One thought on “Conservatism And Catholic Social Thought

  1. I grew up Catholic and saw a pretty significant rotation of priests with varying sociopolitical priorities during my years of church attendance. A couple of them couldn’t go through a homily without denouncing the abortion culture. But more frequent were priests to the left of Dennis Kucinich on social issues who weren’t shy about endorsing a much larger government role in overcoming poverty. On socioeconomic issues, the Winona Diocese’s monthly publication “The Courier” was somewhere between “The Nation” and “The Daily Worker” in its advocacy for social welfare, particularly back in 2003 when Governor Pawlenty was cutting the budget for poverty programs during the budget shortfall. By contrast, I’ve heard through the grapevine that the neighboring New Ulm Diocese is considerably more conservative and puts a greater emphasis on moral issues.

    The point is that “Catholic social thought” is not a monolithic entity, and even its most conservative tentacles are perfectly compatible with big-government conservatism. The George Bush of 2004 who never met a spending program he didn’t sign was the first Republican in a generation to win the Catholic vote. The George Bush of 2007 who vetoed a children’s health care bill, or any of the Bush sycophants running for President on the Republican ticket who supported the veto, would be considerably less likely to win over Catholics. The worldview you espouse is directed towards an increasingly narrow slice of the electorate. You are damn lucky you have illegal immigration, abortion, and Hillary Clinton to supplement your case for the 2008 election or you’d lose in a landslide.

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