Catholic Advocate comes to Des Moines

By Tom Quiner

The president has a problem.

He doesn’t like Catholics. In particular, he doesn’t like Catholics who attend Mass every week.

Why do I make such a provocative claim? Because regular Mass attenders in the Catholic Church are more likely to embrace and honor the teachings of the Church than those who come once in a while, according to surveys. And the president aggressively opposes the Church’s teachings on Life, traditional marriage, and contraception.

These regular Mass attenders are more likely to vote than non-regular Mass attenders.

And Obama has alienated them.

He signed Obamacare, and taxpayer-funded abortion is hidden in this bill, the president’s cynical executive order notwithstanding.

The president’s HHS Mandate violates the conscious-protection of Catholic organizations, a direct violation of religious freedom.

These core Catholics are swing voters, and they are ready to swing to the right.

Yesterday, the Washington D.C. based Catholic Advocate came to Des Moines to present ways to advance critical Church social issues in this year’s election cycle … and beyond. They spoke at the Northwest Community Center here in Des Moines

Catholic Advocate “engages and encourages faithful Catholics to actively participate in the political process to support elected officials and policies that remain consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church,” as expressed in their publication, “Issues for Catholic Voters, 2012 Edition.”

Deal Hudson, author of "Onward Christian Soldier"

Deal Hudson, Chairman of Catholic Advocate

The presenters were Deal Hudson and Matt Smith. Mr. Hudson is the author of Onward Christian Soldiers: The Growing Political Power of Catholics and Evangelicals in the United States. Mr. Smith is the former Associate Director of Public Liaison responsible for Catholic outreach under President George W. Bush.

The political Left has aggressively courted Catholics through their surrogates, the labor unions and

Evangelical Christians have become a potent political force on the Right.

But the “Catholic Right” is not a term you ever hear, because Catholics have traditionally felt more at home with the Democratic Party. But the radical Leftward shift of the Democrats has weakened their grip on the millions of Catholics galvanized by Life issues.

The Democrat’s platform from 2008 shows in stark terms how anti-Catholic the Democratic Party has become:

“The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe V. Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.”

In other words, Democrats are saying in no uncertain words to Catholics, butt out.

Mssrs. Hudson and Smith suggest that an aggressive outreach to these alienated Catholics can swing the election.

Matt Smith was responsible for Catholic outreach under President George W. Bush

Matt Smith, President of Catholic Advocate

They identify some interesting dynamics:

• Catholics are more likely to vote than the regular public. Although they only represent 21% of the population, they represent 27% of the electorate.

• 67 million Catholics are registered in the parishes across the country.

• 20 million attend Mass regularly. These are the swing voters that can cost pro-abortion candidates the election, IF they are properly informed on critical issues.

These voters have to be courted in a unique way, according to Hudson and Smith:

“As swing voters, Catholics will be a reminder to the GOP that social issues cannot be put aside regardless of the economy or the challenges of national security.”

Quiner's Diner attends the Catholic Advocate event in Des Moines

Tom Quiner, publisher of Quiner's Diner, asks a question of Catholic Advocate

They emphasized the necessity of respecting Catholic social teachings:

“These voters, alarmed at the growth of federal government, also will remind Republicans that policies about health care, poverty and education should be guided by the Catholic principle of the smallest, localized entity being given the opportunity to provide services. This is referred to as ‘subsidiarity’ in Catholic social teaching.”

In other words, Catholics are moved the most when positions on life, marriage, and fiscal responsibility are linked with concern for the needy and vulnerable.

If I could express it as the marketer that I am: people buy from people they like and trust. By the same token voters vote for people they like and trust.

Republican candidates need to remember this. We are not just against abortion, we’re for life and believe everyone has a right to life.

We’re not just against gay marriage, we’re for traditional marriage because we believe that this institution has a timeless success record in producing the healthiest, happiest children.

We’re not against social programs for the poor, we’re for responsible government spending that reduces the strangling weight of the national debt. Cardinal Dolan affirmed as much with his endorsement of the Paul Ryan Republican budget.

Each Catholic concerned about Life issues has to engage their fellow Catholics at coffee and donuts after Mass; in our coffee shops; and even on Facebook.

Catholic Advocate is preparing a top-down campaign in critical swing states, including Iowa, to raise the issues Catholics care about most.

Do you want to help?