if Trump does, but I still can't support him for many moral reasons). Jesuit consciences will face some challenging decisions as they watch their Church attacked and marginalized. Many will cave under the pressure, but some will have had enough and will have the courage to resist, as the great Jesuit martyrs of the Reformation did. Some liberal Jesuits today could end up great defenders of the faith and even possible martyrs! I do believe that blogging can change hearts and minds, especially those who have an active conscience and are open minded. So, I keep blogging. What about your motivation for blogging?
Douglas Fang
1 year 3 months ago
Tim – I respect your honesty when you state that you cannot support Trump for many moral reasons. As I told you before, I did an on-line survey and discovered that my position was mostly aligned with Jeff Bush. I can see myself vote for Jeff if he is the nominee. To answer to your question, the motivation for me to blog here is driven mainly by my training as an engineer. As a system engineer, correct data and correct logic is extremely important, i.e. “garbage in garbage out”. I cannot be silent as someone spewing all kinds of distorted data and dubious argument and hope to fool everyone all the time.
Kevin Murphy
1 year 3 months ago
I also have wondered on whose side - Church or State - many Jesuits and liberal Catholics will camp when the inevitable clash occurs. Mandatory abortions in Catholic hospitals? Speech codes censoring Catholic teaching on sexuality? I've no doubt "progressive" government will bring the boot down as hard as it can. Soon we'll all have to choose.
J Cosgrove
1 year 3 months ago
This is coming to a head in Mississippi Religious Liberty Under Siege In Mississipp http://hvr.co/2aFAFX4 This should be a topic of discussion here at America Magazine.
Michael Barberi
1 year 3 months ago
All of these blog comments point to the profound divide within our Church.This growing divide over various teachings has been known for the past 20+ years as polls findings have documented the changing views of Catholics as well as weekly Church goers. We will all vote for a presidential candidate we believe is the best of a flawed lot and pray for the best.. I thank America Magazine and the Jesuits for bringing to us online articles and the ability to express our opinions because the truth is found in agreement and disagreement.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 3 months ago
Michael - barring a divine intervention, I am destined to lose in this year's presidential election, as I vehemently oppose each viable candidate. However, I agree with you that the Jesuits & their America blog are to be commended for permitting us to express our consciences, even or especially if it means they have to read comments like mine calling them out for their political bias and highly selective reporting (Nathan Schneider's fluff piece on Tim Kaine is the latest example). Thank God that true doctrine is not determined by vote. Just because nearly half of self-identifying Catholics think the Eucharist is just a symbolic presence* and not the real presence, or support divorce, abortion, homosexual sex, or women priests, will not in any way change Church teaching. The secular temptations are very strong and it takes considerable courage not to succumb. But, when it comes to true doctrine and correct teaching, it really doesn't matter one whit how many self-identifying Catholics are persuaded by the secular arguments to abandon millennia of teaching. It has happened before and will no doubt happen again. They are still wrong, or the Church is wrong, and I am betting on the Church, and against the prevailing and ever changing views of the "man or woman in the pew" (assuming he is actually in the pew now and then). *http://www.pewforum.org/2010/09/28/u-s-religious-knowledge-survey-who-knows-what-about-religion/#Christianity
Michael Barberi
1 year 3 months ago
Tim, Occasionally, we do agree on things, but not on most issues. I agree that doctrine is not formed by a majority vote of lay Catholics, even though a vote has often been used in past centuries among bishops in council. That was not my point in bringing up poll findings. It was merely to point out that there is profound division in our Church as demonstrated, in part, by the many blog comments. However, and to be clear, teachings that have proclaimed and taught as truth for centuries have been reformed, and in my opinion and many others, some current moral teachings may well be reformed and changed in the future even if it will take a long time. This may happen by a change in the pastoral application of moral teachings or to clarify that certain exceptions to teachings may be permitted under certain circumstances. I was glad to see Pope Francis, in AL, ask that the 'internal forum or the informed conscience' be integrated more fully in the praxis in our Church. The magisterium may claim that disagreement with certain moral teachings are not in accordance with Church teachings and therefore are wrong, but there are significant and legitimate disagreements with some moral teachings, not only among the 'man or woman in the pew' but among most moral theologians and a significant percent of U.S. older and younger priests. By the way, many men and women in the pews attend week Mass. The freedom of a properly informed conscience is a teaching of the Church and I will not repeat myself about what is meant by a properly informed conscience. To be clear, I am not talking about a disagreement about the fundamental articles of faith, but a disagreement about certain moral teachings. In other words, not every disagreement is equated with an extreme view like the Eucharist is only a 'symbolic presence' and not the real presence of Christ or that abortion is justified at any time for any reason. Finally, not every disagreement is simply an issue of secular temptations and the courage to follow every teaching of the magisterium. It is about a properly informed conscience which is not fully grasped by brief blog comments, but by a lot of theological education, constant prayer and spiritual guidance, an openness to further scholarship, and a love of Christ and neighbor. It is not this place or time for us to enter into a protracted argument over things, as in the past Tim. It is more productive to selectively offer my opinion from time to time on important issues based on my continuing education in moral theology and my priestly and moral mentors. Neither you nor I will change each others point of view. However, I am open to all reasoned and respectful viewpoints.
Charles Erlinger
1 year 3 months ago
Sometimes I wonder if we Catholics understand the degree to which, with our clerical leaders cheering us on, we are eagerly subjecting ourselves to the POWER OF THE STATE when we seek government help, and expect our Catholic politicians to deliver it, on issues involving forcing change in the behavior of our fellow citizens that we disapprove of. There are already great swaths of the Catholic Church in America whose entire existence depends on contractual relations with county, city, state and federal governments: for example, portions of Catholic health and human services. Under the title of "advocacy," much of the Catholic charitable effort goes to furthering this Church-State entwinement, not limiting it. And when instances of this entwinement go wrong, such as when our Catholic institutions are literally forced to go out of business because some arm of the STATE wants the services that we provide to include some feature that we think is wrong, we don't seem to make the obvious connection that our entanglement has deprived needy people of an essential service. And we further seem to have trouble understanding that in this constitutional democracy there are citizens in good standing who might disagree with us. We seem only to be completely satisfied with democracy when it acts as though our church is an established one, while proclaiming that a noble separation exists. It almost seems as though, confronted with the challenge to engage in the "new evangelism," and seeing the tidal wave of abortion, untraditional and hitherto shunned behaviors of many other kinds, and the political clout that champions of these behaviors accumulated, we said: "whoa! We're going to have to outsource this job to government!" When you scan the various diocesan level information on Catholic Charities priorities, and read the literature that we receive from Catholic Charities USA, for example, quite a bit of emphasis and a significant proportion of resources are directed to church-government cooperation and collaboration. One would expect, given the Catholic rhetoric devoted to the subject, that the abortion problem would arise as a significant issue in these collaborative deliberations, but seemingly miraculously, this is not apparent in the published literature. This may be because in the advocacy programs, the issue is avoided as much as possible in order to get other things done that are of mutual interest to both Church and State. This then leaves the abortion problem, along with others similar to it, to be wrestled either in the political/judicial arena or in the area of evangelization, that is in the arena of individual human souls. So far, we Catholics do not seem to have found a way to outsource effectively our evangelization obligations.

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