Catholics flee Liberals in droves

Catholics have always voted Liberal, until recently

by Kate Lunau

Catholics flee Liberals in drovesAs Canada’s once-mighty Liberals consider their future, they might be advised to visit a local church—and not just to pray for the party. The religious vote, it seems, played a major role in their recent election defeat. According to new data from Angus Reid Strategies provided exclusively to Maclean’s, Catholics—who make up 44 per cent of Canada’s population and have preferred the Liberals for decades—are flocking to the Conservatives.

Catholic voters back parties that are community-minded, says Andrew Grenville, Angus Reid’s chief research officer. And in 2006, for the first time, they shifted their support to the Tories. This year’s results confirm the trend: outside Quebec, 49 per cent of Catholics who attend church weekly voted Conservative, compared to just 38 per cent in 2004. Within Quebec, where upwards of 80 per cent of the population identifies as Catholic, the switch away from the Liberals is even more striking. In 2008, just 22 per cent of Quebec Catholics voted Liberal, compared to 56 per cent in 2004. “Looks like we have a new status quo,” Grenville says.

It’s not just Catholics who’ve had a change of heart. Protestants, who make up 30 per cent of the population, tend to split their vote between the two major parties, but over the last four years, there’s been a big shift toward the Tories. In 2008, 64 per cent of church-going Protestants outside of Quebec chose the Conservatives, compared to 51 per cent in 2004. Voters who attend so-called conservative churches (such as Baptist, Mennonite, and Stephen Harper’s own Christian and Missionary Alliance) prefer the Tories in even greater numbers: a whopping three-quarters of them voted Conservative this year.

What does it mean? “The Liberals have alienated their base, which shows how weak their support really is,” Grenville says, adding that he isn’t very optimistic about the party’s immediate future. “I can’t see Bob Rae or Michael Ignatieff appealing to that vote either, which is in part why their prospects aren’t too bright.”




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Catholics flee Liberals in droves

  1. Pollsters are a bunch of bull@@itters……do not believe on word they print.

  2. We were always told that Conservatives were the party of big business but we now know it is the Liberals who were beholden to and dependant on big business for billions in funding over the last few decades; without big business they are nearly bankrupt. Now, it appears people of faith are starting to wake up to the lie that Liberals were the party of community and faith. Liberal policies have always been anti-family, pro-abortion, anti-faith but, as with big business, have hidden that and manipulated the population to believe the big lie. I am glad people of faith are starting to open their eyes and are seeing Liberals for the group they are.

  3. Liberals are anti-family? My good lord, have mercy.

    • I am a Liberal Catholic and certainly not anti-family!!! Please cite your claim!!!

  4. That article is silly. Religion plays no role in the political decision of the overwhelming majority of (nominally) Catholic Québécois. The Bloc Québécois, for instance, is clearly not a “catholic” party and its leadership is religiously indifferent. In my case, I voted Conservative for the second time in a row, yet I’m an atheist and contemptuous of all religions.

  5. Ron has to learn some history and pay a little attention to fact instead of spewing tory rhetoric. If any party is guilty of the big lie, it’s harper’s conservatives. Just look this week, after attacking his opponents for risking deficit, now that he’s taken the country to deficit, it’s no big deal. And “Liberal’s are anti-family” are you nuts?

    It’s that kind of over the top, ridiculous rhetoric that is destroying canadian’s faith in their political system. Ron should be ashamed of himself for spewing such baseless slander in order to push his political agenda. Just like Harper accusing opposition of being terrorist sympathizers for expressing concern for the geneva convention. Very sad.

  6. Isn’t that a photo of a Greek Orthodox Bishop’s cross? Not a Catholic one?

    bob

  7. James — it is you who needs to open your eyes. Look at Party fundraising. The CPC raises money from many small donations. Chretein changed the rules on his way out (being the spiteful a$$ that he is, he threw a firebomb into the Liberal house as he was leaving-nice guy), making the size of donations an issue for Liberals who usually got big bucks from Big Corps and Unions. Now that they can’t their fundraising has tubed – explain that! Pretty obvious they were the champion of Big Business and their facade of being for the little people is a joke!!! Also, the Liberals are pro-divorce (Trudeau), pro-abortion, pro gay-marriage, etc., etc, etc…. Like Ron stated – the Liberals are anti-family and pro-big-business and anti regular working folk. Pretty obvious, and you lose the argument hands down!

  8. Jews are doing the same…

  9. I tend to agree with these findings.The Liberal Party endorses abortion on demand….endorses gay marriage…….and while not all catholics would necessarily agree with the findings of this poll,the majority of voting catholics would not support these positions and would vote for a more traditional and conservative party

  10. I think this is pretty much a dog-bites-man headline. It might be news if there was some major demographic group that isn’t fleeing the Liberals in droves.

    How in God’s Green Earth did any party convince people they are community-oriented? Or religion-oriented? And since I’m in danger of flying off on a tangential George-Carlin style rant, why does “family values” always mean “My family has value, but yours doesn’t?” Where’s the “Love thy neighbour” party?

    Okay, end rant.

  11. Well James….I guess it is very important to look at the REAL facts.

    While the Liberals have pretended to be pro-family for a long time…the FACTS show otherwise.
    This is and has been the party of Big Business and high taxes at the expense of the middle class for a very long time. Before you argue that point…look at your fundraising numbers, ever since business donations were disallowed and / or cut back to political parties, your fundraising has been depleted.

    Furthermore your party…the Liberal party has always been in favour of bigger government and more programs at the expense of the family oriented middle class. How can parents of young children CHOOSE to stay at home if they wish, when the tax on the middle class is needed to pay for these programs. Now your party want a National Daycare program, again at the expense of the middle class. Why should parents who CHOOSE to stay at pay increased taxes for those who don’t. Why can’t parents who have trusted friends or relatives use the current $100.00 per month ($1200.00 per year) to help cover the costs of these friends or relatives. Why shouldn’t they have the ability to choose. Why shouldn’t they be allowed to use the additional GST savings to help with their preferred child care…The fact of the matter is these are family issues….middle class issues…religious issues….and your party is out of sinc with the vast majority of the Canadian population….even many of those who still support you.

