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Catholics for Romney surely now has lift-off, with the announcement as his vice-presidential candidate of a faithful and pugnaciously pro-life Catholic

Paul Ryan, Romney pointedly announced, is ‘a faithful Catholic’ who ‘believes in the worth and dignity of every human life’

By on Monday, 13 August 2012

Mitt Romney and his vice presidential running mate, Paul Ryan (Photo: AP)

Mitt Romney and his vice presidential running mate, Paul Ryan (Photo: AP)

A bipartisan group of six former US ambassadors to the Holy See, it was reported two weeks ago, has joined together to support Mitt Romney as presidential candidate and is now calling on other Catholics to do the same.

The former ambassadors said that despite their own political differences, they all believe that Mitt Romney “can be a great force for good in this nation”. All Catholics, they said, are “called to advance the moral teachings of Christianity in the life of our country… Where the stakes are highest – in the defence of life, liberty, and human dignity – we have a duty to act that is greater and more urgent than allegiance to any political party … our concerns lie with fundamental rights, beginning with religious liberty.”

What they were saying, in effect, was that Catholics should vote for Romney because he is not Obama: the Obama administration, they said “has brought our first freedom under direct assault by imposing government mandates that completely disregard religious conscience”, because of the requirement imposed by “Obamacare” forcing employers to offer health insurance that covers contraception, sterilisation and abortifacient drugs.

Not only that: “the current administration”, they said, “has now put its weight on the side of those who propose to redefine the meaning of marriage itself.” Romney, however “stood firm in defending this sacred institution” during his time as governor of Massachusetts.

Now there is another reason for Catholics to vote for Romney: it’s not simply that he says he will reverse the most objectionable features of Obamacare: he appears, in his choice of vice-presidential candidate — the outspoken pro-life Catholic Rep Paul Ryan of Wisconsin — to be making it clear that when he says he is pro-life, he actually means it. Not only that: he wants Catholic votes. He introduced Rep Ryan pointedly as “a faithful Catholic” who “believes in the worth and dignity of every human life”. Unlike Governor Romney, the liberal media seems to be de-emphasising Ryan’s Catholicism: according to one of these, the BBC, “correspondents say the selection of Mr Ryan appears to have reinvigorated the Republican campaign. But they caution that Mr Ryan is known for radical proposals to reform government social spending, including on health care programmes, that could prove deeply unpopular among some American voters”. Traditionally, Catholics tend to vote for Democratic candidates: so Obama and his supporters will want to keep away from Catholic issues. But mainstream Catholics (I say nothing of the Pelosi tendency) will surely not only remember these issues, but consider them as central.

Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, and Cathy Ruse, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, are reported as saying: “Governor Romney could not have chosen a better person to run with than Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Ryan is not only 100 per cent pro-life, he is a full spectrum conservative and thoroughly unafraid in expressing conservative and pro-life views. We cannot wait to see him debate Vice-President Biden.”

Me, too: Biden, of course, is one of the dodgy Catholics who are 100 per cent behind Obamacare with all its blatant disrespect for religious independence. He supports Roe v Wade and unhesitatingly backs gay marriage (at one time, the White House even told him to downplay this). In sharp contrast, Ryan is, as the Ruses put it, “a Catholic who takes his faith seriously”: he is, they say, “perfectly situated” to defend religious freedom “in this season of easy anti-Catholicism”.

The choice of Representative Ryan is also, incidentally, a neat way of sidelining the issue of Romney’s Mormonism. Personally, I find Mormonism a creepy religion, and can’t imagine why anyone would believe it. But then, that’s what lots of people think about Catholicism. Cardinal Dolan had already dealt with the issue, when he said during a meeting of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League a couple of months ago that Catholics wouldn’t have a problem voting for a Mormon in the White House; and nobody seems to have questioned that since he said it. The simple fact is that Catholics need someone to vote for who rejects the attack on religious independence implicit in the Obamacare legislation. Romney does; end of problem.

Many evangelicals still have problems with Romney’s Mormonism. But even they, it seems, are beginning to see they have nowhere else to go. As Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, puts it: “One should never underestimate President Obama’s unique ability to rally people behind his opponent. Whatever lingering doubts some evangelicals may have about Romney, or discomfort about his Mormon faith, they pale compared with their fears of a second Obama administration”.

