Wooing dumbed down Catholics

Wooing dumbed down Catholics

Barbara Kralis writes about how dumbed down Catholics may win the presidency for John Kerry.  By dumbed down she means the vast majority of self-proclaimed Catholics who nevertheless dissent from the Church’s teaching (or are just plain ignorant) on abortion, contraception, the Real Presence, and so on. She contends that Kerry’s recent moves vis a vis the Catholic Church have been designed to shore up his support among these Catholic “swing” voters, i.e., Catholics who aren’t strong enough in pro-life convictions to never vote for a pro-abort candidate. These are traditionally Democrat Catholics who are conservative in many ways and liberal in others and swing back and forth between Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives.

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  • Pro-abortion types often try equate the Church’s teaching on abortion with the teaching on t he death penalty. However, whereas abortion is never moral and directly procured abortion is always sinful, the death penalty can still be a valid option for a State. The Catechism is clear about this: (CCC 2267)

    Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.  If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person.

    In other words, if a society has the means to safeguard us from murderers, then it needs to use them, but if it doesn’t then the death penalty can be appropriate. So the use of the death penalty is a prudential decision, just like the decision to go to war. It is not always and everywhere sinful and immoral, like abortion.

    So the debate over the death penalty is appropriate. And just for the record, I lean toward believing that in the United States we don’t need the death penalty, but I’m sympathetic to the view that it can be appropriate in certain cases, like that of Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden, if he isn’t already a room temperature smudge in the bottom of some cave in Afghanistan.