    Now I often here Liberals operatives spew the party line well, it is only a dollar….or a percent there, it really won’t make that much of difference to the middle class. Well…it was that line of thinking that increased taxes to the unprecented levels. Liberals thought they could add a dollar here and a dollar there….or another 1% here and another there….and what happened. Canadians found massive new programs that even these newfound dollars couldn’t afford.

    Now before the left jumps on their favourite wagon and makes the claim they were the ones who solved the countries financial crisis, history shows us that they were against the very programs that brought this country out of deficit. History has shown us that free trade and a revamped sales tax….the GST, were the engines that revived the Canadian economy. Both measure that the Liberals promised to dismantle.

    Now your party is still complaining that the Conservatives were wrong to cut the GST as it only amounts to a couple of dollars a day. Well many middle class families want this money…it’s not the Liberals money…its not the Governments moneys…its Canadians money, and most of that came from the middle class. It wasn’t meant to be used on the gun registry extravaganza, or adscam, or the HRDC boondoggle, or an inefficient unelected senate…it was earned and is owed to middle class Canadians.

    Now….none of the above mentions the pro abortionists (they are not pro-choice, they are pro abortion) in the left (some would say loonie left) of your party…or the Gay Marriage issue…even though we are one of the few countries in the world who allow this. Even the Obama savior that many of these same Liberals refer to differs from the Canadian left on these issues.

    Soooo….THE FACTS actually speak for themselves…and it has been a long time since your party has been on the middle class FAMILY side of these issues.

  12. TangoJuliette sez:

    Reply to “bob Nov 24, 2008 11:16 ”

    For what it’s worth.

    No. That’s not any kind of an Orthodox/Byzantine/ Coptic or Non-Rome, Non-Reformation, Non-Protestant Cross. Actually, the two bar cross [with or without crucifued figure of Christ] IS usually considered to be representative of catholic/protestant Christianity. A cross withThree crossi bars denotes the earlier established church of the Eastern Christian Orthodox faith. Long before Paul got to Rome.

    Again. For what it’s worth.

    t.e.& o.e.

    tj

  13. it seems it is the Harperites who are in favor of bigger government…at least by the many cabinet ministers and the many.many so-called secretarys’ to the cabinet ministers and their many, many, many a@@istants all of whom do not know their ars from a hole in the ground.

  14. michele –it seems it is the Harperites who are in favor of bigger government…at least by the many cabinet ministers and the many.many so-called secretarys’ to the cabinet ministers and their many, many, many a@@istants all of whom do not know their ars from a hole in the ground. <<–
    Michele is one of those bitter loser Liberals that can’t handle the fact that her ideological masters aren’t at the helm of the Country. I’m afraid the Liberals can’t seem to tell the difference between their ars (sic) and their Leadership contenders; I guess it’s because they are so hard to tell them apart! The Liberal Leadership has been an ars (sic) for many years now; thanks for bringing that up. Your point is noted.

  15. There is no gay marriage or abortion issue in Canada. That’s what I don’t get. Anyone voting conservative for those reasons can be comforted by the similarities in the CPC party MPs, but it’s not like they can, or will, do anything about them.

  16. The Cons pile in the donations from small business who do no pay any taxes and get this donation refunded… the ndper’s get the union money and the liberals…they get their donations from the ordinary joe who does not cheat on his taxes and has no money to give.

  17. The article goes from ‘catholics’ when talking about percentage of the population to ‘catholics who attend church on a weekly basis’ when talking about shifting support. That’s some pretty dubious journalism.

  18. Well sallyann;
    Just to put the facts on the table….since Union and Business donations are no longer allowed by law…fall parties are getting their donations from ordinary Joes…hence the lack of donations to the Liberal party…the Party of the coprorate elite.
    Just thought I would let the FACTS stand correctly.

  19. well cliff….union members make big donations and get receipts back as I have a couple of people in my family that support ndp..as do small business support cons with private donations.

  20. The article is absolutely correct. In 2006 in my riding Catholics who had been Liberal voters for 3 generations came on board the Conservative campaign working side by side with Protestant church going voters. Many of these people were still there for the 2008 election. The issue of same sex marriage that the Liberals and NDP were shoving down the throats of Canadians, despite widespread opposition, was the issue that galvanized Conservative support. We see in the Conservative Party support for family and traditional values that are important to a great many Canadians. That I believe, is why we saw the increase in support in the last election. Next time majority I hope.

  21. I’m not sure we can blame religion for this mess.

  22. As a Catholic, long-time Liberal supporter (and volunteer) who was born as much into the pary as into the Church I have to admit there is much truth in this piece, and it will do the Liberal Party no good to ignore it. Whether you like it or not, it’s about abortion. It’s not merely that the Liberal party supports abortion on demand…the real issue is how the party treats the issue, and pro-life Catholics (and others). The issue may not be discussed or debated. those who support a pro-life position are marginalized, treated as extremists and effectively ostracized. There is no room any more in the party for a Catholic who actually believes in the pro-life position.

    Until the party changes the way it trats those who oppose abortion on demand it will have a difficult time retaining its Catholics, I think. The party has to decide if it will continue to allow its policies to be dictated by the editorial boards of the Toronto Star and CBC, or will it begin to pay attention to some of its grass roots supporters.

  23. Sigh….Maclean’s was a lot more enjoyable before the partisans from both sides started showing up.

    In any event, it kind of makes sense that the party that got the most votes would have also received the most votes from the religion with the most adherents. It’s just math. And the fact that the Conservatives have the social conservative vote from those who regularly attend fundamentalist and evangelical churches is already well-established.

    The question is, how much of a role does religion play in their voting choice? If a regular churchgoing Catholic voted Liberal until their disgust with the Sponsorship Scandal, dislike of the Green Shift, anger about the gun registry or preference for their local Conservative candidate made them switch, that really isn’t related to their religion. It might be a bit of a stretch to connect all of these votes with same-sex marriage. If this were the case, then the Conservatives would be reintroducing SSM and abortion and all of the other so-con issues onto the agenda. Instead, it seems that they prefer to let sleeping dogs lie.