One final thought from across the pond: I envy American Catholics for being able to vote for someone who, if elected, will give them the possibility to opt out of funding a healthcare system which provides abortion and contraception. For all that I am, like most other English conservatives, a supporter of our own National Health Service — which many Americans think quite wrongly is a form of Communism, despite the fact that state-funded healthcare has never existed in any Communist country — I am painfully aware that my taxes (for our so-called National Insurance is nothing other than a form of general taxation) fund a system which provides, on demand, both contraception and abortion, even to underage girls, whose parents they do not inform.

That is an abomination, the possibility of which conservative Americans (unlike conservative Englishmen) still have a chance to vote against within their political system. In a democracy, we all have to take the rough with the smooth, of course. Most have a choice of two or at most three viable political parties within which a spectrum of sometimes opposing views exist (in England, at the next election, it will be down to two again; the Lib Dems will be wiped out, and good riddance).

There is a real dilemma for us. What is one to do, in this country, now? Both viable political parties believe in gay marriage, and abortion virtually on demand. What is one to do? Does one simply remove from the electoral equation issues on which there is cross-party agreement, and vote on the rest? I have always believed that one has an absolute moral obligation to exercise one’s vote: but for whom, here, now? That’s a non-rhetorical question; I am open to guidance.

Meanwhile, let us praise the land of the free, where such issues may still be voted on, and where a Catholic must now, surely, vote for Mitt Romney (who is, incidentally, a descendant of the great and splendid English portrait painter George Romney; that gets my vote, Mormon or not).

  • stark61555
  • Liliyd

    “the fact that state-funded healthcare has never existed in any Communist country” I do not understand, I mean most Central European Communist countries had universal state-funded healthcare, and what about Cuba?

  • rjt1

    The Catholic teacher would merely be expressing an understanding of marriage different from that defined by the state at this particular time. It would be possible for the state to reverse their decision: so on one day we would be accused (incorrectly) of lying and on the next we would be commended for telling the truth. Is the truth determined by the state?

  • rjt1

    And what if the majority changes its mind? Will you then advocate that we follow that? If right action is determined by majority verdict, then you should.

  • Bellarmine

     I am 73, and am about to marry a lovely woman of 57, who can no longer bear children. We are marrying because we love one another. Is that wrong in your eyes?

  • paulsays

    I never implied that the right action is ‘determined’ by majority opinion. However, its often a good indication.
    In the case of my opinion on gay marriage, I have believed that it would be a good idea many years before the current debate, and the shift in public opinion.
    The reason I was talking about public opinion was me and the previous poster I was replying to (nytor) about the LIKELYHOOD of gay marriage becoming law, and talking about its inevitability.

  • paulsays

    and the nation is better for it too.

  • David Lindsay

    “The file is damaged and could not be repaired.”


  • paulsays

    Not so much ‘The State’ as ‘The public’, as Parliament was elected by the people, and the people overwhelmingly support gay marriage.

    Because marriage in the legal sense (not as a sacrement), is a human institution, then the people can decide to change its definition.

    Therefore marriage, as with all kinds of other human constructs, can change over time. The teacher’s teaching of marriage as a legal institution should reflect its legal meaning at the time of teaching. 

  • paulsays

    UKIP has many racist members how do you console your faith with that?

  • Jeannine

    Yes, it would!

  • Guest

    Obamas healthcare plans force our religious institutions into providing abortive pills and contraception which for one is against the consciences of those institutions plus it is government interference into how they are run not to mention it is totally against our religious beliefs.

    We can keep having this conversation but as I pointed out unless that political platform is implemented we will forever keep debating what is the lesser evil to vote this case Obama or Romney like it is some sort of point scoring game against just fell into the trap of labelling one of Romneys evils to defend something about Obama and I will reply to you that Obama’s own policies more or less made him declare war on the Church. You can keeping saying what you like about both the secular candidates, in what Ive written Ive already acknowledged these things and proposed how we might overcome them and bring some sort of stability in everyway possible not just to the Western world but the entire planet which is Christ’s kingdom.

  • Jeannine

    No, it is the American approach to the rule of law. All elected officials are required to uphold the US Constitution, which is the supreme law of the country. Paul Ryan happens to also believe in the right to bear arms as stated in the US Constitution, 2nd Amendment.

  • Americaphile Freedom

    LABOR THUGS!!!!!




    MARK 16:18!!!



