It seems almost impossible to imagine now that John F. Kennedy’s Catholicism was a huge issue in the 1960 presidential campaign

It seems almost impossible to imagine now that John F. Kennedy’s Catholicism was a huge issue in the 1960 presidential campaign. His victory in the Democratic primary in West Virginia—a state with a small Catholic population—was a huge boost to his candidacy because it proved that anti-Catholic prejudice might be waning. In the fall campaign against…


Dan Kana's picture
Dan Kana 4 years 15 weeks ago

Nice article, thank you for sharing.

Epoxy Floor

argonaut's picture
argonaut 7 years 26 weeks ago

We almost had one -- Kerry. I know of one Priest that wanted to excommunicate him for his being for Pro-Choice. Makes you wonder how many Catholic communities may have been told not to vote for him.

Steven.PBarrett 7 years 26 weeks ago

Catholics aren't easily taken in by the likes of Rubio, Bush and others who've been in and out of the Church depending on their views and values, not the Church's. Ideologues may rant and rave all they want about the Church's positions on temporal political and economic matters, and on some crucial moral stands she's taken. But the Church, when she speaks through her magisterium, has to remain consistent, no matter how unpopular her findings, opinions and teachings might be with the general public. Just as our Supreme Court (and those of other nations which have one), the Church has to rely on precedent. In the Catholic Church's case, this means very "settled" laws and past disputes based on Scripture. Scripture is also used to bolster encyclicals and other major doctrines thus bolstering the authority underlying these documents.

Only on two distinct occasions, has the Church declared anything a Pope said as "infallible," and by some coincidence, the doctrine of Papal Infallibility was the product of Pope Pius IX's labors and political muscle. (It's a long story and in his personal doings, this was hardly an infallible man. After all, he did give defacto recognition to the Confederacy with his letter to Jefferson Davis addressing him as President. Not very diplomatic or infallibly bright. BUT, and this is crucial, when it came to his discernment on spiritual matters, Pius was spot on. (Okay, I'm Catholic so call me biased. LOL, I've been called much worse.) There's a huge difference between a pope issuing opinions on global warming and producing a document where he not only discusses, but makes a clear and definitive statement about longstanding Church teachings based on Scripture and Tradition. The popes just can't go out and make up whatever they want and say "It's infallible because I said so and the argument's closed." Rest assured there were many arguments between Pio Nono's Cardinals and advisers before he declared anything infallible and he only did that twice.

While not wanting to pick a fight with Protestants, especially self-described "evangelical Bible Christians," (viz their more liturgical brothers and sisters in the Episcopalian and Lutheran communions) on any given day, any "Bible Church" preacher can step into his pulpit and say what he believes based on the Bible alone, is infallible, and yes, some of these preachers have indeed done so. And they are mighty powerful within their local churches and denominations. Yet down the street, another Bible Church pastor has a different opinion on the same gospel reading and he tells his flock his findings are infallibly based on the Bible, too. How can that be? (First of all, it's rare to find two evangelical preachers using the same scripture reading outside of special holy days like Christmas and Easter.)

Spiritual wanderers, such as Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio or John Kasich are by and large, still strongly rooted in their older Church traditions. While I'm not sure, I would expect Fiorina to be Catholic. (Lazy of me, I'll fess up to following the "I's have it" line. Rest assured Chris Cristie's a Catholic and an old fashioned kind at that. They were all at one time or another Catholics or became Catholics and their religious beliefs are based on much stronger foundations. Without wanting to offend anybody, the same cannot be said for the others, and I find Ted Cruz the most onerous of them all for his swarmy use of his selective and very finely tuned abilities to cherry pick whatever he wants to "justify" any damn fool thing that's popular at any given moment. It's Old Time Religion on American 'Roids.

What amazes me is how so many otherwise intelligent people, smart enough to have accomplished considerable achievements before tossing their hats into the ring, are stumbling over religious issues and teachings that have long been settled, accepted, or at least respectfully disagreed over by other politicians in the past without having to resort to all the kinds of immature forms of bickering demonstrated by the herd of GOP candidates.

They should all sit up a little straighter and take sharp notice when a longtime non-practicing Jewish liberal, okay, "socialist" US Senator from Vermont is able to enter Liberty University's convocation hall and be able to deliver one of the most solid displays of knowledge of both Old and New Testaments and how to use them in ways that were designed to bring all of his listeners closer to finding what unites us more than divides us. He gave Liberty the real "old time religion" and I'll bet he was a lot more credibly convincing that Ted Cruz.

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