    And as Darrell pointed out, we go from Catholics making up 44% of the population to 49% of regular church-going Catholics voting Tory. But what percentage of Catholics go to church regularly? Who knows? The article doesn’t tell us. If we were talking about 49% of 44% of the population, Harper would have a Mulroney-like majority.

  24. But what percentage of Catholics go to church regularly? Who knows? The article doesn’t tell us.

    That’s why the conclusions are flawed….that and the fact that this last election, with its record-low turnout and the most dishonest campaign the Conservatives have ever devised, doesn’t tell us much of anything.

    This is poor journalism.

  25. It’s funny how the term “religious right” gets used… Some people like to pretend that religious people don’t exist in significant numbers, so their concerns are irrelevant, while others try to label them as ‘scary’. The vast majority of these deniers and scare-mongerers vote Liberal.

    If the “religious right” in Canada IS waking up to the fact that the Conservatives are the only party that doesn’t reject and mock their values, then Liberals SHOULD be scared, because they WILL lose.

  26. If the “religious right” in Canada IS waking up to the fact that the Conservatives are the only party that doesn’t reject and mock their values

    What values?

  27. Actually you have it wrong. Liberals see Christianity as evil and something to be mocked but any criticism of Islam is intolerant.

  28. I agree with B. Maclean that the Liberals have done much to alienate Roman Catholics in the last number of years. It’s not just the positions they take but the intorerance they display in taking them.

    Catholics have been a natural Liberal base of support for years with there votes not being in play: they basically could be counted on to go to church and vote Liberal in elections. These voters may return to the LIberals one day but not until the Liberals stop mocking their core beliefs. Meanwhile the Conservatives, through their family friendly policies, have given them a home to come to.

  29. These voters may return to the LIberals one day but not until the Liberals stop mocking their core beliefs.

    Stop lying.

  30. Ti-Guy: your cherished Liberals, who diverted public funds to Liberal party coffers in the scam known as adscam which is as corrupt as it gets, got 26% of the popular vote in the last election, a new low in modern times for your cherished Liberals. Their Christian and Catholic bashing and mocking from previous campaigns has caught up with them.

    Do you remember Warren Kinsella, Liberal attack dog, mocking Stockwell Day on his religious beliefs, he thought it was clever, so did the Liberals. I guess you forgot about that. I know Day is not Catholic but Catholic do not appreciate other people getting trashed for their religious views. Do you remember Cosmuzzi being forced to resign from cabinet because of his religious view that marriage was between a man and a woman only. Do you remember Dion whipping the Liberal caucus on the same issue when it came for a re-vote in December of 2006. In other words, you are forced to choose between your religious core beliefs or your political party. Well it looks like many Catholics are choosing to stay with their core beliefs and leaving the Liberals. On abortion, the Liberals took out ads during the 2006 election and Dion also raised in this election that beleiving that abortion is wrong is anti-woman and generally beyond the pale. People do not usually like to be told that their core religious beleifs are beyond the pale Ti-Guy.

    But maybe the Liberals did not mean to mock Christian and Catholic beleifs Ti-Guy, just like they did not mean to pilfer those government funds in Adscam for Liberal Party partisan purposes.

  31. I’d be genuinley curious, several years after its passage in the House of Commons, to see whether gay marriage is a concept that the majority of Canadians have come around to. I count myself among those who see it as an issue of rights and equality as guaranteed by the Charter. I can’t help but think, however, that it may have marked a turning point at which a lot of ‘moderates’ may have turned away from the Liberals. It would be interesting to see how polls track it. If Canada had a vote like California just held, would it pass? I’m not so sure.

  32. Since when did being anti-abortion become a “core religious belief” for Catholics? Positions like that are the reason why most Catholics (not counting recent immigrants, foreign priests, or migrant workers) no longer have any time for the church.

  33. The Liberals stopped representing Christians a long time ago. But what’s surprising is that it took the faithful this long to figure it out.

  34. Bob,

    There are Greek Catholics and Catholics of other Eastern Rites within the Catholic Church. The Roman Rite, which is most common in North America, is only one of the Church’s rites, although it is the most populous.

  35. “Since when did being anti-abortion become a “core religious belief” for Catholics?”

    Around the late first century, early second century Jack, set out in a document known as The Didache.

  36. Jack,

    Abortion has never been central to the Catholic faith (That’s the pascal mystery, the sacraments, etc.), but it has always been non-negotiable. It is simply never permissible for a woman to take the life of her own child. No person has to right to violate the rights of another – such a position is absurd.

    The opposition to abortion has been consistent from the Church’s foundation. It has always been condemned as a grave sin, and this judgment forms an immutable part of the Catholic faith.

  37. Jarrid, you’re just spewing grotesque vilification and defamation. That’s very un-Christian.

    I don’t what’s happened with self-identified Christians in the last few decades, but the dishonesty and the hate is unrecognisable to this Catholic.

  38. Jack, I bow to Paul who put it much better than I.

    To deny that abortion is an intrinsically evil act is inconsistent with consistent church teaching.

  39. Heck, enough other doctrine’s changed, either the church will change on this or it will become a third world institution. Anyway, the right to kill one’s child is not the question, the question is whether or not a fetus is a person. The “doctrine” in question is at what point the soul appears, and if that’s not debatable then nothing is.

  40. Paul, just how then do Catholics stand on things such as war, poverty, capital punishment, and the Holocaust?

    FYI, I’m a Catholic: I realise that the papacy is cynical and pragmatic.

  41. “…the question is whether or not a fetus is a person.”

