Today we are privileged to introduce a friend of ours, Dr. David Delaney, who has generously offered to contribute posts to Quidnunc.
Dr. Delaney is Professor of Systematic Theology at the Mexican American Catholic College in San Antonio, Texas. He previously wrote for the now defunct Cosmos-Liturgy-Sex blog.
With the presidential election just two weeks away, the talk about the “Catholic vote” again is becoming a point of interest for many pundits. Unfortunately, U.S. Catholics tend to vote in a manner indistinguishable from their American contemporaries. Rather than allowing their votes to be informed by the truth proclaimed by the Church they are voting for primarily worldly concerns. Rather than Catholics being the leaven for a fallen world, too many Catholics, perhaps a majority, are now allowing themselves to be formed by the mistaken views of society.
Now let me say that this observation is not motivated by political partisanship. I am more concerned to consider what Catholic voting patterns have to say about the challenges for the year of faith. Election results for a variety of candidates and issues in recent years show a large percentage of Catholics voting in direct contradiction to objective moral norms indicate the challenges are great.
There are a number of reasons for this wayward Catholic vote. One reason can be gleaned from national polling done over the last thirty years which has consistently indicated that Catholics are increasingly ignorant of their faith. Another more worrisome concern is that many Catholics who understand what the Church teaches do not believe they should be “constrained” by Church teaching. Many follow the lead of confused Catholic politicians who employ the “Cuomo doctrine,” saying that they believe what the Catholic Church teaches but cannot compel non-Catholics to abide by Catholic teaching. Others who claim to be faithful Catholics appeal to their mistaken understanding of Catholic teaching on the primacy of conscience. A number of these problems have a common source and that is what I would like to consider here.
Check back tomorrow for Part II.