Friday, July 17, 2009

Catholics in Congress

Were you aware that 26% of the U.S. Senators identify themselves as Catholic as do more than 30% of the U.S. Representatives? That's 161 elected Catholics in the U.S. Congress.

In addition, five of the sitting eight Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court identify themselves as Catholic. If President Obama's choice to fill the vacancy, Judge Sotomayor, is confirmed, then the ratio will rise to six of the nine are Catholic.

In June of 2004, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, issued "Catholics in Political Life" to assist those elected officials in bringing together their faith and policy choices. The focus of that statement was the sacredness of human life, as taught since the Church's founding. The entire document can be read here, Catholics in Political Life, or an easier to read version here, reprint.

It states in part,
"Failing to protect the lives of innocent and defenseless members of the human race is to sin against justice. Those who formulate law therefore have an obligation in conscience to work toward correcting morally defective laws, lest they be guilty of cooperating in evil and in sinning against the common good."
In 2006, the USCCB again reminded Catholics in politics of their responsibilities when they issued, Statement on Responsibilities of Catholics in Public Life. Reiterating the theme and focus of their previous document. They wrote:
"As the Church carries out its central responsibility to teach clearly and help form consciences, and as Catholic legislators seek to act in accord with their own consciences, it is essential to remember that conscience must be consistent with fundamental moral principles. As members of the Church, all Catholics are obliged to shape our consciences in accord with the moral teaching of the Church."
The site One Nation Under God announces it's purpose as "proudly bringing faith into the public square." They do an excellent job of assembling information regarding politics and Catholics, from voter information to records of pro-abortion donations to Catholic elected officials.

Their page entitled, How They Voted, listing the pro-life voting record of all Catholics in Congress, starts with this statement...
"There are 161 Catholics currently serving in Congress. Twenty-six have a 100% voting record on all life issue votes and twenty-eight have never taken a pro-life position earning a 0% voting record.
Thirty four Catholic lawmakers co-sponsored the Freedom of Choice Act of 2007. Seventy-five Catholic members of Congress accept campaign donations from groups that advocate for unrestricted abortion rights."
According to the Scorecard information from National Right to Life on life issue votes since 1997, 40% of Catholics in Congress have less than a 20% pro-life rating. To make it worse, only 28% of the Catholics in Congress have a rating of 70% or higher.

"It's high time for Catholics to be as concerned about the overwhelming support for abortion by Catholics in Congress as they are about the Obama Administration. The new president would not have a free hand to remove abortion restrictions if the 161 Catholics -- who make up 30 percent of the votes in Congress -- had their priorities straight." Catholics in Congress: The Ongoing Scandal

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