  • Recusant

    You have written thousands of words of total rubbish on this thread, I don’t understand what your motivation is. Here are three points that repudiate your claim that Ryan wants to abolish the whole of Medicare :

    - Ryan’s proposal doesn’t apply to over 55s
    - Ryan’s proposals define the same required benefits as the current system
    - Obama’s refusal to reform a bankrupt system will abolish Medicare when it runs out of money. As in, there will not be enough money in existence to cover the defined benefits. Ryan’s plan is an attempt to save Medicare

    Now, I don’t really care about US healthcare, it’s not my bag. My point is that 2 minutes of quick reading shows your claims are totally bogus, yet you bash them out with utter conviction. Why? I find you a little scary.

  • Parasum

    ## Ah, but Mitt is only a polytheist who believes that  Elohim (sort of God the Father) is an “exalted man” who had coitus with Mary, who is one of his wives, in order to produce Jesus the husband of Mary Magdalene & other women.
    Obama OTOH is beyond the pale, for reasons which have often been given.What happened to co-operation with evil ?  How is it OK for a Catholic politician to be the colleague and helper of a man whose religion is full of what by Catholic standards is blasphemy & heresy & a false religion, but wrong for a different Catholic politician to be the colleague of a Protestant who has never been a Catholic & has never claimed to hold Catholic positions on bio-ethical issues ? Apparently any argument, however worthless intellectually or theologically, is justified in the warfare  against Obama.
    The article is utterly unCatholic – it is hopelessly inconsistent  to apply Catholic standards to Obama & Biden but not to the two Republicans. This is the manipulation of Catholicism for a  political purpose. It is prostitution of religion in the interests of politics. It is a perversion of priorities and a betrayal of Catholicism & of Christian ethics. Still, at least we now know that Mormon errors are as nothing compared to allowing abortion.  A Catholic would be able to reject abortion at the same time as rejecting the far worse errors of Mormonism.

    A Catholic would also reject the rejection of other aspects of Catholic social doctrine,  by Romney & others. Apparently it is OK to reject the POTUS & the VP for their sins against Catholic social doctrine, while supporting Romney & Ryan who have sinned against other aspects of it.  IOW, rejecting Catholic social doctrine is fine, even though all are taught by the Magisterium. Logically therefore, the doctrine of the CC can’t be very important, if Ryan & by extension Romney can be dispensed from acccepting it. If Obama is to blamed for not accepting the doctrine of a  body in which he has never been a member – why should Romney be tested by a different standard from Obama ? Why should Ryan, who like Biden is a Catholic, not be judged by Catholic standards as Bidden is ?

    The article is not supporting Catholicism, but a partisan and diminished DIY version of it.

  • Parasum

     “to produce Jesus the husband of” = “to produce Jesus, who in Mormonism is alleged to be the husband of”

  • Meema

    It seems to me that W Oddie often produces fodder for the political right on both side of the Atlantic, and in so-doing maybe hopes to recruit votes for their causes.

    The traditional devotees of the RCC, and the Church itself, have always had warm feelings (to say the least!) for this wing of politics. In Europe they have sometimes shown extraordinarily bad judgement. 

  • chartres

    Is Ryan’s devotion to Ayn Rand philosophy of selfish individualism just as harmful as Biden’s philosophy of selfish individualism and moral subjectivity? With Romney’s too liberal capitalism and Marx Obama’s socialism, is there a third way?

  • Parasum

    “Why on earth should gay marriage be such a big deal?”

    ## One word: symbolism. Reasonably or not, it stands for a lot of other things, that bother people greatly, even if unreasonably.

    This objection that civil marriage would inevitably lead to religious marriage is very like some of the concerns people had if there were to be a Catholic Emancipation Act in 1829. The attitude is very similar. Which is why it is very instructive to read the objections to the intended Act, as they were stated at the time. It was at least as controversial & objectionable as this issue.  One problem was that George IV did not think Catholic Emancipation was compatible with his Coronation Oath. Emancipating Catholics meant that society could no longer treat Christianity & Protestantism as synonymous; people had to get used to the prospect of having their laws voted on by men who for Protestants were degenerates, perverts & idolaters simply because Catholicism was regarded as degenerate, perverted & perverting, & idolatrous. Plenty of clergy in the Established Church & others did not favour Emancipation, for doctrinal, Biblical, moral, & constitutional reasons.

