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Gerald T. Slevin: After Elections, Who Will Prosecute More Predatory Priests? Constitutional Lawyer Obama Or The Three R’s—Romney, Ryan & Ratzinger? And Why Does It Matter?

Another hard-hitting and exhaustively researched essay by the Harvard-trained former Wall Street lawyer Jerry Slevin today.  Jerry looks at the two U.S. presidential candidates in light of their records in dealing with issues of child abuse and of church and state, and challenges Catholics to inform our consciences as we select a candidate by thinking carefully about why the Vatican and U.S. bishops appear to be playing very overt partisan politics in this election cycle–to assure that the candidate (Romney) more likely to be lenient to Catholic officials prosecuted for criminal activity with child abuse cases is elected.  What follows is Jerry’s essay: 

Is Anyone Above American Law For Misdeeds Committed In U.S.?

The U. S. Founders in the American Revolution risked their fortunes and even their lives to establish a basic legal principle, namely, that sovereigns, whether kings, clerics or presidents, must be subject, as all other citizens are, to the rule of law, in particular, under laws that are democratically enacted, transparently applied and impartially enforced.  In 1776, European absolute monarchs and clerics were in practice very often “above” the law.  This had been a major grievance of many of the Founders, who were wisely and understandably appalled at the unaccountable monarchs and clerics of the Old World. Consequently, the Founders made sure in the U.S. Constitution that no one was to be above the law.

President Nixon with Watergate, and President Clinton with “Monicagate,” learned painfully that the Founders really meant what they said about the supremacy of the rule of law, as these two powerful U.S. Presidents were humiliated in public Constitutional proceedings for their misdeeds.  My Harvard Law mentor, Constitutional scholar and Watergate prosecutor, Archibald Cox, made this very clear to Nixon.

Will This Essential Legal Principle Still Apply After the Elections?

Ominously, it now appears that this fundamental legal principle, that all persons, including politically powerful ones, are subject to American law for their U.S. misdeeds, may be seriously at risk following the current U.S. elections, at least as it may relate to the U.S. misdeeds of the pope and his U.S. bishops. Religious liberty for all, under the rule of law, appears to be in danger of becoming clerical privilege for some, depending possibly on whether Mitt Romney or Barack Obama is elected.

All American voters, but especially Catholics, have to include this serious consideration conscientiously in their voting calculus. Catholics cannot let themselves by manipulated by a cynical Catholic hierarchy that appears to be attempting to exploit election-year wedge issues like contraception and gay marriage to further the Catholic hierarchy’s narrow self-interest and possibly even to protect themselves from possible criminal prosecution.

Barack Obama’s U.S. Justice Department prosecutors recently took very aggressive legal action in a criminal case of a priest child pornographer directly related to the subsequent conviction of the first U.S. Catholic bishop, Bishop Finn of Kansas City, for a child endangerment related crime. Obama also, following the Penn State Sandusky revelations, condemned strongly child sexual abuse, and his Federal prosecutors are actively presently pursuing Penn State cover-up investigations. Obama could have pursued a less aggressive approach to child sexual abuse to accommodate the Catholic hierarchy’s anxieties, but he did the right thing for defenseless children instead.

By contrast, when Boston’s politically powerful Cardinal Law initially refused to resign after the Boston Globe‘s explosive and extensive revelations of the cover-up of pervasive priest rape of children by local Catholic priests, then Massachusetts Governor candidate Romney’s spokesman and currently prime “etch a sketcher,” Eric Fehrnstrom, told the Globe: “It is not Mitt’s place to say whether he should continue to lead. This is a matter for Cardinal Law’s own conscience….” What? Cardinal  Law subsequently resigned and then skipped town for an indefinite Roman holiday, while Governor Romney and his state attorney general apparently just stood by.

Romney’s evidently significant current political debt to the pope and U.S. Catholic bishops, as well as Romney’s expected “hands off church/state” approach reflected in his long personal experience, including as a former “de facto bishop” in Boston in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), raises very troubling questions about the future Federal approach to prosecuting priest child rapists and the Catholic bishops that protect them, as well as to questions about legal and affordable access of all American women to sensible family planning.

