Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Election 2016 Part Two - Email from 2004 and NOW - Between Todd Cooper and VOCAL

Part I

  "And it Begins -The Election of 2016"
Part II

Several years before the 2008 election, I had an email exchange with Todd Cooper who was the special projects director for Archbishop Vlazny. 

My concern as a convert was that Todd confused me by something he said, paraphrasing him, "We believe in a different Catholic Church  in Portland".  I knew in my heart, that this had to be an erroneous statement. I could see what he was thinking, but still feel it's wrong.

At that time the Archdiocese of Portland did not know who Priests for Life were.  So Father Pavone sent Catholic materials to Oregon Right to Life (ORTL) during the 2008 election, where I worked. and I passed them out to Oregon Catholic churches and some Protestant ones too.  Due to health issues had to retire from ORTL in 2010, and part of my job was Catholic Church liaison. Catholic education is the church's responsibility and I believe ORTL has stepped away from taking on this mission.

However, during 2008 was Catholics for McCain/Palin-Offical Oregon Campaign Blog was formed. (Click on the link and for a walk down memory lane.) ORTL was greatly involved and VOCAL began
Catholics for McCain/Palin 2008
as a political focal point since many Oregon Catholics were concerned about religious issues and had no place that seemed to listen during the election season.

The same question was asked of Todd Cooper in 2004 regarding the "seamless garment" that Archbishop Vlazny agreed with, it seems. In 2016 the same question of "seamless garment" was asked to Todd Cooper who is the agent of Archbishop Sample.  

In 2016, Todd didn't answer the "seamless garment" question" nor acknowledge or say the words themselves.  He didn't answer my last email, but I don't think we speak the same language.

Here are the emails.

FROM 2004 - (Yes, I kept it for twelve years. Also it was written in run-on sentences with no paragraphs.  These were added by VOCAL for easier reading.)

Subject: Catholics and voting
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2004 18:37:11 -0700
From: tcooper@archdpdx.org
To: carolynwendell@hotmail.com

Dear Carolyn,
Thank you for the extended conversation this morning.
You asked for clarification on the question of whether or not it is morally acceptable for a Catholic to vote for a political candidate who is pro-abortion, particularly if there is a pro-life candidate alternative.
The answer of the Church and of Archbishop Vlazny is "Yes, it is morally acceptable so long as the Catholic is not voting for a candidate precisely because that candidate is pro-abortion, and so long as the Catholic has proportionate reasons for doing so."

You seem to be arguing that there are no proportionate reasons.  However, according to the Church, a Catholic in good conscience can conclude that there are proportionate reasons.  The Catholic Church preaches a consistent ethic of life, a "seamless garment" based on the principles of Catholic Social Teaching which have their foundation in the dignity of the human person.  Any violation of that dignity is a moral offense. 

We make distinctions between grave offenses and lesser offenses.  Abortion is a very grave offense - it is intrinsically evil.  In some way, however, sin cannot be qualified.  Christ himself noted that "if a man looks lustfully at a woman, he has committed adultery with her in his heart".  We can break this down and say that a look of lust is a venial sin, while outright adultery is a mortal sin. 

The point, however, is that in some real way, a sin is a sin.  A "lesser" sin still requires the Cross.  We live in a world fragmented by sin. 

Abortion is a more serious sin than striking someone.  However, both are attacks against the dignity of the human person.  How can we truly separate the right to life from the right to eat?  From the right to receive proper care? 

We cannot.  And yet we do.  And we must, because we are not angels.  Sin has fragmented us and divided us.  But God cannot be divided.  The truth cannot be divided. 

How can a "pro-life" politician also be in favor of the death penalty? Or homosexual unions? Or "pre-emptive" war? Or no health care for "aliens"?  It doesn't make sense - it is not consistent.  It is not a consistent ethic of life.  Are these issues as grave as abortion?  Not in a fragmented world.  However, they are all cut from the same cloth. 

There are many "pro-life" politicians who do not have a consistent ethic of life and who are not even standing clearly and purposefully against abortion.  There have been 3 Republican administrations in the last two decades and abortion has hardly even been limited.  What is my pro-life vote changing?  It is not making the difference that it should.  

That is why a Catholic in good conscience and with proportionate reason can vote democrat.
I hope these comments are helpful.
Todd Cooper
Special Projects Director
Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon
Election 2016
NOW - VOCAL's return email to Todd Cooper.  Finishing up our email exchange 
from written in late September 2016.  "And it Begins -The Election of 2016"

Thanks for explaining why Bill Allen was not the go-to-guy to ask questions about the Oregon Catholic Conference.  It would be really helpful if perhaps the Archdpdx, OCC webpage was a little more comprehensive and transparent.  Having the members, I'm sure there are more than you offered, listed would be helpful for Oregon Catholics.

The laity needs to see that the Archdiocese has a cross-section of political views. We know the Church should be non-partisan, however in Oregon and especially in Portland, that might be very difficult when even putting together a webpage.  

By the way, the information in the USCCB website regarding Faithful Citizenship would be confusing for people new to politics. 

They need to know that "the seamless garment" meaning abortion, euthanasia, homosexual "marriage" (that they didn't say out loud) isn't equal in moral equivalent to the "sin" of littering.

Also, learning that Cardinal Bernardin's seamless garment isn't in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, should be mentioned.  

The loss of a person's soul isn't mentioned as something to worry about when voting.  That would part of the voting decision.

"The challenge for Catholics is to allow their Catholic faith to inform their politics.  In the case of many, it is their politics that inform their Catholic faith."   Your words are of interest and most people don't want "politics to inform their Catholic faith that is why I'm writing.
We all need help especially in this election.  

"If people read FC (Faithful Citizenship) with a faithful heart then I do believe it meets proper moral standards. Can it be misinterpreted? Absolutely. You may share my remarks acknowledging that imperfection is a part of our present human condition."

 Bishop Robert F.Vasa                                                                                                         
 “The man of conscience is he who never succumbs to indulgence, wellbeing, success, public prestige and the approval of public opinion at the expense of the truth.” John Henry Cardinal Newman

God bless,


Anonymous said...

Please tell Todd Cooper the following:

"The promotion of the culture of life should be the highest priority in our societies...If the right to life is not defended
decisively as a condition for all other rights of the person, all other references to human rights remain deceitful and
St John Paul II

"The fundamental human right, the presupposition of every
other right, is the right to life itself. This is true of life from
the moment of conception until its natural end. Abortion, consequently, cannot be a human right -- it is the very opposite. It is a deep wound in society."
Pope Benedict XVI

“A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons” (Cardinal Ratzinger, Memo to Cardinal McCarrick, 2004).

So what might be a proportionate reason? Remember, abortion, infanticide and euthanasia are preeminent and direct attacks against life. Other issues of our day do not rise to the same moral weight. Thus, reasons arising from the difference of opinion concerning the prudential judgment about addressing these other issues, based on what bishops, cardinals and popes have written, do not seem to be proportionate.

Anonymous said...

I'll bet pro-lifers give more to charity ($ and volunteering)than pro-choicers do. The "progressives" always stereotype conservatives as stingy scrooges. What a crock !!!