    It’s a fascinating episode, and very instructive as an example of how people react to a significant change in society.

  • theroadmaster

    It is refreshing to see at least a Vice-Presidential candidate who fully espouses the pro-life cause and has has the exemplary voting record to back it up.   Some may chide Presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney’s Mormon background, but it’s significance may decrease in the face of the current onslaught by the Obama administration, on much cherished Religious freedoms, via the controversial “reproductive” Insurance provisions of the current Healthcare legislation.   This has been led to an intense campaign of focused opposition and lawsuits by concerned Churches and Faith groups, right across the US.  Romney will do well to channel this groundswell of opinion in his direction and use it constructively to put the emphasis back on the respect for Religious individuals and bodies to practice their Faith without legislative interference by the state.  Some suspect Romney of being the typical “flip-flop” candidate who will reverse his policies on the basis of the latest opinion poll and media pressure.  But let us hope that his choice of Paul Ryan as his Vice-Presidential nominee signals his true intent to get rid of the insidious parts of the current Healthcare legislation and promote a consistent pro-life ethos.

  • Parasum

     Catholic Emancipation Act in 1829 = Catholic Relief Act in 1829

    Some of the pamphlet literature on the issue and its history:

  • Fides_et_Ratio

    Romney is our best hope.

  • David Lindsay

    Of what, exactly? And why, exactly?

  • David Lindsay


    They are both Eisenhower Republicans.

  • Katiana53
  • Fides_et_Ratio

    Hope of ensuring the freedoms defended by the American Founding Fathers.
    See, for example, his opposition to the HHS mandate.

  • paulsays

    Yes people don’t like social change! That much is clear, and I understand the opposite point of view to mine, and the emotions and strongly felt beliefs entangled with all that.

    But people’s comfort should not come at the expense of vastly changing, empowering and improving other peoples’ lives.

  • Bob Hayes

    Hypothesis and case study been cited before – and you know the answer. Yawn….

  • Bob Hayes

    Think about what you have written and believe. One can express opposition to clauses in the constitution, but as soon as one secures election to public office one must be compliant. Totalitarian or what?

  • Bob Hayes

    This is the sort of defective, sweeping-generalisation of which you accuse William Oddie. Do please try harder when attempting to put down right-wing arguments.

  • Bob Hayes

    Get a grip! ‘Marx Obama’ = this is the sort of political drivel that drives people away from popular politics.

  • GFFM

     Your entire response is a complete non sequitur and full of so many factual errors it’s hard to know how to respond.  Never mind that Obamacare has cut Medicare by $700,000,000,000. Obamacare has, in effect, gutted Medicare. Rationing is the future for seniors. Many of our parents are already feeling it regarding their medical care. Your screed about Bain and Romney’s abortion profiteering is reprehensible and blatantly hysterical. Despicable.

  • GFFM

    Ryan is smart, grounded, well informed and has been studying the US’s fiscal situation for years, since his twenties. The coastal elites can’t stand him because he harkens from the middle west. They consider him a rube and a nerd. However, Obama and Biden and their staff are terrified of his rational and fact based critiques of their  positions, especially of entitlement programs. So far, Ryan has not personalizes any of his criticism of the Dems or the president. I fear for his wife and his children and the cruelty to come from the hysterical left and the press. The debates between Biden and Ryan should be entertaining: a bloviator up against a rational thinker. Romney can only learn from Ryan and I hope he knows that.

  • Fiber7angel

    Because it is a SIN and SIN unrepented gets one tossed into hell for all eternity. This is a battle for souls!

  • JabbaPapa

    Many UK nationals are racists — how do you console your passport with that ?

  • JabbaPapa

    As good an example as any of the muddleheadedness associated with this ideological warfare.

  • JabbaPapa

    Is the truth determined by the state?

    Not so much ‘The State’ as ‘The public’

    viz. George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four, and 2+2=5

  • paulsays

    Human constructs are human-created, and therefore can be changed by humans.

    For example, we take for granted that the law changes over time, slavery was once legal under the law and it is now not. Language, its meaning and usage also changes – we hardly speak in Shakespearian english anymore. 

    Civil marriage as a human construct can evolve in its meaning, it does this through the law. The law ismade by parliament and judges, and informed by the will of the people.

