Catholic Perspectives – Guided Tour of Election News – December 16th

December 16Roundup

The Electoral College has done its work. Joseph Biden won the election in this Covid complicated year. Observers and thinkers continue to probe the divisions that remain in our church and in our nation. The AUSCP has called for the U.S. bishops to work with President Biden on the matters about which they can agree, including immigration reform, opposition to the death penalty and the climate crisis.

The AUSCP is a Catholic voice, not a political force — but many issues are intertwined. This week we offer a half-dozen items that elaborate and affirm our Catholic perspective.

The election results and political climate

Madeleine Davison, writing in NCR, reports on the divisions that several speakers believe the election results reveal.

Michael Sean Winters, writing in the National Catholic Reporter, examines the division of bishops promoted by retired Archbishop Chaput. Winters says, maybe half of the church is scandalized by Biden’s pro-abortion stance, but “the other half has been scandalized by the failure of the bishops to confront the many, many moral failings of the Trump administration with the kind of forceful language they routinely use against Democrats.”

The Christian Science Monitor probes the lasting impact of political division, in an examination of political hypocrisy. Examples are obvious. During the presidency of Bill Clinton, liberal feminists stood by him despite his predatory history towards women. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked a nominee to the Supreme Court in the last year of Obama’s presidency, but was more than willing to have a 2020 Trump nominee approved.

Relationships between the Church and the President

There’s another relationship that concerns Drew Christiansen, writing in America magazine. Christiansen notes that President Trump and Pope Francis did not see eye-to-eye. He asks, “Can Joe Biden find common ground with the Vatican?” The AUSCP has asked U.S. bishops to find a way to work with President Biden despite disagreement over abortion. 

The editors of America magazine add a blunt assessment of the Catholic support for President Trump: It is shameful.

What is authentically shocking is that so many figures within the Republican Party have abetted Mr. Trump’s outlandish lies about ‘massive’ election fraud, for which no one has provided any coherent evidence, and that they have cooperated with him in filing a swarm of clumsily drafted lawsuits for various courts to swat down over and over again.”

Two social responsibilities for Catholics

E.J. Dionne, writing in La Croix International, adds an emphatic affirmation of what the AUSCP has insisted — that Catholicism is not a single-issue political party.

Catholicism is underperforming in American public life. Its social doctrine is admired well outside the confines of the Church. Yet it remains poorly known and insufficiently appreciated by the faithful.”

Dionne goes on to say, “The old Catholic concept of the ‘social mortgage’ speaks powerfully to our economic moment and to the reality of growing inequality. It underscores the obligations of those who have achieved financial comfort toward the society that enabled their success, and especially toward those who have the least.”

A sign directs health care workers to a rehearsal for the administration of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis, Ind., Dec. 11, 2020. (CNS/Reuters/Bryan Woolston)

Finally, a gnawing concern among some Catholics is a question of how the Covid vaccines were developed. Julie Asher, writing for Catholic News Service (the service of the U.S. bishops), reports on the bishops’ decision that getting the vaccination is an “act of charity” and it supports the common good.

The bishops addressed the moral concerns raised by the fact the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have some connection to cell lines that originated with tissue taken from abortions. However, this connection to morally compromised cell lines is so remote and the public health situation is too grave to reject the vaccines, said Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

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