Romney’s anticipated tax breaks for the top 0.1%, including many U.S. papal donors who are members of the Knights of Malta, the Papal Foundation, LEGATUS, FADICA, the Leadership Conference on Church Management and top executives of the Knights of Columbus, who may share their additional U. S. tax savings with the pope if Romney is elected, may be one of the reasons for the pope’s support of Romney, but is it the main reason, even as the Vatican is understandably very concerned about the escalation in the number of diocesan bankruptcies?

Is the pope expecting Mitt Romney, as U.S. “prosecutor-in-chief” and U.S. Supreme Court “nominee selector,” to go easy on the Catholic hierarchy and predatory priests on child sexual abuse crimes and to appoint more “anti-contraception” papal pawns to the U.S. Supreme Court if he were to be elected U.S. president, in return for the unprecedented support the Catholic hierarchy have been giving Romney and his fellow Republicans in the current political campaign? As discussed below, the current (and also the much earlier) Romney position on abortion hardly seems sufficiently different from Obama’s to justify the unprecedented election campaign support the pope is giving Romney.  So the pope likely has other objectives in mind. What are they?

This question matters greatly. Firstly, children need to be protected from priest rapists. The Catholic hierarchy has failed for decades and continues to fail to do so adequately.  In our Constitutional system of law, all criminals, even politically powerful ones, must be prosecuted and punished to deter future crimes and to give crime victims some minimal justice.

Moreover,  I have been a lifelong practicing Catholic with 16 years of Catholic schooling.  It is very clear to me that the current all-male Catholic hierarchy is in a losing worldwide battle to preserve their monarchical structure by foolishly and futilely attempting to hide their child abuse sins and by demonizing women, even nuns, and gay persons in their desperate effort to protect the Catholic hierarchy’s political power and considerable wealth. This is a shameful fools’ errand, really. As a grandparent and retired lawyer, I will do whatever I can to accelerate the hierarchy’s defeat.

Worldwide, hundreds of millions of people, mostly children including many American children, presently live in misery often because their births were unplanned as a result of their poor parents’ inability to access affordable contraception, due mainly to lobbying undertaken by the Catholic hierarchy against government assistance with contraception. And contraception usually removes any need to consider an abortion.

As is made very clear in the classic book by award winning journalist and Catholic scholar, Robert Blair Kaiser, entitled The Politics of Sex and Religion, the original papal condemnation of contraception in 1930 was largely politically motivated to try to stem the post-World War I decline in the Western European birth rate in the face of the expansion of the Soviet Communist threat.  This excellent book is now available to all for free as an e-book at Robert Blair Kaiser’s website.

More importantly, Kaiser’s book shows convincingly that the 1968 second papal condemnation of contraception, including the “pill,” against and in spite of the overwhelming recommendation of the pope’s own widely regarded birth control commission, was made principally to preserve the then pope’s weak claim to the “mystical” power of purported “infallibility” that would be undercut substantially if the pope in 1968 reversed the 1930 papal condemnation.

It now seems clear that the current pope wants to continue the papal contraception condemnation as a “loyalty oath,” in order both to preserve even his currently weaker claim to “infallibility” power, and also to offset by more Catholic births worldwide the flight of millions of disgusted Catholics who are fleeing the Catholic Church’s corrupt leadership, as well as to enable the Vatican to compete population-wise with the increase in the worldwide Islamic birthrate.  Complete geopolitical nonsense, to say the least.

The papal contraception ban is mainly about power, and not morality or theology! Neither U.S. presidential candidate should be cooperating in any way with this mystical megalomania, no matter what election support is being offered by the Vatican.  Moreover, Catholic voters should completely disregard the Catholic hierarchy’s voting directives and recognize them for what they are, crass political power plays by understandably frightened hierarchs.

Are Popes Ever Above the Law?

