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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Michael J. Gaynor
Bio: Michael J. Gaynor
Date:  September 26, 2006
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Topic category:  Other/General

Santorum-Casey, Legitimate Freedom and Moral Duty

This year the most important United States Senate race is in Pennsylvania: Rick Santorum, a two-term Senator and No. 3 in the Senate Republican leadership, versus “legacy” Bob Casey, Jr., Pennsylvania’s state treasurer and a clever choice by the kind of Democrats who refused to let his father, the late Governor Bob Casey, speak at a Democrat presidential convention, because he was pro-life.

This year the most important United States Senate race is in Pennsylvania: Rick Santorum, a two-term Senator and No. 3 in the Senate Republican leadership, versus “legacy” Bob Casey, Jr., Pennsylvania’s state treasurer and a clever choice by the kind of Democrats who refused to let his father, the late Governor Bob Casey, speak at a Democrat presidential convention, because he was pro-life.

For whom should a faithful Catholic vote?

Hint: Hillary Clinton is supporting Bob Casey, Jr.

The answer, of course, is Senator Santorum

In 2002, Pennsylvania Democrats rejected Bob Casey, Jr. when he and now Governor Ed Rendell contested for the Democrat gubernatorial nomination.  Now they are using him (and he is letting himself be used) in a attempt to seize control of the Senate and stop President Bush from making more strict constructionist judges who will respect America's pro-God nature (eloquently expressed in such phrases as "In God We Trust" and "one Nation, under God" that the secular extremists want judicial activists to remove from America's currency and coin and "The Pledge of Allegiance") and not create constitutional rights to suit the American Civil Liberties Union.

As a rookie United States Senator, Mr. Casey would be expected to salute and do what the Senate’s top Democrat, Harry Reid of Nevada, tells him to do.  He would cast some purely symbolic pro-life votes, but he would caucus with Senate Democrats and, if there are enough of them, President Bush will not be able to obtain confirmation of strict constructionist judges.  The Far Left judicial activists/sexual extremists who control the Democrat Party will refuse to send nominations to the Senate floor, if the Democrats control the Senate, or filibuster to prevent a vote on confirmation, even though the Constitution obviously provides for the President to nominate and nominees to be confirmable by a simple majority, not a supermajority.

Yes, Bob Casey, Jr. is much more pro-life than the people who control the Democrat Party and are committed to abortion and the abortion industry (an insidious special interest).  But he is not strictly pro-life.

Kathryn Jean Lopez, a Catholic, a graduate of The Catholic University of America, a nationally symdicated columnist and editor of National Review Online, cogently criticized her alma mater for aiding the Casey campaign and eloquently explained why Catholics should support Senator Santorum in an articulate article posted at www.ncregister.com and titled “The University and the Candidate”:   ”My alma mater, The Catholic University of America, owes Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., an apology.

“Santorum’s opponent in his re-election fight, Democrat Bob Casey Jr., gave the annual Pope John XXIII lecture earlier this month at CUA’s Columbus School of Law. The Democrat’s remarks were billed as on ‘Restoring America’s Moral Compass: Leadership and the Common Good.’ By giving him a forum at the bishop-chartered school, CUA showed poor leadership; its compass was pointed in the wrong direction.

“You may argue though that CUA was technically within its rights having Casey on campus. Casey opposes abortion, though he supports public funding of contraception and the over-the-counter-sale of Plan B, which can act as an abortifacient. He refused to oppose the abortion-lobby-lead filibusters on Bush judges and has given no real indication that he seeks to be a pro-life leader on the level of the man he seeks to replace.

“ In other words, Bob Casey Jr. is no Rick Santorum.

