One clue is in the demographics of those who voted for Mr Obama. Analysts of the poll results pointed out that women, Hispanics, immigrants and young adults were more likely to vote for Mr Obama than for Mr Romney. A large proportion of those groups (which also overlap considerably) is Catholic - yet they voted to re-elect a president who has declared himself effectively to be a enemy of the Catholic Church over the issues of abortion, contraception and homosexuality.
Another clue is the fact that, as Fr Frank Pavone of Priests for Life said:
"Many in Church leadership failed to connect the dots between personnel and policy. They prayed and preached against the HHS mandate [President Obama's anti-life healthcare plan], but then were silent about the election, and called the police to remove citizens who leafleted the Church parking lot trying to inform voters about where the candidates stood on this issue."A third clue is in a comment made to me recently by someone who has attended Mass every Sunday for four decades in Wales. He told me that he had never once heard a pro-life sermon.
These clues - and there are countless more I could list - tell me that the failure of Catholic leaders to preach and apply the Gospel of Life will make future elections of anti-life politicians inevitable.
It is all very well for Church spokesmen like Cardinal Dolan and Fr Lombardi to highlight the culture of life, religious freedom etc. in the wake of Mr Obama's re-election. But unless the Gospel of Life is actually used in practice to stop abortion, contraception and the destruction of marriage among Catholics themselves, there won't be any Catholics left for Mr Obama to persecute. This radical application of the Gospel of Life requires some of the following actions (and many other similar ones):
- the dismissal from office of prelates who give succour to the culture of death - such as Archbishop Rino Fisichella
- the banning from every Catholic church of publications which undermine the Gospel of Life - such as The Tablet
- the removal from Catholic schools of pornographic sex education programmes (such as "Living and Growing") and the unequivocal banning of government agencies committed to giving schoolchildren access to abortion which have operated in Catholic schools with the co-operation of the Catholic Education Service in England and Wales.
"The common outcry on behalf of human rights is false and illusory if the right to life is not defended with maximum determination."Last night's election results are a rude reminder to the Catholic Church today of that fundamental reality.
* My thanks go to Paul Kilbane of SPUC Crosby branch for reminding me of this quotation.
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