Category Archives: Faith & the Public Order

Vote: it’s necessary for Catholics

Just back from Mass for the Faithful Departed and from voting.

Have you prayed and voted???


Catholics vote because it is “… for the promotion of the common
good” (Benedict XVI) 

Voting is a “… serious moral obligation…” and Catholics “…
can never vote for someone who favors absolutely what’s called the ‘right to
choice'” (Abp R. Burke)

Obama has a Catholic problem, big time

The other day the New York Times published a graph
showing, according to polls, that Catholic voters pose a serious problem for
tomorrow’s election. Interesting. The red bar demonstrates that a 24% lead for the
Republicans among US Catholics. 
Remember, Catholics voted for Barack Obama, 54-44% in 2008. No poll
tells the whole truth and, in my are barely an indicator of what is really
thought by those polled. This poll is no different. However, if the pollsters
are remotely correct, Catholics could lead the way to change in the November 2
election from Democrat-to-Republican.

NYTimes poll on Catholic voters.jpg
Let’s be honest: Catholics are no
different in their voting patterns than the general public. Sad but true. And I
find this fact to be a disappointing fact. Discriminating who these Catholics
are as active (or non-active) is curious. The polls tell us that weekly
church-going Catholics in 2008 did not vote for Democrats, more or less. 

See more info at Catholic Vote

Understanding Catholic faith & public life, no split necessary

Come to Jesus. There is no sensible reason why there has to be split in thinking and acting  when it comes to saying you believe in Christ and follow His Church and being a serious voter or a politician. Today we hear politicians and sadly some clergymen, are not steadfast to the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. They are often working out of a pretext of religion without the substance of the Faith.

For years we’ve heard the bi-polar reasoning that has produced nothing but bonk, fuzzy thinking and inconsistent acting when comes to making the claim of being a “good Catholic” and yet introducing and sustaining legislation that’s contrary to Catholic belief. You can’t support principles contrary to Christ and say that you are a follower of Christ. It doesn’t make sense because there needs to be a clear conformity to sacred Scripture and sacred Tradition. What we do in our private lives must be coherent in our public lives. Belief in Christ is reasonable, that is, true faith doesn’t conflict in any way with reason. It all has to hang together.

RL Burke.jpg

Catholic Action for Faith and Family has produced a video conversation with Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, Rome (the high court of the Church). By now you know that the Holy Father announced his intention to create Archbishop Burke a cardinal of the Holy Roman Church on November 20.
Watch the video: it is clear and helpful…no fuzzy thinking.
Catholics have a moral obligation in voting and to vote for candidates who uphold the moral law, the moral good. If you say you believe in Christ, that you want to stick closely to Him in this life, with the hope of being with Him in the next, then close adherence to Him in everything is required. There is no splitting the vote. 
If you say you believe in Jesus Christ you can’t betray Jesus Christ for any reason while claiming to be a Christian, even if we think that we may offend another because they don’t believe in Jesus as God’s Son and the Savior of humanity. Hence, we say that following an informed conscience is primary, with the emphasis on the word “informed.” Adhering to Christ equals adhering to the Catholic Church, Christ’s Church. It is the teaching authority of the Church continues in time the teaching of Christ which informs body, mind and spirit. We know in conscience, in our heart, that Abortion is always wrong. Taking a life for any reason is not right, it offends the dignity of the human person who is yet to be born. Euthanasia is always wrong. Embryonic stem cell research is always wrong. Destroying the environment is always wrong. And then there is our relationship with the elderly, the children, the poor, the homeless and the immigrant?
Do you follow, that is, do you truly hold the premises of the Golden and Silver Rules as taught by Christ? And the Church doesn’t teach this or that truth but is the truth-telling thing.
In case you are looking for more of Burke’s thinking on the subject of being a Christian and activity in civic life, then I’d recommend reading his 2004 pastoral letter, “A pastoral letter to Christ’s faithful of the Archdiocese of St. Louis On Our Civic Responsibility for the Common Good.”
So, as we prepare ourselves to vote on November 2, do so as an informed person according to Catholic principles.

Supreme Court, Faith and Culture

Every time we get a new Supreme Court Justice nominee, I cringe because of the craziness that goes on at the confirmation hearings: it’s not only about philosophical attachments but political mud-raking gets too personal at times. Nonetheless, I’m interested to see how the various ideologies of left and right are daily worked out and the interplay of the culture wars, which haven’t changed all that much over the years: same ideas, different clothing. As always religion plays a role in our life: some commentators are too worried about the religious configuration of the US Supreme Court, and some seem not worried enough. Is there a middle ground? With the US President’s choice of Elena Kagan as a Supreme Court candidate we realize that there’s no Protestant on the bench but there are 6 Catholics of some type and 3 Jews, who also seem not to be too interested in practicing their faith. Exactly, what role does religion play today and are we approaching religion (the practice of faith) on its own terms, or are we reducing it to fit our image and likeness, our own warped standards? Have no fear, Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete helps to define our terms in this week’s Il Sussidiario.

President Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to be the next
Supreme Court Justice has opened up a new front in the cultural battle that
characterizes politics in the United States at the present time. Any observer
can write the script of what the response to her nomination will be like. In
fact, on this first day since the nomination the media has already defined the
different ideological positions involved in the struggle, and unless something
entirely unforeseen takes place, nothing new will be said between now and
sometime in July when the Senate votes for or against the nomination.

If the
nomination is approved, it will be the first time that there are no Protestants
in the Supreme Court. There will be six Catholic Judges and three Jewish,
including Kagan. It is difficult to imagine that many of the Catholic Senators
will be influenced in their vote by their Catholic faith, and the Jewish
Senators will almost be sure to insist that their judgment on the nomination
has nothing to do with faith.

But what exactly is the Catholic view on how
faith influences culture? The Christian claim is that faith is a way of knowing
reality. Faith and knowledge of what is real cannot be separated.

This view of
the relation between faith and knowledge has important consequences for our
understanding of the relation between faith and culture, because the culture in
which we live is built precisely on the separation between faith and knowledge
of reality.

In his magnificent book Beyond Consolation, John Waters puts it
this way:

“Our cultures, therefore, no longer affords us a way, in the
conventional public arena in which we spend so much of our time, of seeing
ourselves as we really are. Religion, the means by which we once achieved a
semantic accommodation with total reality, has been discredited by a pincer
movement between the reductions and abuses perpetuated in the name of religion,
and the opposing reaction from outside. One side claims the franchise for
redemption, the other victory over unreason… Stripped of their language of
absolute reality, our cultures begin to squeeze and oppress us in ways we are
incapable even of perceiving. What we have lost has been a loss to ourselves,
to our essential humanity, and yet we have been persuaded to read it as
liberation. We respond to invitations to celebrate our victory over traditions,
as though oblivious that we have half-sawn through the branch we are sitting
on…we have created for ourselves a culture that in many ways denies our

95th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide

Today is the 95th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, beginning in present day Istanbul. This Great Crime lasted until 1923. This genocide is widely recognized as the first of the 20th century genocides from which humanity learned little from. No surprise that the Turkish government denies the genocide. It is estimated that about 1.5 million people were killed at the time of the First World War.

May our Lord, Who promised to wipe away every tear, console His Armenian children: her Vehapar, hierarchy, clergy, monastics, seminarians and faithful as they sing with Jeremiah: ‘How lonely sits the desolate city!’ and ‘Great as the sea is my sadness!’

Saint Vartan’s Cathedral, 630 Second Avenue, NYC, has a list of events to remember the failure of man.

Various Armenian Churches have organized events, see the list here.

May the memories of the Armenians victims be eternal.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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