CATHOLIC PewPOINT for Friday-Thursday, November 10-16, 2000
Only prayer will offset the trick plays the culture of death will attempt in sudden death!
How appropriate the elections are held in the midst of the football season because it's a take-no-prisoners mentality in both. In the NFL, when two opponents are tied at the end of regulation it's called "sudden death." How appropriate since the death of millions of more innocent babies ride on the result of our national election for the 43rd President of the United States. Using the analogy of the gridiron, we are indeed in the "5th quarter." The score is tied.
There is basically gridlock between George W. Bush and Al Gore. Florida has the home field advantage. Competitive? You bet. Gore has more passing yardage amassed over regulation time, carrying New England, except for New Hampshire and the Great Lake states, save for Indiana and Ohio. He has gone for the bomb trying to sweep the west coast and has shown a strong propensity for carrying the urban and labor vote. On the other hand, Bush had a steady ground gain piling up the yardage solidly throughout south, the heartland (except for Iowa), the Rocky Mountain states and the great southwest with New Mexico as the exception. Gore took more of the popular votes, Bush many more states. Forget defenses, this was a highly offensive campaign!
Michael Cain, editor
Now we're also facing instant replay with the refs huddling. All the fans can do is pray and wait anxiously to see who gets the advantage in this final overtime. All eyes are focused on Florida where post regulation strategies are taking place on both sides of the ball and there is even a chance the coaches will go to the bench - as in court to contest various areas where voting fraud, stupidity and ignorance have been claimed. While were talking pros, it will be a college team that will walk away the victor as in electoral college. They're not even ranked in the BCS or other weekly polls, but they've squeezed in there, grandfathered in by our founding fathers. But the intrepid legal system is now ready to foul things up by what else, passing the blame. The central focus is in Palm Beach where Democratic voters are now claiming the ballot was confusing; that they inadvertantly voted for Pat Buchanon instead of Gore. Talk about ironic! While they may well have, the facts are they are responsible for their own actions. Everyone received a sample "butterfly" ballot ahead of time, if there was confusion then, why didn't they raise a ruckus before? Only after the results were in did the complaints start to pile up. There has already been evidence of voter fraud on the Democratic side by voting helpers instructing voters to punch #5 which was the hole for Al Gore. Yet they still complain regardless of the fact that common sense says follow the arrow! It's the typical "it's not my fault" syndrome that has permeated America and contributed to the moral malaise. Many in the panhandle of Florida, which is largely Republican, didn't vote because all the networks early on awarded Florida to Gore. Talk about false prophets! Add to this the confusion in St. Louis where a bi-partisan judge forced the polls to stay open for two more hours against the regulations and there was known tactics of ferreting out many from the ghettoes to vote even though they weren't registered. If there were discrepancies in Florida, then so were there in Missouri. If there were "inaccuracies" in these two states, then what's to say there weren't in all the states. Ergo, if this goes to court, you can bet the counter argument will be to hold the entire election all over again. Can you imagine that? Talk about a looming mess!
For more analysis of this from a Catholic viewpoint, we refer you to three excellent articles on this same subject in this week's docket of the DAILY CATHOLIC. They are Pat Ludwa's VIEW FROM THE PEW column entitled "The Light of Catholic conscience is in danger of being snuffed out by relativism," Cyndi Cain's SYMPHONY OF SUFFERING article, "What if the Blessed Mother had said 'No!'?!?" and Dr. Frank Joseph's PRO-LIFE PRESCRIPTIONS column, "When it comes to voting Catholics and conscience just don't seem to mix." Next Friday, Sister Mary Lucy Astuto who, like millions of Americans, is totally bewildered by the fluctuations of the polls will share her take on the elections.
Speaking of polls, if I hear one more exit poll I'm going to explode. I've had it with the false prophets of the secular media foretelling this or that. The people have spoken and therein we can see a civil war developing 135 years after this nation was rent with the terrible war between the states. What is this war? It is the war between decency and greed. The vast interior of our country. which is largely rural and exhibits a traditional work ethic, through their vote, showed clearly they treasure the former by casting their votes for George W. Bush, the pro-life candidate who has indicated he will sign a partial birth abortion ban and seek to select Supreme Court justices who will uphold the values of life as our founding fathers intended. His platform was based on giving states more power and downsizing federal control. On the other hand, Gore showed strength in both affluent and ghetto urban areas where the influence of abortion has been so strong, where homosexuality, greed, the me-first generation, and let the government do it for me mentality thrives.
And now, as of this writing on Thursday afternoon November 9th, it's still too close to call. Less than a thousand votes separate the two. A field goal, even a safety can win it. And yet, it didn't need to come down to this. Had the game plan been different, we truly believe Bush would have carried America. All he needed was the Catholic vote. But that is where many, many Catholics in America dropped the ball, missed their blocks and were called for unnecessary penalties, if not by their peers, certainly by the Church. Yes, the Church. The Holy Father, Father Frank Pavone, Mother Angelica and many bishops have said it is morally wrong to vote for a candidate who is pro-abort. Yea, it is a condoning a sin and therefore a sin this editor, Dr. Frank Joseph and Pat Ludwa have reminded in their columns. But these whistles of warning evidently fell on deaf ears. Fr. Pavone and his excellent Priests for Life organization spent millions getting the word to so many, taking out full page ads in major newspapers across the nation and in almost every diocesan publication. What good did it do?
We don't really know the exact percentage. But it does show the hard-hearted un-Catholic mindset of so many Catholics from sea to shining sea.