    Jack, the only time I ever saw any evidence of a woman delivering other than a person at birth was on the cover of a tabloid at a supermarket counter. You’ll forgive me if I don’t remember the name of the tabloid in question but the front page had a headline that a woman had given birth to an extratererrestrial. Also gracing the front page was a picture of something that looked like an extraterrestrial, the prototypical green man from Mars, complete with antennae and saucer-shaped eyes, and distinct green pigmentation resting under a baby blanket. Considering the source, my curiosity didn’t get the better of me and I didn’t bother picking up the magazine.

    Women give birth to persons and only persons.

    I much prefer Camille Paglia’s honesty that abortion is akin to infanticide and her acceptance that this is choice we can make rather than these attempts at obfuscation Jack.

    Abortion is a grisly choice to kill innocent life, there’s no need to resort to abstractions here.

  42. Despite popular belief, the Church has not, in fact, changed any doctrine. You may be referring to the Second Vatican Council, but if you read the documents themselves you can see that they involve no repudiation of previous Catholic teaching. There has been, over time, a development of doctrine in which things always present in the faith are clarfied and defined. This would include the theory of the atonement, the precise doctrinal formulation of transubstantiation, the hypostatic union, and many others. There have also been changes in social policy which don’t have any direct bearing on the faith but instead postulate forms of social organization which are most conducive to a Christian life. There is a difference between Catholic doctrine and policies concerning social organization.

    On your second point, the question is not whether the fetus is a “human person”, but whether it is a human being. If human rights is anything other than a facade to advance a particular set of leftist interests, then every human being, from the instant of their conception, will be entitled to these rights. A human right can admit of no exceptions. It is immutable – not contingent on any circumstance. The idea of human “personhood” is simply a method whereby the government can assign human rights in an arbitrary fashion, without exclusive reference to their status as a human being, but by introducing certain qualifications which have, in the past, included skin colour and gender. If human rights are to be applied with integrity, then they must be applied universally, without exception.

    On your final point, which is a religious topic not particularly relevant to public policy, the idea that the fetus does not contain a soul has been thoroughly discredited. Certain Catholic theologians in the past postulated that the fetus only received a soul after “quickening” occurred. This was based on primitive embryology which held that the fetus was totally inanimate during its first weeks. Modern science has revealed that the fetus is a living being from its earliest days. The Church’s constant teaching has held that every animate creature contains a soul, and since the fetus is animate, it is impossible to conclude under Catholic teaching that it has no soul.

  43. Wow, Jarrid, you really do the 10-year-old thing very well. I wonder how serious you are about the issue, eh?

  44. More men debating abortion.

  45. Andrew,

    I think those topics are a bit too extensive to cover on this comment board. There are many papal encyclicals on those topics available on the Vatican’s website and elsewhere, if you’re interested. For the Church’s social teaching, you might begin with Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical “Rerum Novarum” and Pope John Paul II’s “Sollicitudo Rei Socialis”.

  46. I’m not particularly interested in their words. Their actions, after all, speak louder.

  47. The Church’s constant teaching has held that every animate creature contains a soul,

    Totally untrue. Catholicism teaches that only humans have souls.

    You really don’t know what you’re talking about, Jarrid.

  48. The difficulty with that position is that it can degenerate into a sort of idolatry, in which the entire faith stands or falls on the behavior of an individual. The faith cannot possibly be falsifiable based on the failures of men. The Church teaches that all men are sinful, but the fact that we sin cannot prevent us from repudiating it and teaching others to do the same.

  49. Ti-Guy,

    This is a teaching contained in the Summa Theologica. St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that animals have a “material soul”. It’s an accepted part of the faith that all living creatures have souls, although it’s not particularly important part:

    “To seek the nature of the soul, we must premise that the soul is defined as the first principle of life of those things which live: for we call living things “animate,” [i.e. having a soul], and those things which have no life, “inanimate.”" (Summa Theologica, Prima Pars, Question 75, Article 1)

  50. Paul –

    On your second point, the question is not whether the fetus is a “human person”, but whether it is a human being.

    Yes, right. But we can’t play bait-and-switch with the meaning of “human being.” It obviously belongs genetically to the species “homo sapiens,” but I simply refuse to believe that a collection of human cells constitutes an homo. I do have some self-respect and to class me (and my soul) with a 10-week fetus is sheer sentimentality.

    If human rights is anything other than a facade to advance a particular set of leftist interests, then every human being, from the instant of their conception, will be entitled to these rights.

    Well, to my mind human rights are nothing but a facade to advance leftist interests, if by leftist interests you mean protecting individual members of society from arbitrary power. I understand very well that the emotional impulse towards human rights is, historically, a Christian one (though, you have to admit, a Protestant one); but that is not the only way to look at them. It seems you’re trying to eat your cake and have it too: either human rights are secular, or they’re subordinate to revelation. If they’re secular, then really they have no role in a religious argument; if they’re subordinate to revelation, let’s just stick with revelation and not try to earn God some better PR with fashionable labels.

    A human right can admit of no exceptions. It is immutable – not contingent on any circumstance.

    This is tautological. By this reasoning, we simply call contingent rights civil rights and absolute rights human rights; but the question of what’s contingent and what’s absolute remains.

    The idea of human “personhood” is simply a method whereby the government can assign human rights in an arbitrary fashion, without exclusive reference to their status as a human being, but by introducing certain qualifications which have, in the past, included skin colour and gender. If human rights are to be applied with integrity, then they must be applied universally, without exception.

    That is indeed the only way we’ve figured out to prevent social abuses, but it does not follow that it corresponds to objective reality. It’s a legal fiction that serves as a safeguard for rights no member of society wants to forfeit.

    On your final point, which is a religious topic not particularly relevant to public policy, the idea that the fetus does not contain a soul has been thoroughly discredited.

    To my mind, the main effect of this “discrediting” has been to discredit the idea of the soul entirely. If mere movement constitutes animacy, then animals and even plants should have souls (not a bad idea, IMHO); but to assert that a “soul” is visible in a 10-week fetus is to reduce the evidence of souls in adult people to near zero, i.e. to make it such a minimum standard that having a soul becomes a mere technicality. This is what you get when theologians become lawyers, or vice versa.