“Santorum, on the other hand, is the foremost leader in the U.S. Congress when it comes to protecting innocent human life. Santorum fathered the partial-birth-abortion ban. He has fought for a federal marriage amendment, an issue many shy away from. He has not only fought against attempts to legalize cloning, but has worked to find a constructive, non-destructive middle ground on stem-cell research. Others may share his passion and consistency, but he’s in the Senate leadership — the youngest member — with such high name recognition that TV mob boss Tony Soprano mentioned him last season on HBO. He gives those we can’t yet hear not only a voice but clout. He has earned respect for both his principled leadership and his prudential political skills.

 “That said, it’s not the job of The Catholic University of America to determine who should win the Pennsylvania Senate race. Which is also precisely why Casey shouldn’t have been on campus this fall. Although the dean of the law school defended the decision to invite him against complaints of political favoritism by arguing that the speech was not political in nature, there was no way a candidate in the most contested Senate race in the United States could appear on campus and it not be a political speech. And, as anyone could have predicted, the speech did, in fact, have an impact beyond Pennsylvania … with the speech itself, by the way, sounding a lot like a campaign stump speech covering everything from the environment to Iraq.

 “Within days, one Pennsylvania paper reported that ‘values voters’ are ‘up for grabs.’ Since both Casey and Santorum say they’re pro-life — and since CUA seems to have no beef with Casey — well, what’s the difference, anyway?”

Ms. Lopez astutely answered her own question:

“The black-and-white difference for Catholics to take a look at is the prospect of losing a leader for life.

 “Still, you may argue, Casey supports a ban on cloning, he’d likely be better news for the cause of defending human life than all too many other Democrats. True enough. But put that alongside his support for civil unions (and backing from the homosexual-rights group, the Human Rights Campaign), his enthusiasm for Plan B and his insistence while at CUA that faith can’t ‘dictate’ a public official’s views on matters like marriage and religious liberty, and you don’t exactly have the ideal Catholic candidate. But, in the end, ‘that’s for voters to weigh in the imperfect world of politics,’ as my friend Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society says.

“When it comes to CUA, though, Reilly says, ‘Catholic colleges and universities have a higher burden to meet than other institutions (or at least they should have), when it comes to providing a forum for speakers, especially when the topic is “America’s Moral Compass.”’

With all due respect for the esteemable Ms. Lopez,  I doubt that the argument that  Mr. Casey would “likely be better news for the cause of defending human life than all too many other Democrats” is “[t]rue enough."

It matters greatly which party controls the Senate and the influence for good of a Senator Santorum serving a third term (and perhaps being his party’s Senate leader) would be enormously greater than that a first term Senator Casey in the pro-abortion Democrat Party.

Moreover, Mr. Casey’s politically correct, but theologically flawed, claim that “faith can’t ‘dictate’ a public official’s views on matters like marriage and religious liberty” contravenes Catholic teaching, suggesting that Mr. Casey is at best badly confused or, worse, politically expedient.

In either case, he's not qualified to be a United States Senator (and certainly not preferable to Senator Santorum).

Like the prominent pro-abortion Democrats who were baptized as Catholics but rejected fundamental Church teaching and pose as good Catholics, Mr. Casey refuses to admit that faith must “dictate” a faithful Catholic’s views on fundamental matters.

His denial disqualifies him as a fit candidate.

The "separation between faith and life" that heretics have (artfully or artlessly) advanced for many years was condemned by the Second Vatican Council as “among the more serious errors of our age."

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then headed by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, issued a Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life, approved by the late Pope John Paul the Great, Pope Benedict XVI’s immediate papal predecessor. It stressed that “[t]here cannot be two parallel lives…the so-called 'spiritual life', with its values and demands; and…the so-called 'secular' life, that is, life in a family, at work, in social responsibilities, in the responsibilities of public life and in culture.”

The Doctrinal Note emphasized that lay Catholics, in fulfilling civic duties, are to be “‘guided by a Christian conscience,’ in conformity with its values,” and that “their proper task [is] infusing the temporal order with Christian values, all the while respecting the nature and rightful autonomy of that order, and cooperating with other citizens according to their particular competence and responsibility.” 

