Saturday, September 29, 2012

But Vote For Anyone You Want

It was a year in which:

Greece joined the European Economic Community;
Ronald(6) Wilson(6) Reagan(6) was inaugurated as the 40th President of the U.S.A and, worse, was shot and wounded by an assailant;
Fifty-two American hostages were released by Iran in its effort to humiliate Jimmy Carter, who had left the Presidency minutes earlier;
The great, nearly incomparable, Dan Rather became primary anchorman/anchorperson of the CBS Evening News;
Talent-challenged Valerie Bertinelli married Eddie Van Halen;
Francois Mitterand, whose name is unknown to many Americans under the age of 50, became President of France;
Kim Carnes' Bette Davis Eyes spent more than two months as #1;
Pope John Paul II was shot and wounded in St. Peters' Square;
An earthquake in Iran killed at least 2,000 people;
Associate Justice Potter Stewart retired and was replaced by Sandra Day O'Connor, who thereby became the first woman on the United States Supreme Court;
Wayne P. Williams was indicted for the murder of 2 of 28 black children killed in Atlanta;
In a widely popular move- because the casualty was air traffic safety, not football- fired 11,500 air traffic controllers who had struck two days earlier;
Hosni Mubarak became acting President of Egypt;
President Reagan sent the since-deceased Presidents Ford and Nixon, and former President Carter, on their way to Egypt for the funeral of Anwar Sadat.
Thomas J. Paprock, J.D., DePaul University College of Law, founded the Chicago Legal Clinic, as Wikipedia terms it, "to assist the working poor and disadvantaged."

Thomas J. Paprocki?  You'll be forgiven if you don't recognize the name, especially because that occasion is as as much- if not more- a relic of the past than are all the other events which took place in 1981.

In a column and video posted by Catholic Times, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Springfield, Ohio, and obtained by Right Wing Watch, Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki slams the Democratic Party platform.   He is exorcised by approval of a mere "single passing reference to God" in a "blatant disregard for the rules and for the apparent wishes of about half the delegates."  He criticizes the plank supporting same-sex marriage, that repealing the Defense of Marriage Act,  and the replacement of advocacy of "safe, legal, and rare" abortion with the right "regardless of the ability to pay."

Contending that these "matters... explicitly endorse intrinsic evils," the Bishop argues

My job is not to tell you for whom you should vote. But I do have a duty to speak out on moral issues. I would be abdicating this duty if I remained silent out of fear of sounding "political" and didn't say anything about the morality of these issues. People of faith object to these platform positions that promote serious sins. I know that the Democratic Party's official "unequivocal" support for abortion is deeply troubling to pro-life Democrats.

After explaining the Church's nuanced position on the death penalty, the Bishop states that "different methods" in the platform to address "the needs of the poor, to feed the hungry, and to solve the challenges of immigration" are "prudential judgments about the most effective means of achieving morally desirable ends, not intrinsic evils."  Credit Paprocki at least with sticking to his talking points.   In a recent statement addressing the concern that the American Church may be aligning itself with the GOP, Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia declared (emphasis mine) "But Jesus didn't say the government had to take care of them (i.e., the poor), or that we have to pay for taxes to take care of them.  These are prudential judgments."   (Perhaps you missed Jesus quoted in the Gospels as saying "abortion is an intrinsic evil.")

Bishop Paprocki echoes Archbishop Chaput in an additional way.   Chaput claims to be a registered Independent "because I don't think the church should be identified with one party or another."    Though he transparently, and sarcastically, ridicules (in an even more sarcastic manner than my aforementioned "exorcised") Barack Obama as The Leader (in reference to his role in the Party), Paprocki states "I am not telling you which party or which candidates to vote for or against."  Nevertheless, the Bishop concludes by cautioning "I am saying that you need to think and pray very carefully about your vote, because a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy."  

"I am not telling you which Party" to vote for, the prelate assures his flock, "but if you vote for a Democrat you're probably going to hell."   Additionally, of course, you ought to feel guilty for being "morally complicit" in "intrinsically evil and gravely sinful" actions.

By asserting that a Catholic who does not vote properly merely places the eternal salvation"of one's soul "in serious jeopardy," Bishop Paprocki qualifies his assurance that if a Catholic does not believe as he does, he or she is doomed.     Clearly, though, Paprocki, not coincidentally ignoring Scripture, is maintaining that the risk in voting the wrong way is absolute and nearly certain because he knows, and says so.   It's a slippery slope beginning with the belief that the eternal destination depends upon performing the moral act as the Church understands it.

Enough with theology, for if I assumed that my beliefs were correct, I would be following Bishop Paprocki down the dangerous road of concluding that God had confided all to me.   Of things worldly and secular, however, this we know:    Mitt Romney's running mate has been, and remains, a disciple of Ayn Rand, whose objectivist philosophy led her to an abiding faith in the radical philosophy of laissez-faire capitalism, as well as the atheism with which it is intimately linked.  

Paul Ryan remains devoted to Ayn Rand's heartless economic outlook, though he has separated himself from her atheism, which is similar to being fond of nachos- but without the cheese- or Joel Osteen's Christianity, but without being troubled by sin.   But don't take it from me.  It was Mitt Romney's running mate who himself contended, "there is no better place to find the moral case for capitalism and individualism than through Ayn Rand’s writings and works."  

To the guy who would be a heartbeat from the presidency, whom Paprocki agrees with on abortion and for whom the Bishop would like his constituents to vote, creating a system in which the powerful can more easily exploit the powerless is a moral issue.  To Bishop Paprocki, however, exploitation of the powerless by the powerful is a mere "prudential" issue, to be disregarded by constituents whom he is calling on to vote for the party hostile to the poor people he claims to be interested in.

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