Catholic College Profs Among “Catholics for Obama” 2012

Relying heavily on left-leaning academics at Catholic colleges and universities, the Obama campaign on Monday unveiled its “Catholics for Obama” team for 2012 in an effort to boost its Catholic vote.

Thomas Groome, of Boston College

Among those leading the group are several pro-abortion rights politicians along with faculty members at Catholic colleges including Sister Jamie Phelps, director of the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University in New Orleans; Nicholas Cafardi, a canon and civil lawyer who teaches at the Duquesne Law School in Pittsburgh; Thomas Groome of Boston College, a theologian; and Stephen Schneck, director of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at Catholic University of America.

Cafardi just last week took to the pages of the National Catholic Reporter to convince readers that Obama was more pro-life than Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. He didn’t mention in that piece that he would soon be publicly affiliated with the Catholics for Obama group. Presumably, that affiliation will be pointed out in future writings.

Schneck is on the board of directors of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, which was co-founded by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ director of faith-based programs, Alexia Kelley, to generate Catholic support for President Obama’s policies. Last year Schneck led a faculty effort to embarrass Republican House Speaker John Boehner, when he delivered the commencement address at The Catholic University of America. In February Schneck joined with other politically liberal Catholics in an open letter “celebrating” the “accommodation” proposed by President Obama with regard to the HHS contraceptive mandate — a compromise that the U.S. bishops have explained is entirely unacceptable to Catholics, and which has still not been written into the regulations.

 

Other members of Obama’s 21-member team includes Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the widow of Sen. Edward Kennedy who was uninvited by a Catholic college at the request of the local bishop in May, Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro of Connecticut, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois and Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland, who pushed for that state’s law legalizing gay marriage.

“What’s distinctive about Catholics and politics is our ancient idea of the common good,” Schneck told David Gibson of the Religion News Service. “We measure that by how the working class and poorest among us are doing. Government, for us Catholics, is obliged to be caring. It’s obliged to serve and to help build the country as whole. President Obama ‘gets’ this at a deep level.”
The Catholics for Obama website touts Obama’s opposition to Paul Ryan’s proposed budget, saying: ”We are proud of the President for his opposition to the budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, embraced by Republicans in Congress, and heartily endorsed by Mitt Romney. The Republican plan would shred our nation’s compassionate safety net, gutting Medicare, food assistance programs, Head Start, and many other programs—all while cutting taxes for the wealthy.”
As far as social issues such as abortion, the only reference on the home page is veiled:
As Catholics, we believe that every human being is made in the image of God. From this we discern that, individually and as a nation, we share a moral obligation to care for one another. As the President has so passionately affirmed throughout his career: ‘I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper.’ The President has upheld and advanced this principle in many ways, including his support for pregnant women and the Adoption Tax Credit.”
The Romney campaign kicked off its “Catholics for Romney” team two weeks ago. The six national co-chairs are all former ambassadors to the Vatican including Frank Shakespeare (U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See 1986-1989), Tom Melady (U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See 1989-1993), Ray Flynn (U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See 1993-1997), Jim Nicholson (U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See 2001-2005), Francis Rooney (U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See 2005-2008), and Mary Ann Glendon (U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See 2008-2009).
“President Obama has declared war on religion by forcing religious institutions to go against their faith,” the website states. “Mitt Romney will stand up and protect religious freedom whenever it is threatened.”

Matthew Archbold

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Matthew Archbold is a contributing writer to Campus Notes and to National Catholic Register, as well as the co-founder of the popular website, Creative Minority Report.

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