Last week I posed the question as to whether conservative Catholics, had we known that Cardinal Ratziner would be the next pope, would have felt it as important to defeat John Kerry as we did. At the time a popular school of thought was that a Kerry victory, which would also be a victory for pro-abortion Catholics, would be a blow to the Church. Would a Ratziner papacy have changed that thinking?
I asked Christopher of the excellent blogs Against the Grain and Catholics in the Public Square what he thought, and he's graciously replied with a very thoughtful answer here. The bottom line, as I answer my own question based on Christopher's input, is that it would have remained important for the Church for Kerry to be defeated. As Christopher points out:
- The communion scandal would have escalated had Kerry been elected.
- Had Kerry rejected the Church's teaching, the moral authority of the Church would have been further weakened.
- Damage to the pro-life movement.
- The pope might still have delegated responsibility for any disciplinary actions to the local bishops, and we know how effective that might have been.
- We can speculate that a confrontation over all of this would have led to liberal Catholics leaving the Church, but in the months of Benedict's papacy we have yet to see that happen, so that would have been by no means a sure thing.
Christopher hopes this answers my question, and it does because it provides me with perspective that it's often difficult for the one asking the questions to have. I haven't really been disappointed with Bush because I didn't expect much from him in the first place, so it would have been quite easy to say that in the long run we would have been better off with Kerry in the White House and us in the opposition. In fact, it would have been much too easy, emotionally, to say that, which is why I wanted to ask someone who could think this through better than I could.
Ah, but as one commenter asks, what about Hilary vs. Rudy?...
Thanks for your time, Christopher! If anyone else wants to chime in, go ahead!