We did our own exit poll of every archdiocese and diocese on the web and the results were startling and, to be very honest, sorely disappointing. Either the bishops have underestimated the consciences of Catholics or have been intimidated by the IRS to curtail their true calling to truly inform Catholics of the grave wrong of voting for someone who defies Church teaching. I'm sorry, but to tell someone to vote their conscience is a cop-out and in that omission of truly informing the faithful of their duty as good, loyal Catholics and the consequences before God and His Church should also have been addressed much more passionately than it was.
Keep in mind that we surveyed websites only; we don't have a bead on every diocesan print publication. Out of 27 archdioceses viewed, only twelve spoke out strongly online, with the most notable being the Archdiocese of Denver where Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap. has made the Sanctity of Life the highest priority. What surprised us was the fact that six only had referrals on their page to the NCCB web site for the documents "Faithful Citizenship," their strong "Living the Gospel of Life" and a presidential questionnaire, the latter of which was weak and contributed to the confusion. What surprised us even more was that for the Archdiocese of New York and Newark web sites, where two strong pro-life prelates oversee, the pages were not updated to reflect Archbishop Edward Egan and Archbishop Theodore McCarrick's strong positions. Perhaps the bishops and their chancery staff have underestimated the power of the internet.
What's even worse, only 46 out of 196 dioceses we checked out, had any mention to the vote for life! That is really, really sad and to compound that number, less than half of the 46 were merely referrals to the NCCB web site. The most notable of the dioceses that gave the importance of the Sanctity of Life vote the prominence it needed were Bishop Sylvester Ryan for the Diocese of Monterey in California, Bishop Wilton D. Gregory in the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois, Bishop John J. Myers in Peoria, Bishop Joseph Charron in the see of Des Moines, Bishop Sean O'Malley, OFM Cap. in Fall River, Massachusetts, Bishop John Kinney in the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota, Bishop James M. Moynihan to his flock in Syracuse, New York, and Bishop Kenneth A. Angell in the Diocese of Burlington, Vermont all had excellent articles urging Catholics to vote for the Sanctity of Life. Yet, in every one of those states Gore won.
I don't think you can blame Cardinal James Hickey in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. which overwhelmingly went for Gore. Despite his excellent articles and entreating, those inside the beltway to vote for life, it was rejected. The same holds true for Cardinal Bernard Law in Boston who lobbied so strongly for pro-life and Cardinal Adam Maida in the Archdiocese of Detroit, as well as Cardinal Anthony Bevilaqua for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Just as so many Catholics rejected Pope Paul VI in his encyclical Humanae Vitae and continue to reject the wisdom of Pope John Paul II today, so also many Catholics rejected the guidance of their shepherds in those states by defying Church teaching and voting for a man who has pledged to continue the culture of death.
Now let's turn to the area where the greatest consternation exists: Palm Beach in Florida. This is under the jurisdiction of Bishop Anthony J. O'Connell who ultimately is responsible for the content of the Diocesan web page. What did they have? Nada! Nothing on the site, including the "Florida Catholic" Palm Beach edition in which the Bishop carried a column about the youth with no mention of voting for the Sanctity of Life. In fairness to the Diocese, the "Florida Catholic" did carry an article on "Respect Life" in the September 28th on-line edition. But it's the urgency of the clarion to Catholics over the moral issues of the candidates that should definitely have taken priority. Let's play the "what-if" game, though we are loathe usually to do so, but since the media is running rampant with this disease, we will proceed to do the same but only briefly.
As of 1999, the Catholic Almanac documents that there are 224,364 Catholics in the Diocese of Palm Beach. If the Bishop had spoken out more strongly, had he possibly instilled in every one of his pastors the dire importance of the Sanctity of Life, is it possible at least ten percent might have been moved to vote for life rather than the culture of death? Assuming this, that would have been 22,436 which would have outnumbered the 19,000 some votes that the Democrats contested in Palm Beach.
With that in mind, multiply the number of Catholics across the nation, which as of 1999, was 62,018,436. Add ten percent to that and Bush would have received over six million more votes, assuring a definitive vote for life that would have eliminated all the nonsense that followed after the polls were closed.
Those numbers are staggering and very possible. All it would have taken is for the bishops to have taken their charge more seriously. In the future we call on the bishops to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, but more so they must render to God the things that are God's and when it comes to life, there is no compromise, no mediocrity or timidity. Our shepherds collectively and individually must stand strong for the Church's doctrines and, follow the example of fearless leaders of the Church like Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz in the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. They must speak out stronger and be not afraid to hold those who reject the teachings of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church accountable - even to the point of excommunication. Those are dire measures, but we ask, what is more dire - the social status of Catholics for many use their Church affiliation for those purposes only - or the 4,000 precious gifts of life that are snuffed out daily through the terrible sin of the Holocaust of the Womb by the culture of death?
As we hunker down for this sudden death election overtime that could begin to eradicate the culture of death or empower satan's agenda, we must realize what Mother Angelica said the day after the elections in referring to the "ordaining will of God" in which the pro-life candidate will win out and we can begin to rebuild the culture of life, or we must accept the "permitting will of God" and dig in at the line of scrimmage to fight ever harder on our knees for the innocent ones who will be slaughtered for the sake of convenience during this time of chastisement. Either way, we must take accountability for our actions just as the voters of Palm Beach, Florida must own up to their own stupidity. They're trying to pass off their responsibility with a quarterback sneak through the courts. Only prayer will effectively block the devil's end-around and force satan to punt! That's the only way to beat the culture of death. As we wait out the completion of counting all absentee ballots for the next week or so let us all continue to pray fervently that God's "ordaining will" will win out. Only prayer will offset the trick plays the culture of death will attempt in sudden death!
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