It is interesting to see how the pro-abortion / pro-licentiousness crowd often frames these discussions as tirades by irrational old men, when the arguments put forth by the Church are, in fact, quite rational and logical.

I am glad to see that our priests are beginning to speak out on these issues.  In the last few years – especially since the 2004 election – bishops and priests alike are using the threat of excommunication for abortion and abortion-related acts.

A 33-year old man in Jensen Beach, Florida attempted to steal consecrated Hosts from a parish church during Communion, assaulting a priest and several parishioners in the process.

It is assumed by some that he intended to use the Hosts for some diabolical purpose; perhaps a Black Mass or something like that.  It should be noted that such a crime, if committed by a Catholic, incurs automatic excommunication that can only be lifted by the Pope himself (or presumably, a delegate).  Deliberate desecration of the Eucharist is the most serious crime in canon law, as it is an attempted assault on Jesus Christ Himself.

One of the big complaints that Catholics who prefer the traditional Latin (Tridentine) Mass had regarding the Novus Ordo Missae (Mass of Paul VI, 1970) had more to do with the English translation of the official Latin text than the Latin text itself.  In Latin, as it was in the old Mass, the prayer of consecration said that the Blood of Christ was poured out “pro multis”, which means “for many”.  The Council of Trent had declared that “for all” was not to be used, and “for many” was to be retained in the prayer of consecration.  In the Latin original of the 1970 rubrics, it was.  However, the ICEL (International Committee on the English Liturgy) translated pro multis as “for all”.  (This was not the only error in translation – the 1970 rubrics had over 400 errors from some reports.)  It seems that with each consecutive GIRM (General Instruction on the Roman Missal) comes a new translation that is slightly better than the last.

The USCCB has released a new version of the Mass that has restored “for many” in the English translation.  It will likely be a few years before it is officially promulgated, but it’s a good sign that our bishops are becoming more concerned about the prayers of the Mass.

According to Catholic Online, Preseident-Elect Obama is preparing to undo virtually all ofthe Executive Orders put in place during eight years of President Bush’s two terms.  Unfortunately, many of these orders are pro-life edicts, such as the Mexico City Policy and bans on Federal funding for embyonic stem cell research.  Let us pray that our new President will convert and embrace the culture of life, instead of the culture of death now espoused by the Democratic Party.

In this last week before the election, I’ll add my voice to the din.  Senator Joe Biden, the Democratic VP nominee and a professed Catholic, says that one can be “personally opposed” to abortion, and yet be pro-choice.  It is becoming ever more clear that the Church does not agree with this position.  The USCCB has recently put forth a document that says the one can vote for someone who is pro-choice as long as one is not voting that way because the candidate is pro-choice and that there must be proportionate moral reasons besides.  The problem here is this: what in our political landscape could possibly be worse than supporting the legal murder of ~1.5 million unborn children in America every year?

Several bishops have already said that the USCCB is being too lenient in its document by not explicitly condemning pro-abortion politicians, even if not by name.  Archbishop Raymond Burke, former Archbishop of St. Louis and currently serving in the Vatican as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, specifically labelled the Democratic Party as the “party of death” for its open support of abortion and other anti-life stances.  Few American bishops and priests seem willing to be that outspoken, though it does seem that they are speaking up more than they have in past elections.

The Holy Father and other bishops have confirmed that a Catholic politician who votes to advance abortion “rights” are automatically excommunicated and therefore forbidden to receive Holy Communion.  How then, as orthodox Catholics, can we vote for those same politicians with a clear conscience?  If an election were between two pro-choice candidates (say, an election between Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani), perhaps we could vote against the one that is more obviously pro-abortion and at least feel like we were trying to advance the pro-life movement.  However, when one candidate stands for virtually unlimited abortion “rights” and the other if for heavily restricting, if not outlawing abortion outright, the choice should be clear that voting for the blatantly pro-abortion candidate is unacceptable.

That does not mean that one must vote for the other major party member, if he/she supports issues that may raise ire amongst Catholics (such as support for the Iraq war).  One is free to vote for an acceptable third-party candidate or write in someone (like Rep. Ron Paul).  This, I think, is a matter of conscience in the sense that the Church has not said that we must vote in whatever way that will defeat the pro-abortion candidate.  The message I take from that is that it is more important who we vote for than who we vote against.

My question was this: Can a Catholic be faithful and vote for Obama?  I would have to answer in the negative, given his extreme pro-abortion “rights” positions.  While some of his social policies may be palatable to Catholic social justice (perhaps even more so than McCain’s), his support for abortion offsets any good positions that he may hold otherwise.

Lex Credendi is a new Weblog that will keep the same theme as my old one, The Accidental Catholic.  The description of that blog was “the views of an unlikely convert to the Holy Catholic Church on all things related to the Mystical Body of Christ”.  This blog will continue that theme.  Dominus vobiscum!