The Doctrinal Note categorically rejected the claims that citizens have “complete autonomy with regard to their moral choices and lawmakers…are respecting this freedom of choice by enacting laws which ignore the principles of natural ethics and yield to ephemeral cultural and moral trends, as if every possible outlook on life were of equal value.” 

The Doctrinal Note distinguished legitimate and illegitimate freedom.  It explicitly respected “the legitimate freedom of Catholic citizens to choose among the various political opinions that are compatible with faith and the natural moral law, and to select, according to their own criteria, what best corresponds to the needs of the common good.”  (Emphasis added.)

“Political freedom is not – and cannot be – based upon the relativistic idea that all conceptions of the human person’s good have the same value and truth,” the Doctrinal Note warned.

The Doctrinal Note rejected moral relativism and related the essential basis of democracy in the clearest terms:  “If Christians must ‘recognize the legitimacy of differing points of view about the organization of worldly affairs,’ they are also called to reject, as injurious to democratic life, a conception of pluralism that reflects moral relativism. Democracy must be based on the true and solid foundation of non-negotiable ethical principles, which are the underpinning of life in society.”  (Emphasis added.)

With respect to abortion, the Doctrinal Note was categorical: “John Paul II, continuing the constant teaching of the Church, has reiterated many times that those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a ‘grave and clear obligation to oppose’ any law that attacks human life. For them, as for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them.”  (Emphasis added.)

As Father James Poumade said in a May 30, 2004 homily with respect to individual conscience:

“In fact, some may say, didn’t Vatican II say that individual conscience had to be respected above all? The Second Vatican Council was, in fact, abundantly clear on this matter. The Council’s document Gaudium et Spes on the Church in the Modern World declares: ‘Nor, on the contrary, are they any less wide of the mark who think that religion consists in acts of worship alone and in the discharge of certain moral obligations, and who imagine they can plunge themselves into earthly affairs in such a way as to imply that these are altogether divorced from the religious life. This split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age. Long since, the Prophets of the Old Testament fought vehemently against this scandal and even more so did Jesus Christ Himself in the New Testament threaten it with grave punishments. Therefore, let there be no false opposition between professional and social activities on the one part, and religious life on the other… to the Church belongs the right always and everywhere to announce moral principles, including those pertaining to the social order, and to make judgments on any human affairs to the extent that they are required by the fundamental rights of the human person or the salvation of souls.’”

Ms. Lopez is an optimist:

“The one bit of silver lining in the Casey lecture is: The public misstep provides an opportunity for CUA to teach — about Catholic teaching on contraception, on the moral obligations of Catholics in public life. So far, I haven’t heard that kind of teaching in the wake of the Casey speech, at least publicly. I’ll give the university the benefit of the doubt and hope they’re at least doing it in the classroom.

“If they’re not, they don’t owe just Santorum an apology, they owe their students and every American Catholic who ever put a dollar in the collection basket for CUA an apology, too.”

Alas, teaching the moral obligations of Catholics in public life is not the priority in America that it should be.  Don't expect an apology, or a refund, Ms. Lopez.

The same Patrick J. Reilly to whom Ms. Lopez referred was blunter in his criticism of the Catholic University's not too subtle political aid to Mr. Casey In “Misinvitation: Bob Casey’s stumble into Church politics”:

“Fundamentally, it’s not a question of politics, but of truth in advertising. Bob Casey has no business delivering a lecture on public morality at the Catholic bishops’ national university of the United States.

”The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C., was founded in 1887 with the certainty expressed by the great John Henry Newman just 30 years earlier in his classic Idea of a University: that Catholic theology is true and ought to inform all academic study.

”While many Catholic colleges and universities are struggling to live up to their identity as Catholic institutions, CUA has recently done a much better job of providing genuine Catholic education, even prohibiting The Vagina Monologues and discouraging lectures that could be a scandal to faithful Catholics.