  51. This new trend would have nothing to do with a fact that Dalton “Catholic” McGuinty lashed out at the Pope over abortion issue not so long ago, or would it??

    No, Dalton would never be so stupid as to piss off his fellow parisioners and all Catholics living in Ontario, or would he??

  52. “I simply refuse to believe that a collection of human cells constitutes an homo. I do have some self-respect and to class me (and my soul) with a 10-week fetus is sheer sentimentality”

    If it meets the scientific definition of membership in the human species, then it has human rights. No exception is made based on location or stage of development.

    “It seems you’re trying to eat your cake and have it too: either human rights are secular, or they’re subordinate to revelation.”

    It’s a useful secular framework for defending innocent life. The doctrine of human rights has no source in Divine Revelation. If you read much of the Old Testament, this should be abundantly clear. God is no humanist.

    “This is tautological. By this reasoning, we simply call contingent rights civil rights and absolute rights human rights; but the question of what’s contingent and what’s absolute remains.”

    It’s not a tautology. It simply means that human rights are inviolable. No person can have the “right” to violate another’s rights. Such an idea causes the entire framework of human rights to collapse, by dissolving the condition that all human beings are equal.

    “That is indeed the only way we’ve figured out to prevent social abuses, but it does not follow that it corresponds to objective reality. It’s a legal fiction that serves as a safeguard for rights no member of society wants to forfeit.”

    Again, it serves as a useful framework for defending the lives of innocents.

    “To my mind, the main effect of this “discrediting” has been to discredit the idea of the soul entirely. If mere movement constitutes animacy, then animals and even plants should have souls (not a bad idea, IMHO); ”

    Again, I refer to the Summa Theologica. The doctrine which was so clearly laid out by this doctor of the Church 700 years ago holds perfectly true today (except in those areas where it depends on primitive science). The Summa makes it clear that every living thing has a soul.

  53. Paul vs. Ti-Guy on Catholicism,

    From the little I’m seen from Paul on this comment string, and from the depressingly large amount of commentary I’ve seen from Ti-Guy generally, this one is a complete mismatch. In one corner, polite and informed, in the other, hectoring and mal-informed.

    Ti-Guy time to go to bed.

  54. Don’t get hysterically angry at me for caring too much, Jarrid.

    If it meets the scientific definition of membership in the human species, then it has human rights

    What court of law established this?

  55. I’m not angry at you Ti-Guy, I just wish Catholics weren’t so ignorant about their own faith. Catholics like you, ignorant about the basics of their faith, and railing against their own faith at the same time, are actually a dime a dozen. One of the reasons for their angry railing against their faith is precisely their own ignornace of it.

    The ignorance you display about your own Catholic faith is quite unremarkable in this day and age and hardly anything to get angry about. But I do wish you would remedy it, for your own sake.

  56. What? How I am ignorant of the basics of Catholic faith? I even took Latin.

    Why do you continue to lie and defame in such a manner Jarrid? Have you no shame?

  57. OK, Paul, I’ve got the Summa Theologica in front of me. Shall we dance?

    The relevant article is Prima Pars, 75, 3rd Article, “Utrum animae brutorum animalium sint subsistentes,” especially Thomas’ main text:

    Dicendum quod antiqui philosophi nullam distinctionem ponebant inter sensum et intellectum, et utrumque corporeo principio attribuebant, ut dictum est. – Plato autem distinxit inter intellectum et sensum; utrumque tamen attribuit principio incorporeo, ponens quod, sicut intelligere, ita et sentire convenit animae secundum seipsam. Et ex hoc sequebatur quod etiam animae brutorum animalium sint subsistentes. Sed Aristoteles posuit quod solum intelligere, inter opera animae, sine organo corporeo exercetur. Sentire vero, et consequentes operationes anima sensitivae, manifeste accidunt cum aliqua corporis immutatione; sicut in videndo immutatur pupilla per speciem coloris; et idem apparet in alliis. Et sic manifestum est quod anima sensitiva non habet aliquam operationem propriam per seipsam, sed omnis operatio sensitivae animae est coniuncti. Ex quo relinquitur quod, cum animae brutorum animalium per se non operentur, non sint subsistentes: similiter enim unumquodque habet esse et operationem. (my emphasis)

    He goes on to say in the same Article:

    Dicendum quod vis motiva est duplex. Una quae imperat motum, scilicet appetitiva. Et huius operatio in anima sensitiva non est sine corpore; sed ira et gaudium et huiusmodi passiones sunt cum aliqua corporis immutatione. Alia vis motiva est exequens motum, per quam membra redduntur habilia ad obediendum appetitui, cuius actus non est movere sed moveri. Unde patet quod movere non est actus animae sensitivae sine corpore.

    In other words, since (in Aristotles’ view at least) animals lack intellect and depend on appetite, their souls are insubsistent; but are you seriously saying that a cocker spaniel, say, shows less intellect than a 10-week fetus?

  58. The corollary being, of course, that cocker spaniels have inalienable human rights . . .

  59. While I suspect that there ARE a few regional dynamics embedded within this analysis that could also be factors, the truth is that Roman Catholic and Protestant Christians who are culturally discerning and serious about their Bible, are far from content with either small “l” liberalism, or capital “L” Liberalism. How can we be content with 100,000 Canadian abortion deaths annually– as many as all our military losses in all the 20th Century? How can we be content with shoot-up centres that ENABLE heroine addiction to continue unabated? How can we be content with a runaway gambling culture, or euthanasia culture? And how can we be content with the Canadian descent into permissive sexuality, whorish materialism, and STDs– all while the only “cures” being offered by “liberal” society are more latex and more Gardasil? And how can all of this be acceptable TO ANY CHRISTIAN when our rights to speak against this debacle are being thwarted at every turn due to over-zealous Human Rights Tribunals and Political Correct nonsense?

  60. Let’s pray together…Thy kingdom come…in the heart of conservatives and liberals..

  61. Jack,

    That’s a very interesting objection. I think the answer would lie in the fact of the human soul’s potential being contingent on the body’s state of maturity. It can only reach this potential when the body is fully formed, at which point it becomes clear that the human soul’s nature is very different from a cocker spaniel’s.