    The correct word in this situation is ‘meaning’, it is not ‘truth’ there is no ‘true’ way to define civil marriage – as it only depends on its definition in law – the law which comes into existance through democracy.

  • paulsays

    I didn’t choose to be born in the UK, whereas nytor chose to join a group with many members that are known to be racist.

  • paulsays

    In what respect?

  • Mike Bennion

    I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I have worshiped in this church, also known by some as the Mormon Church most of my life.  I find the adjective “creepy” used in this article in conjunction with my religion rather offensive.  I have never felt “creepy” at any worship service or activity of my religion. 

    I would suggest that the writer may want to refer to Swedish Lutheran Bishop Krister Stendal’s rules for approaching someone else’s religion:

    1. When you are trying to understand another religion, you should ask the adherents of that religion and not its enemies.

    2. Don’t compare your best to their worst.

    3. Leave room for “holy envy.” (By this Stendahl meant that you
    should be willing to find elements in the other religious tradition and
    faith that you admire and wish could, in some way, be reflected in your
    own religious tradition or faith.)These rules are found at the link below:

  • tcdelfin

    Its funny that there was zero ground swell excitement for Romney..but there is for Ryan..On a dime, with the announcement of Ryan for VP, there is a super charge of optimism and enthusiasm. It seems to me Mormonism just became ” ok ” to the church, not because of the candidate himself, but because his running mate is a traditional ” good ” Catholic! At this point in the game, Romney could be an aetheist, and it would still be over looked in an effort to get at least one record solid, never deviated, pro life candidate on the ticket. The base is now energized after a completely lack luster GOP campaign thus far..I mean literally boring to wow over night.
    With this in seems as though its not so much a vote for Romney, as a vote against Obama..and now, not so much a vote for Romney as a big vote for Ryan. Maybe Ryan needs to be in the top position, with Romney as the VP? So at election time the conservative voters will actually be voting for a president they want vs just casting a vote to get a better VP in?
    Just an observation..

  • GFFM

     The Catholic Bishops in the States are not known for their financial acumen. Ryan is asking for a budget that cuts spending to 2008 levels. This is hardly draconian. Also, he has written and said clearly that anyone at the age of 55 or older will not see their Medicare cut. Again, read the Ryan budget; It is readily available. Look it up and quit using hysterical words like lunacy. Secondly, the USCCB’s economic documents are mostly fluff  and their response to any crisis or government initiative is usually a day late and more than a dollar short. The only recent document worth reading is the one on religious freedom where they clearly speak with one voice. There is no unanimity whatsoever amongst the bishops on the Ryan budget. Again inform yourself. I am sure I don’t need to remind you that the bishops’ committees who write the USCCB’s economic pronouncements carry little doctrinal weight considering the canonical gray area which bishops’ conferences inhabit.

  • Rachel

    I’m a Catholic, but I find the slams on Mormonism offensive too.  I know quite a few Mormon families, and they are wonderful familiy-oriented people of high character and good citizens of high moral standing.  All religions have “weird things” about them…so what?  This is America, and people have religious rights (well, we did until Obama, anyway).

  • Rachel

    They know what to expect…it’s not like Democrats do anything besides lie and smear!  He knows what he’s in for…and God bless him for taking on the burden for US.

  • Rachel

    Of getting us off the Marxist rollercoaster we have been on for the last 4 yrs and restoring the Constitution.  Obama has wiped his a** with it since he was elected.

  • Rachel

    Ayn Rand’s philosophy is logical….people are motivated by self-interest.  What is selfish about self-interest?   They are the people who create and produce and make things happen. They are the people who create jobs and make the whole system work.   Just listen to Milton  Friedman if you don’t believe her. The fact that she was an atheist has nothing whatsoever to do with the value of her economic beliefs.

    I can’t stand Bruce Springsteen’s politics…but I love his music.  Does the stupidity of his politics take away from his talents and gifts?  No.  There are a million examples.  You have to be able to separate a person’s talents from their personal frailties.

  • Rachel

    There is no question that Obama is a Marxist.  So what “drivel” are you referring to?

  • Rachel

    As a Catholic, I am embarrassed that many of my fellow Catholics put their worship of their union ahead of their religion. If they didn’t, they could never have supported Barak Obama with his votes on partial birth abortion, etc.  Now you can vote for him if you wish…but then don ‘t call yourself “a Catholic”.