E.J. Dionne found an auxiliary bishop to quote in support of the idea that the Catholic hierarchy in America is split on the upcoming election. I salute E.J.’s investigative skills in tracking down Gabino Zavala, an auxiliary bishop in the Los Angeles Archdiocese,the one bishop who provides a little cover for the idea that a faithful Catholic can vote in good conscience for Obama. But even the elevation of Zavala to nation prominence in the pages of the Washington Post doesn’t change the fact that the Roman Catholic leadership has never been this united or this vocal in denouncing the agenda of a nominee. Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput put it bluntly a few days ago in a statement that was not included in E.J.’s column. Here’s the full speech by the archbishop, and here’s the key paragraph:
I believe that Senator Obama, whatever his other talents, is the most committed ”abortion-rights” presidential candidate of either major party since the Roe v. Wade abortion decision in 1973. Despite what Prof. Kmiec suggests, the party platform Senator Obama runs on this year is not only aggressively ”pro-choice;” it has also removed any suggestion that killing an unborn child might be a regrettable thing. On the question of homicide against the unborn child – and let’s remember that the great Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer explicitly called abortion ”murder” – the Democratic platform that emerged from Denver in August 2008 is clearly anti-life.
With a host of issues swirling about in the pivotal closing weeks of the election —including Joe Biden’s blunt warning that our enemies will test Obama if he is elected and Biden’s strong implication that Obama will blink, plus the recovery destroying high tax “spread the wealth” program of Obama-Pelosi-Reid– there is still an effort to try and coax Catholic swing voters in places like PA, Ohio and Minnesota into Obama’s camp.
Many Catholics will follow E.J. into Camp Obama, of course, but only if they ignore the teachings of their Church and the blunt speech of their senior leadership.