Saturday, October 13, 2012

Why Are Catholic Conservatives So Less Effective Than Catholic Liberals in The Public Square

For all the talk from the Catholic "left"  of how the "Christian Right" and by implication Catholic political conservatives are injecting too much partisan politics in the faith, the fact is the conservative /GOP Catholic facet organized movement is  a paper tiger.

Catholic Democrats, Catholics United , Catholic United For the Common Good are just three. See for how well funded and what talent two of these groups have here.

Then throw in the very closely aligned Faith In the Public Life whose staff including John Gehring, Catholic Program Director is a favorite  go to person of the media and whose staff members of are also closely aligned with NETWORK .

These groups are a whose who of past National Catholic Bishops office talent, well known theologians , clergy, bothers, and sisters  that happened to be well funded and have the media ear.

I mention this today because Father Z had a very short simple one line post at  QUAERITUR: Catholics For Romney? That is "Has anyone heard from Catholics For Romney?"

The answer is no doubt no despite the fact that Catholics For Romney is full of past Catholic Enovys to the Vatican as Co Chairs.  The most I have seen is a press release or two and that web page.

Conservative Catholics do find a nice advocate for their views in the market place of idea in Catholic Vote whose leadership of doing the best with the resources it has is an asset. However it is  nothing compared to sure complexity and well coordinated activities of the Catholic left that has an amazing ability to be quoted in the media.

Then we have the problem of the leading Catholic media that gets quoted that often seem to be of a progressive side. See America , Commonweal , and U.S. Catholic. Observe over a period of time how these publications are quoted versus  lets say people at First Things or the National Catholic Register ?

It seems on occasion the media will throw in a George Weigel and once in  blue moon a Robert George but that seems to be the limit of the Rolodex.

Why is this situation so and why does it repeat in such a  depressing fashion year after year.

First I do think there is a self serving implication by many in the Catholic media  at times that the above more progressive Catholic orgs are involved in "common good " work while the rest are just party hacks. In other words one gets a sense that some are involved in legitimate public square work while the rest are just tearing the Church apart. This is all perfect nonsense but that seems to be the memo.

Second to some extent D.C. is a company town and the media has a relationship with people that happened to have worked at the United States Catholic Bishop's Office that have now moved on to more thinly veiled partisan work. Quote your friends and the people you know.

Last but not least Conservatives are a quite herd of cats to get to agree on matters to start with. So that has no doubt some relationship to why Republican /Conservative  aligned Lay Catholics do a horrid job of getting their voice out.

In the end we got to do a better job of getting our voice out there , and not just be reminded how far behind we are every 4 years. Catholic conservatives in the lay duty of contributing to the public square and to social justice have a ton of resources. We just have to use them better.


Dennis Mahon said...

We need to start using the "New Media" more often and better than we currently do.

James H said...

I think that is very true and is actually quite doable if we put our minds to it