U.S. Catholics: Let Obama speak (and keep abortion legal)

That’s the overwhelming verdict of the latest poll on President Obama’s invitation to speak this Sunday at Notre Dame’s commencement. The Quinnipiac University Poll shows that say Catholic voters favor keeping Obama on the program by a margin of 60-34–even higher than the general public, which approves of the invitation by 56-31 percent.

Weekly attenders also favor Obama staying on the dais, by a lower margin of 49-43 percent. As usual, white evangelical Protestants are more likely to want the Catholic university to disinvite the president, with 44 percent saying he should speak and 42 percent saying the invitation should be rescinded.


The poll also surveyed Catholics on their views of legal abortion, and the results trend as they have recently, mirroring the public at large:

Given four choices on abortion:

• 15 percent of all voters, including 13 percent of Catholics and 10 percent of observant Catholics, say abortion should be legal in all cases

• 37 percent of all voters, including 37 percent of Catholics and 19 percent of observant Catholics, say abortion should be legal in most cases

• 27 percent of all voters, including 28 percent of Catholics and 40 percent of observant Catholics, say abortion should be illegal in most cases

• 14 percent of all voters, including 16 percent of Catholics and 26 percent of observant Catholics, say abortion should be illegal in all cases.


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posted May 14, 2009 at 9:18 am

What a shame it is that those of us who call ourselves Catholic, don’t practice our own faith. What we are called to do, who we are called to be, the example we are called on to show, and we continuously fail. Yes, we are all sinners, but we have an example in Christ and in the Church. As much as it can be painful, abortion is not right, under any circumstances. As a Catholic, this is part of our belief system. We cannot pick and choose those portions for which we should believe and reject others. Being Catholic is not a cafeteria style plan. Obama speaking at Notre Dame, is also not right. Also not right was his staff’s covering of the IHS logo at Georgetown. One would be wise to Google Fr. Stefano Gobbi’s “4th Sign”, and then go read Our Lady’s latest message from Medjugorje on May 2, 2009.

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Rob the Rev

posted May 14, 2009 at 10:24 am

Why can’t you pick and choose, according to your own conscious and reason what you believe and not believe? You can and you should, frankly. It’s called thinking for yourself and not letting some religious “leader” tell you what to think and believe. I am not, and never would be, a Roman Catholic.

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posted May 14, 2009 at 11:25 am

Yes abortion is wrong.. but should it be criminalized? That’s the question. Birth control and easy divorce were criminalized 40 years ago.. no more. Do catholics need criminalization to inform them or get to do..what is right or wrong?

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posted May 14, 2009 at 11:33 am

It seems to me that our time and effort would be better spent working in our communities to convince others WHY abortion is wrong – not just the killing of an unborn child but that deep psychological damage it does to the mother and to our society. We live in a culture that is very self centered and we need to start there if we want to move our culture to one that is more Christ-like in the purest sense; i.e. one that is concerned for the health, wellbeing and honor of others, that shows the love that Christ showed to everyone – not just the people we like and that engages others with a spirit of humility and deep conviction but does not threaten or presume to know the mind of God.

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posted May 14, 2009 at 12:10 pm

Good for those in favor of his speaking at graduation. Called “thinking Catholics”, those, in this case, who realize that they don’t have to base their judgement of a person on ONE item…in this case the abortion issue. Does the RCC really think they still control all the minds of the members of the RCC? If so, they are seriously delusional.

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posted May 14, 2009 at 12:23 pm

For some, it’s a matter of the difference between personal faith and that in which the governmnet should get involved. There are many issues which Catholics and other religious people feel deep;y about, but for which many of us do not necessarily want the government to legislate over the rest of the population.

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posted May 14, 2009 at 12:26 pm

As for cafeteria Catholics, that’s an issue that isn’t just affected by the abortion issue. Too many Catholics support the death penalty.
Again, for some it may come down to what they believe are personal, religious matters and what the governmnet should legislate.