    If you look at the response to objection 3 in article 2 of the same question, you’ll see that St. Thomas Aquinas admits as much; the body is necessary for the acton of the intellect. Simply because the intellect isn’t in evidence doesn’t mean that a subsistent human soul isn’t there.

  62. Paul, if you’re postulating changes in the nature of the human soul based on the physical maturity of the host, then isn’t that opening up the idea that the foetus is not truly human?

    Yet if, on the other hand, even such changes as great as that do not change the fundamental nature of the human soul, then the question opens up, well where does it stop? Does Monty Python have it right when they sing that every sperm is sacred?

    Of course, to argue that the conservatives don’t reject catholic values is to have no freaking clue what the conservatives stand for. “Harsher punishments,” proclaim the conservatives, “turn the other cheek,” asks Jesus. “Cut benefits! The poor need to stand on their own two feet,” cry the conservatives. ” Love your neighbor … when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed,” proclaims Jesus. Conservatives refusing to act against the death penalty as applied in other countries runs smack-dab into “Thou shalt not kill.” The conservatives worship of big business and wealth Jesus answers simply with “You cannot serve both God and money.”

    Of course, all this means nothing because I don’t think there is a modern religion today that actually follows Christ.. just people who are picking and choosing the bits that match their own prejudices.

  63. I think the real issue is that people are willing to look around. conservatives have been saying since the early days of Preston Manning that a whole bunch of groups (especially Catholics and Indo-Canadians) would vote to the right if only he could get their attention. Alas, old habits are hard to break.

    If Manning was right, the logjam is broken. Those voters won’t be coming back until the Liberals have revisited 20 years of policy, not 5.

  64. “Paul, if you’re postulating changes in the nature of the human soul based on the physical maturity of the host, then isn’t that opening up the idea that the foetus is not truly human?”

    That’s not what I’m saying at all. The soul doesn’t change.

  65. Paul: “The soul doesn’t change.”

    Right, so the question is why human-soul style activity is not observable in the early stages of fetal life. It seems to me one is left with either a) the soul’s entering the body at a later point, making early abortion OK, b) parallel “intellectual” activity in non-human life (which, to my mind, is obvious empirically) and consequent duty to extend the rhetoric about abortion to the meat supply among other things, or c) the contingency of the “right to life.” Or one can abandon reason altogether and simply assert a series of unprovable tenets: entry of the soul at conception, damnation of the unbaptised, revealed truth of a “right to life,” etc. But if so the intellectual damage to Catholicism is immense, nothing less than the separation of religion and empiricism, besides the emotional burden imposed on believers to reject the modernity which abortion (and its concomitant liberation of women) represents.

    From my point of view, it is just too clear that in general the opponents of abortion (perhaps not yourself, Paul) are arguing in bad faith. Nothing will convince them because their visceral “belief” or emotional response is irrational. They miss what we all miss in general, a sense of established certainties, and reach out to abortion as a token cause: “If this isn’t wrong, nothing’s wrong.” It’s the death rattle of absolute values. But those values are not coming back — you can’t will them (sorry, “believe” them) into existence again. We need to create new values based on direct experience of life, something the modern world denies us thoroughly. But if we could experience life directly again we would find not only modernity hollow but all the commandments of the Middle Ages equally divorced from truth.

  66. Jack,
    I can tell you that as a woman I do not want to have liberation by abortion. I don’t want it sold to other nations as part of the ‘package’ of democracy that we offer. Abortion is a medical and moral issue and it’s discussion helps to ameliorate the problems with it. Abortion is not ‘modern’. I would think that Paul is likely against abortion to save the life of a woman. Why argue his extreme position? The trouble with the Catholic pro-life movement is that they don’t have any compassion for medically necessary abortion. The pro-choice movement has no compassion for limits to protect those working in abortion and us all from too much of it. They’re a bunch of losers, all.

  67. “Right, so the question is why human-soul style activity is not observable in the early stages of fetal life. ”

    I did my best to answer that one; the exercise of the intellect depends on the body (per Aquinas), but the underlying potential is there even before the body has reached maturity.

    I think you’ve set up a bit of a false dilemma, also. Human intelligence doesn’t refer to anything an animal is capable of, but instead concerns the capacity for reason, and, consequently, contemplation of and communion with the Divine – God, who is the source of reason.

    I really don’t think my position is irrational.

  68. Truemuse,

    Direct abortion is, of course, never permissible. The intentional destruction of innocent human life is an intrinsically evil act. One of the first rules of moral theology is that it is never permissible to commit an intrinsic evil, even for the gravest of reasons.

  69. You and Judy Rebick are matched bedfellows but I make the threesome. You argue for no abortion in Theological doctrine, Rebick argues for abortion-on-demand in Social Justice rhetoric, but I argue for legislated abortion according to my only choice: to live as a citizen in a system of responsible government. If I give up that choice, I fall to Religion or Lawlessness. That’s all I’ll say to you buddy. When you politicize women’s issues you do alot of harm because the daily travails of those that are face to face with the moral or medical dilemma of abortion have no social support because of you have dismantled it by your methods. You / Judy Rebick : have some fun there :: when I come to join you you’ll part company.

  70. I think all you perhaps embrace dualism too much for the catholic church’s taste. In the church the soul is considered to be in perfect union with the body. Anima properly defined, is the fact that a body is alive, not a ghostly spook. This is why the bodily resurrection of the dead is not a figurative thing in the catholic church, but a hopeful promise. It is believed that a human being is not thinking or active being without a body, and being alive is the highest good of human existence.

    For the ones who quote Thomas Aquinas, as one who is both educated in scholastic philosophy and is a “sweats the details” form of Roman Catholic, I have to say two things:

    1) We have had a theological tradition past Aquinas and disagree with many of the things he said.
    2) We have arrived at our current abortion position as we shifted from the idea of “form” as abstract shape to include knowledge of cellular biology, embryology and DNA.

