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Can A Catholic Be A Democrat?

2005 nonfiction book by David Carlin

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Time for practicing Catholics to pause and take stock.

  • Apr 13, 2012
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Needless to say today's national Democratic party bears precious little resemblance to the political party that our parents and grandparents were so loyal to. In years gone by the Democratic party stood up for the interests of the "little" guy in the never-ending tug-of-war between management and labor and the big money interests versus working men and women. Then in the 1960's Democrats were instrumental in passing the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 that outlawed major forms of discrimination against African Americans and women, including racial segregation. But according to author David Carlin the focus and priorities of the Democratic party began to shift dramatically in the late 1960's. A new, more radical breed of ideologically driven Democrat began to exert their influence in the party. These folks were in favor of abortion on demand, same-sex marriage, euthanasia and radical feminism. Mr. Carlin deeply laments what has become of his beloved Democratic Party and as a practicing Catholic is having an increasingly difficult time remaining in the party. His 2005 book "Can A Catholic Be A Democrat: How The Party I Loved Became The Enemy of My Religion" explores the increasing schism between the two entities. This is essential reading for practicing Catholics who must ponder which worldview is more important to them. Sooner or later they are going to have to choose sides.

As a practicing Catholic myself I must wholeheartedly agree with a couple of key observations made by David Carlin in this book. First of all, as is the case with so many organizations the Catholic Church pretends to represent a whole lot more people than they actually do. Many of the people who call themselves Catholic rarely if ever attend Mass and are for the most part Catholics in name only. This serves to distort the results of polls and surveys that appear from time to time in the mainstream media that portend to reflect Catholic opinion. Meanwhile, Carlin argues that Catholic bishops should be taking a much more aggressive stance in arguing for the tenets of the Church. The bishops have been very reluctant to do this over the past quarter century for fear of losing membership and even some clergy. But I must agree with Carlin that the time has come to stand up to the liberal elements within the Catholic church. I can tell you that there is nothing more disheartening for an Orthodox Catholic than to see the Pope granting an audience to the likes of Nancy Pelosi or a Cardinal officiating at the funeral of Senator Edward M. Kennedy. One wonders how this is even possible. At the end of the day many of us would prefer to be part of a much smaller Roman Catholic church populated by those who truly believe in and live by it's principles. Far too many Catholics remain blissfully unaware or conveniently ignorant of the irreconcilable contradictions between the radical Democratic agenda and the teachings of their church. Fortunately, a new generation of younger, more conservative priests seem to be ready and willing to speak out about these issues. American Catholics should be forced to confront the facts and make a choice. And if they find that the teachings and sermons in their own parish do not reflect the Church's teachings they should move on to another parish that does. Perhaps the most interesting chapter in "Can A Catholic Be A Democrat?" focuses on the excuses many Catholics employ to justify their continued allegiance to the Democratic party. There is much food for thought in these pages.

So what is the fallout from more than 40 years of the secularist agenda in America? As David Carlin sees it "our nation now has a tremendously high divorce rate and out-of-wedlock birthrates, tens of millions of kids who have grown up without fathers, women who cannot escape poverty because of their status as unmarried mothers, high rates of sexually transmitted diseases, a gigantic pornography industry, an epidemic of sexual crimes and more than one million abortions per year." Does that sound like freedom and liberation to you? David Carlin argues that more and more traditional Democrats will abandon the party as they finally wake up to the truth about what their party really represents. Since this book was written seven years ago matters have only gotten much worse as evidenced by the passage of Obamacare and the recent controversy surrounding contraception. One would hope that more and more Catholics are finally taking notice and that a "Great Awakening" will take place in the 2012 elections. "Can A Catholic Be A Democrat: How The Party I Loved Became The Enemy of My Religion" will challenge Catholic Democrats to question what is really most important in life. This is a thought-provoking book that is well worth a look.    Recommended.

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April 15, 2012
Of course, one could also say, with much more evidence, that today's national Republican party bears precious little resemblance to the political party that our parents and grandparents were so loyal to.

What's all this "agenda" business, by the way. Is "the secular agenda" anything like the well known gay agenda, a conspiracy by a few against true American values? Is it like the get-out-jail-free agenda for Wall Street bankers, or the make-it-difficult-for-minorities-and-the-poor-to-vote agenda? My goodness me. The next thing we'll find out is that Democrats originally landed on earth eons ago and really are working on the well known aliens-from-outer-space agenda.

Any church or religion that systematically tries to promote and enforce the power of men over women and to cover up generations of the abuse of children...just might be a poor leader for people in a democracy, or any other place. Thank goodness for all those Catholic men and women in America who choose birth control (using their own, free judgment) instead of the dictates of old men. Do they really risk their souls? I think Jesus would weep if they do. 

One great danger to this country, as it has proven to be in others, is when religious leaders try to impose their specific moral beliefs on the citizens and on the government. Certitude is a sure formula for divisiveness and hate, not inclusion. Just look at today's Republican Party...or the Inquisition.

Full disclosure: I live in a continuity-of-care establishment run by an order of nuns. You might be surprised what some of the retired sisters have to say about the Vatican. End of full disclosure.
 
April 13, 2012
The question is this very simply. Where would they go politically? A number of Republicans are known for taking the popular pro-choice stances. This country started the millenium with 300 million people and we are now at 315 million people! By mid-century and by the end of the century with certainty, we will be approaching a half billion people or more. We need solar energy. In addition, we need to get back to the small family farm to feed people. We need to repair and upgrade all infrastructure- now. Surprisingly, the Church is growing in many parts of the Third World.
April 15, 2012
So is Islam.
April 15, 2012
Islam is growing but it has an historic confrontation brewing within itself. A house divided against itself cannot stand. The pre-eminence of Sh'ia or Sunny will be decided in the ultimate scheme of things. Only one can prevail.

Will this stalemate resolve itself peacefully or through some Machiavellian struggle played out over decades?  Only G-d knows for sure.
May 18, 2012
So does Catholicism
 
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Paul Tognetti ()
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I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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When author David Carlin was a young man, it was scandalous for a good Catholic to be anything but a good Democrat. In the pews, pubs, and union halls of America's cities, millions of poor European immigrants and their children pledged allegiance to the Church of Rome and the party of FDR. All that changed in the 1960s, with the rise of a new kind of Democrat: wealthy, secular, ideological. Even as Carlin served the party he loved - twelve yearsas a Rhode Island state senator and once a candidate for Congress - he could only watch in dismay as its national leaders abandoned their blue-collar, pro-life, and religious constituencies and took up with NOW, Hollywood, and the abortion lobby. So complete this transformation has been that we no longer speak of a natural alliance between Catholics and the Democratic Party. Indeed, Carlin here asks whether today it's even possible to be both a faithful Catholic and a Democratic true believer. A veteran sociologist, philosophy professor, and author of The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America, Carlin shows how his party and his religion have taken opposite sides in the Culture War. On issues of human life, sex, faith, morality, suffering - and the public policies that stem from them - the modern, secularist Democratic Party has become the enemy of Catholicism; indeed, of all traditional religions. Carlin shatters the excuses that Catholic Democratic politicians employ in a vain attempt to reconcile their faith and...
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