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ron chandonia

posted May 14, 2009 at 1:06 pm

The Quinnipiac pollsters seem well aware of a point that Fr. Jenkins and his acolytes keep denying: This dispute is really about abortion, or at least Catholic opposition to abortion. The extent of Catholic opposition to Obama’s appearance at ND is a measure of support for the pro-life position of the Church. Likewise, the degree of support for Obama’s appearance corresponds to support for (or at least tolerance of) legal abortion among American Catholics. Because Catholics have become so acculturated, the traditional pro-life position seems very weak indeed.
I expect the President (or his political operatives) probably anticipated that when the ND invitation was accepted, and the warm reception Obama gets at Notre Dame will be touted by the Democrats and their media supporters (including, sadly, their supporters in the Catholic media) as the coup de grace to pro-life Catholicism. In fact, Damon Linker’s latest rant against pro-life “theocons” on the New Republic site today is just a little foretaste of what is coming after May 17th.

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Diana Lane

posted May 15, 2009 at 8:50 pm

Although I was raised in the The Church, I am no longer a practicing Catholic, and I consider myself to be both pro-life and pro-choice.
I am personally opposed to abortion; however, I support a woman’s right to legally make this choice.
I am not a typical pro-lifer. Though I believe that life begins at conception and that abortion is the taking of a human life, my opposition to abortion is not based on God alone getting to decide when someone lives or dies. I believe that when it comes to one’s own life, these sorts of decisions should be up to the individual. Therefore, I support initiatives for legal physician-assisted suicide, for example (with protections such as are currently in effect in Oregon). For me, these issues are primarily about personal autonomy; and in general, I believe that a person should be able to do what they will with their own life – as long as those actions do not impinge on anyone else’s rights.
I am not a typical pro-choice supporter either, as I personally feel that abortion is repugnant, and I do not believe that the personal autonomy of the woman trumps the baby’s right to life from a moral standpoint.
I do, however, draw a distinction between morality and legality.
For example, if someone needed a kidney to stay alive, and I could keep that person alive by donating my kidney (though at some inconvenience and perhaps increased risk to my own life), should I do so? To me the answer is definitely “Yes,” and that reflects my moral beliefs. However, I do not believe that the government should have the power to compel me to do so. In my view, this scenario can be equated with abortion prior to fetal viability (at ~ 24-26 weeks).
Before the baby is independently viable, the mother is essentially an incubator. I believe that from a moral standpoint she should leave the baby alone and let it continue to develop to viability, but I don’t think the state should have the right to compel her to do so.
There are many things that are not immoral, but are illegal (growing and smoking pot for one). There are many things that are morally dubious, but that are legal – like refusing to give someone else a life-saving kidney.
Although we are more comfortable when the government imposes laws that conform to our moral beliefs, where there is no consensus among those governed by the laws (as in the case of abortion), the government should default to allowing as much personal freedom as possible. The life of a pre-viable baby is not protected by the government. The mother, governed by her own conscience, can choose to offer that protection or not.

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Your Name

posted May 16, 2009 at 11:42 am

Tahat is like saying I would welcome a babysitter for my child even though he is a child molester because it is his only flaw. You simply can not be a Catholic and support a womans right to kill a child.

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Your Name

posted May 21, 2009 at 5:52 pm

Why can’t we respect life? People say they dont want to deprive a women’s choice. The choice to what? To kill innocent lives? People also say that the fetus is not human. Yes, it is. It has 46 cromisomes and that gives it the DNA of a human person. And for all you Catholics out there, what if we killed Jesus? What if when Jesus was concieved, it was possible to have an abortion? What if he was killed in an abortion. That’s exactly what pro-choice people are doing. Each and every one of us is and image of God and we are killing God and his beautiful creation. Please remember what that child might have been, what the child would have become, and what Jesus thinks of all this madness. Take care of God’s creation.

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