Cardinal George Corrects the Catholic Vote Debate


From Inside Catholic:

The most important statement from a Catholic bishop of the present political season was published a few days ago by Francis Cardinal George of Chicago.

In essence, Cardinal George stated it was a violation of Catholic teaching to evoke the common good in politics without advocating legal protection of yet-to-be-born children. 

Several “Catholic” political organizations (Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United) have come into existence since 2004 using the “common good” as their guiding principle.

Here is what Cardinal George says,

This teaching has consequences for those charged with caring for the common good, those who hold public office. The unborn child, who is alive and is a member of the human family, cannot defend himself or herself. Good law defends the defenseless. Our present laws permit unborn children to be privately killed. Laws that place unborn children outside the protection of law destroy both the children killed and the common good, which is the controlling principle of Catholic social teaching. One cannot favor the legal status quo on abortion and also be working for the common good. (emphasis added)

The Cardinal’s statement has huge significance which has yet to be noticed by the mainstream media.  Allow me to make a list of what the media is missing:

1. Cardinal George is the successor to Cardinal Bernadin in Chicago.  The “seamless garmet” was defined by Bernandin, and now George has made sure the Bernandin legacy cannot be misinterpreted to ignore the abortion issue.

2. Cardinal George’s statement cannot be dismissed as coming from the”conservative wing” of the Church.  George is the president of the USCCB and the most influential U.S. bishop in the Vatican.

3. No one would ever accuse Cardinal George of being a Republican or even having Republican sympathies.

4. Cardinal George is the ordinary in the diocese where Sen. Obama resides, where Obama enjoys much, very public, Catholic support from both the laity and priests.

5. Cardinal George destroys one of the basic strategies of Obama’s Catholic supporters — to go around the abortion issue by appealing to the abtract notion of the common good in hopes that no one will notice it contains no provision for directly protecting the unborn.

6. How will Obama’s most public Catholic supporters — Doug Kmiec, Sen. Bob Casey, Chris Korzen, Mara Vanderslice, and Alexia Kelley —  respond to Cardinal George (and the many other bishops were issued statements after the Biden/Pelosi controversy)?  

7. George states the abortion issue will not, and should not, disappear from political debate. Since protecting the unborn is central to seeking the common good, “This explains why the abortion issue will not disappear and why it is central to the Church’s teaching on a just social order.”

8. Those who read Cardinal George’s statement will be inoculated to the charge made by Obama and his Catholic supporters that bringing up the abortion issue is “divisive.”  It’s not divisive, it’s essential for Catholics.

Of course the simplest thing Obama’s Catholics can do is issue a collective statement calling on Obama to support legal restrictions on abortion. 

But they will not, they have already put too much on the record to turn back now. Catholic commentators, like myself, who have called Obama an “abortion extremist” have been accused of smearing and misrepresenting him. 

Mark Linton, Obama’s Catholic outreach director, made this accusation and has several times refused to discuss it with me publicly on the radio. As recently as Tuesday, Linton cancelled a radio interview with Al Kresta where he and I were to discuss BAIPA.  

When the history of the 2008 president campaign is written, this letter by Cardinal George’s statement of September 2 will be seen as a turning point.


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