    The simple fact of the matter is that we know that a fertilized egg is a complete human organism. It doesn’t matter if it is as intelligent as cocker spaniel or even a mosquito. The life of human beings is sacred and should be protected and nurtured to its full potential. Human beings cannot be considered a means or an obstacle. This is what separates catholic humanism from secular humanism, where the sick, the weak, and the feebleminded are to be treasured, whereas secular humanism values human life in relation to the peak of intellectual and physical power. (This is why libertarians and social liberals usually agree on social policy issues).

    So what happens when we need to be pragmatic? We do indeed line up with the left-leaning parties when it comes to social issues and are suspicious of unregulated capitalism. We agree on the importance of action on environmental concerns. However, imagine if the NDP or Liberals supported capital punishment without appeal. While you may find that many of your interests line up, unabashed support for the death penalty would make it hard to support them. Catholics feel much the same way about abortion, which whether you agree with our reasoning or not, we regard as an intrinsic evil.

    The Church accepts the necessity of abortion if a pregnancy (such as an etopic pregnancy) would kill both the mother and child. 50 years ago, if a uterine cancer had to be excised on a pregnant woman the church would have accepted that as well, though today a increased concern about abortions has lead to a hardening of positions (a famous case in Chile comes to mind). What the church cannot accept is the idea that abortion is to be used as means to avoid responsibility. (see doctrine of double effect)

    As a result the Church and indeed many other Christians on the religious right have had to change attitudes. Giving up your child for adoption is not shameful anymore, but favored over the alternative. Social conservatives resist being absorbed into the libertarian wing of the party because social justice issues which might assist in reducing abortions go over very well. Of course, the accepting abortion has also caused some attitude changes on the left as well.

    The differences between the left and the right on sexuality and abortion can be summed up this way. The left isn’t particularly concerned if their unmarried children have sex, but are upset if they get pregnant. The right is upset if their unmarried children have sex, but will accept and welcome the new baby if they get pregnant.

  71. Truemuse:
    ‘They’re a bunch of losers, all.’
    I see you are still angry. Why?
    A grudge is a heavy thing to carry.

  72. Pray – excuse me being dismissive of the premise of this article – mea culpa!
    I was once – many years ago – an altar boy – Pater Noster – qui es in caelis – The lady agglomerates all Catholics as presumably all following this Pope’s preaching!
    Nothing could be further from the truth!
    When pollsters come up with questions that force you to choose a slot – most respondents choose one that they recognize – even if they don’t currently practice it!
    There is NO voting bloc of RCs!
    In my day – it was the convent girls who seemed most likely to find themsleves with an unwanted pregnancy – and THEIR families who looked for safe abortions sites!
    Abortion and the terminology describing Same Sex Legal Unions are two emotional issues that divide the nation – but still a majority support the availability of both here in Canada.
    Ultimately – it’s a fairness thing – and Canadians – at core – will choose the “Fair” political solution.
    Bottom line – this has absolutely zippo to do with the Liberals poor election results.

  73. Wascally Wabbit> Why is that ex-catholics always accept every 19th century protestant smear when they leave the church?

  74. Adding to the “Rerum Novarum” and a close reading of the GOSPELS I strongly believe that
    JESUS was a SOCIALIST. I let my case rest.

  75. “What does it mean? “The Liberals have alienated their base, which shows how weak their support really is,” Grenville says, adding that he isn’t very optimistic about the party’s immediate future. “I can’t see Bob Rae or Michael Ignatieff appealing to that vote either, which is in part why their prospects aren’t too bright.”

    Is this guy serious? Suppose one buys into these numbers, what, pray tell is the reason behind the supposed switch?

  76. Terry: “The life of human beings is sacred”

    If I may make a general point, this is the kind of statement that reveals how far Christianity has fallen from St. Thomas’ day. It is wholly lacking empirical foundation — it’s simply an assertion, a “belief.” In the Middle Ages, there was no difference, in educated circles, between philosophy and religion. Terms were defined and religious experience was exactly that — experience. God was a fact. The terminology of religion had not yet been separated from real life. Nowadays, God serves as the Great Exception, the existence of which is supposed to justify all other little exceptions; formerly, there was literally nothing more natural than God’s existence and to deny it would be like denying the Law of Gravity today. Christians today think they can get away with simply saying “X is sacred” as though to be sacred means to enjoy a kind of free pass from reason; whereas formerly a term like “sacred” had a real meaning, experienced as you or I would experience, oh, heat or cold. The tortuous “struggle for faith” that any rational “Christian” undergoes today was unknown. In the great parting of the ways between reason and religion, some have picked religion, but it doesn’t give them a right to claim Christianity as their very own. We atheists are just as Christian, historically speaking, as the self-styled Christians; and neither enjoys the harmony of reason and theology that our ancestors enjoyed: atheists because theology no longer defines its terms, self-styled Christians because it would be too much like hard work to define them, or because the very lack of precision and childish festival of the irrational is what attracts them in the first place. For my part I feel I am far more faithful to the real Christianity by rejecting this sentimental modern kind than y’all are by practicing a religion whose main form of argument is assertion and whose main proselytising technique is to shout louder and call names.

  77. Terry, with regard to your summation?

    Screw you.

    The left is very concerned if our unmarried children have sex, and extremely concerned if they choose to have an abortion. However, the left does not deny that these things will happen no matter what the rules are, and so seek to address the issue with that understanding.

    The religious right is very concerned if a woman spreads her legs, and thinks that by hiding knowledge about the behavior or applying strict punishments (including the punishment of requiring a woman donate the use of her organs to another life) that the issue will just magically disappear, when really all that will happen is that it will be driven into the back alleys and the coat-hangers, thus ending not just the one life, but risking a second.

  78. 1. I am glad to see (for the most part) some very intelligent and well informed discussion of theological issues here. Thanks to all on both sides!