”That is why it is disappointing that the CUA’s law school has honored Pennsylvania Senate candidate Bob Casey with an invitation to deliver the annual Pope John XXIII lecture on ‘Restoring America’s Moral Compass: Leadership and the Common Good.’

“Bob Casey, a Catholic and graduate of the law school, is a poor choice for two main reasons. First, he is an active candidate for office and is in a very tight race at the moment. Second, although purportedly pro-life, his public positions on a number of issues should disqualify him from giving a talk on morality and leadership at a Catholic school.

“The Cardinal Newman Society, an organization I founded in 1993 to strengthen Catholic identity at America’s 224 Catholic colleges and universalities, has long held the position that it is a violation of academic neutrality for a school — even a secular university — to feature active candidates for office at lectures or other events .

“Such activities inevitably lead to questions about a Catholic institution’s political neutrality, and their academic mission is subjected to a candidate’s political motivations for earning the respect and votes of students, faculty and the Catholic community.

“This is true even in this case with CUA being located in Washington and Casey running for office in Pennsylvania, because of the important role that Catholic University plays as one of the flagship Catholic institutions in the country.

“And, practically speaking, is there any doubt that Casey views the event as politically helpful? Why else would he pause from campaigning in Pennsylvania only weeks before a competitive election?

“As I wrote in a letter to Catholic University President Fr. David O’Connell yesterday, ‘The law school’s poor choice is compounded by the fact that Casey is a prominent Catholic who supports public funding for contraceptives, laws mandating contraceptive coverage in health plans, and civil unions for homosexuals, and who has stated that he opposes legislation ! banning adoptions by gay partners.”

“Critics will say, yes, but those issues do not rise to level of abortion, the most important issue, and, besides, Casey is pro-life. But what of Casey’s pro-life credentials?

“Last week on Meet the Press, Casey said that he supports over-the-counter sales of the ‘Plan B’ pill, because ‘It is contraception, and I support it.’

“Host Tim Russert followed up by asking Casey if he believed that life begins at conception, and Casey answered that he does.

“Russert then asked him the next logical question: if an egg is fertilized would Casey call its destruction contraception or abortion? Backed into a corner, Casey called it contraception.

“Leaving aside Casey’s enthusiastic support for contraception for a moment — in itself a matter of dissent from Catholic teaching — even the ‘Plan B’ manufacturer freely acknowledges that in addition to being a contraceptive, the pill also prevents fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb. Such a situation would, as Russert’s question implied, be an abortion.

“So, in other words, Bob Casey believes life begins at conception, but supports the sale, without a prescription, of a pill that could end a young life. This is in addition to his support for public funding for contraceptives, including presumably abortifacients.

“Is Bob Casey’s record on life issues better than many Democrats and Republicans already in office? Yes, it is. To be fair, Casey supports a human-cloning ban and opposes public funding of abortions and attempts to weaken Pennsylvania’s abortion laws.

“But that’s for voters to weigh in the imperfect world of politics. A university — and a Catholic university, no less — should be above political gamesmanship on moral concerns, especially matters of life and death.

“That’s the point. Catholic colleges and universities have a higher burden to meet than other institutions (or at least they should have) when it comes to providing a forum for speakers, especially when the topic is ‘America’s Moral Compass.’

“In this case, the evidence is overwhelming that Bob Casey, as a public Catholic who openly dissents from fundamental Church teachings, does not meet the test.”

Mr. Reilly is absolutely right about Mr. Casey: “his public positions on a number of issues should disqualify him from giving a talk on morality and leadership at a Catholic school.

Mr. Russert made clear what is Mr. Casey's priority: winning votes, not protecting innocent life.

For a Catholic (or anyone who puts principle above expediency and loathes hypocrisy), choosing between Senator Santorum and Mr. Casey is a no-brainer.

Michael J. Gaynor

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Biography - Michael J. Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.

Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.

The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.

Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.

Gaynor's email address is gaynormike@aol.com.


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