    2. The thing that I haven’t seen mentioned in this article or the ensuing discussion is the fact that (in my opinion at least) there is no party that even comes close to meeting the needs of well informed Catholics who wish to live and vote in accordance with Church teaching. Voting Conservative will support some Church ideals on the sanctity of life (ex. abortion and sexual morality issues) but will be problematic when considering (among other things) the Preferential Option for the Poor or (depending how you look at it) Just War Doctrine. Voting Liberal or NDP may do the opposite.

    I really have to say that as a Catholic whose economic views tend very far to the left (a position I feel is in line with Church teaching) but whose social views (on issues such as abortion or sexual morality) tend to the right (again, in line with Church teaching) I am fed up with having to hold my nose no matter who I vote for! Perhaps all of this is yet more evidence of a need to relax party discipline and rigid partisanship.

  79. The Catholic Church doesn’t speak for this voter. Never did, not now and never will

  80. RE: Cliff Nov 24, 2008 12:44…why would you attack “James” so forcefully. You make it seem that all the ills of the country are on his shoulders. “James” didn’t even say if he was a liberal supporter or not. But you attacked him for all the slights you perceive the liberals have done to you. Calling the liberals “your party” is pretty harsh considering many people vote liberal. That personal attack is why some conservatives are seen as somewhat radical in their views. Therefore are very hard to take seriously. I also wanted to say that one opinion does not reveal a person’s partisan leanings, and people have opinions without the need (or want) to be labeled supporters of one party or another.

  81. …on the abortion arguments…the fact is that some women will still want one. For whatever their reason (and the excuse that it is their body is a stupid one, and I am sure not a real reason for an abortion) Women used to shove coat hangers up themselves to halt an unwanted pregnancy. Medically it is a necessary thing. Just look at “cultures” that do not believe in abortion or even adoption. They can be and are a drain on the social system. They don’t always raise productive adults. Maybe not an argument for abortion, but certainly an argument for the ability to make a choice. It is mostly the women who is left to care for the child. So it should be her choice if she wants or can take on that 20 year commitment. Men, on the other hand, make that decision all the time. They leave and don’t pay child support. The only difference is that men don’t have to make the hard choice. And they don’t have to pay any consequences. There is no one waiting outside their door with a poster of a starving and homeless child trying to scare them into paying child support and forcing them to be an accountable father.

    The argument to declare when a couple of cells become a person is redundant. A woman or girl who is not ready to carry and raise a child is not concerned with when that child becomes a real person. To her it already is, a person, a future, an unseen face, and she will feel guilty for years to come.

  82. Jarrid Nov 25, 2008 0:28

    “I’m not angry at you Ti-Guy, I just wish Catholics weren’t so ignorant about their own faith. Catholics like you, ignorant about the basics of their faith, and railing against their own faith at the same time, are actually a dime a dozen. One of the reasons for their angry railing against their faith is precisely their own ignornace of it.”

    I am Catholic. I was baptized Catholic. I was a baby and didn’t know any better. I am totally ignorant about the basics of my “prescribed” faith. And I don’t care! Why do you wish I wasn’t so ignorant? Why do I have to be aware of all the ins and outs of the Catholic faith? Is there a law? Why do you care? Or do you just need the numbers.

  83. Kate, because it’s good for your soul and Ti-Guy’s soul.

  84. Also, if you show enough interest in other people’s souls, you get to pretend you’re God.

  85. What gibberish! I’m a practicing Catholic and card-carrying Liberal supporter. Of course, there are some aspects of Liberal policy I disagree with, but much more of Conservative policy that I disagree with, so my choice is clear.

  86. From what I have been reading here many people have a very limited view of “family” when stamping the Liberals as anti-family. The first two definitions of family listed in the dictionary are as follows.

    1.A fundamental social group in society typically consisting of one or two parents and their children.
    2.Two or more people who share goals and values, have long-term commitments to one another, and reside usually in the same dwelling place.

    Many of you claiming the Liberals are anti-family would also call the members of your church your family although it falls outside the scope of these definitions. And why? Because as a society we have come to understand that our family are those closest to us, who we care about and who we can come to in times of joy, sickness or grief. We place this label regardless of beliefs, gender, color, income tax bracket or politics. So to say that because Liberal policies give options to women, to people that fit outside your specific definition of family, outside the belief of your god they are anti-family really labels you as anti-family. As the Catholics, the Baptists and everyone else listed as fleeing the Liberal party in droves in this article believes, we are all gods children, it is not our place to judge, that is for him alone to do. Our mission is to show the love of god in everything we say and do. I voted Liberal because I believe their policies give options and support to members of all families, to all Canadians, our countrymen/women, our much broader family. These are options which in no way remove your right to continue to be in a hedro sexual marriage, to not have an abortion. These policies simply show understanding and compasion to those with different beliefs. The only policies as a Christian you should feel you must live by are those in that book in every pew, every hotel nightstand and many of your homes. There is a reason why there is and should be a divide between church and state in a multicultural and beautiful mosaic that is Canada.

  87. Jarrid, Catholicism is wrong. The one true god is the Flying Spaghetti Monster. If you have not yet been touched by his noodly appendage, fear not. There is still time!

  88. You know what I find truly astonishing is why any MAN believes that he has anything to say when it comes to a woman’s right to make such a decision regarding her own body … case closed period .. we should pass a law in Canada saying so. From this point on no man has the right to interfere between a woman, her doctor and or priest, monk ,arch druid (whatever) when it comes to her decision as to what to do with her own body. It would be different if the only reason pregnancy occured was the intent to procreate but since when has any man had intercourse just to procreate – quite the reverse actually – it’s more of a negative consequence of the pursuit of a positive pleasure as far as male perspective is concerned.

  89. I am Catholic Clergy and a former Liberal but their degenerate culture of death policies would get me barred from heaven if I continued to support them so I left the evil ones behind as they revel in their neo-pagan baby killing filth.

    The cleansing of the temple is just about complete and it is time to turn our attention to the city square and push back . God willing Canada will soon be a moral country once again.

    Repent this Advent, seek holiness and justice for weakest members of society, especially the unborn, the sick , the lonely. Killing the least among us is a satanic crime that cries to heaven for eternal justice.

    God Bless

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