Popes and their hierarchy clearly are “above and beyond” the law at present in Vatican City, and appear often to act as if they are above all earthly laws. The pope claims he is “immune as a head of state” from other countries’ laws, as well, because the Italian dictator, Mussolini, to gain in 1929 needed papal political support, granted the then pope, Pius XI, a “separate country” in Rome, Vatican City, consisting of 100+ acres with a population of under 1,000 persons, smaller than almost all college campuses. The pope, as the last post-Constantinian absolute monarch in the Old World, controls completely the Vatican’s laws, judges, prosecutors and police, as Roman Emperor Constantine comparably and dictatorially did in the Fourth Century.

This week, after a quick Vatican “show” trial of the pope’s whistle-blowing butler that lacked some fundamental due process protections, a papal court declared that, although the butler did not benefit financially from leaking copies of papal documents, the butler had “…violated…the secrecy of actions owed to a sovereign…” and may have “…profited intellectually and morally….”  For this purported “crime” of violating “sovereign secrecy” for alleged personal intellectual and moral profit (?), the butler has been sentenced to serve a year and a half, apparently out of the reach of the media, in a Vatican makeshift prison as reported HERE and as also reported HERE.

The U.S. Founders surely would have had some serious problems with this clear judicial abuse of this courageous and tragic butler at the behest of an unaccountable and harsh absolute monarch, his papal boss.

When popes want prompt Vatican legal action, they get it as was clearly the case with this butler’s extremely rapid criminal prosecution. When popes want to avoid taking Vatican legal action, they also can avoid, and have often avoided, taking it.  Serial child sex abuser Fr. Marcial Maciel bribed Vatican officials broadly and often to string out over a half century the corrupt Vatican bureaucracy’s investigations of him, and this long saga of clerical corruption is still yet continuing at present as reported HERE.  Famously, the current pope as then angry Cardinal Ratzinger a few years ago took a soft swipe at an ABC-TV reporter who dared merely to ask him about the stalled case of Maciel, a clear favorite of Pope John Paul II, as shown HERE.

In another notoriously stalled Vatican criminal case, Milwaukee predator priest, Fr. Lawrence Murphy, was accused credibly of sexually abusing over 200 young deaf children, yet was never really brought to justice, after decades of Catholic hierarchical inaction, including by this pope, Cardinal Bertone and others, as vividly reported in the new award-winning and hard-hitting HBO documentary, “Mea Maxima Culpa,” discussed HERE and viewable as a  movie trailer HERE.

Many other examples have been widely reported of the Vatican’s utter avoidance of the transparent rule of law, especially with respect to the hierarchy’s alleged cover-up of worldwide priest rape of children, including the widely reported instances of cover-ups relating to, among many others, Cardinals Law, Bevilacqua, Rigali, Brady, Groer, et al., and Bishop Mueller (Norway) and Bishop Vanglehuwe (Belgium), none of whom have ever really been called to account by the Vatican, while the pope’s butler gets clobbered for unauthorized distributions of photocopies.

The pope’s own reported personal failures, including his failures (1) to address publicly his actions in Munich that enabled a known pedophile priest to continue abusing more children for years and (2) to act on the longstanding abuses at his brother’s Regensberg choir school, just underscore the pope’s clear strategy to try to bury hierarchical cover-ups of abuse with silence, PR stunts and/or mystical smokescreens.

This shameful Vatican impunity may change soon when the mother, who was promoted recently to chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, which has enforcible jurisdiction over the pope, completes her review of the massive criminal complaint charging the pope and Vatican Cardinals Bertone, Sodano and Levada with “crimes against humanity” for their alleged roles in the worldwide cover-up of sexual abuse by priests of many thousands of defenseless Catholic children as reported HERE.

Of course, the U.S. President has significant influence with international organizations and foreign member nations. Spain backed off investigating George W. Bush administration officials for possible Iraq war crimes in light of U.S. diplomatic pressure. Former Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Sodano personally complained to the then U.S. Secretary of State Condelezza Rice about the efforts to reach the pope then being made by American lawyers for priest child sex abuse survivors. Sodano’s efforts seem to have had some impact. Clearly, the Vatican fully understands the value of having influence in the White House to protect the Catholic hierarchy from the long arm of the law. Apparently, the pope has put his money on Romney as the one most likely to help shield the Catholic hierarchy.

What is the Pope’s Current Situation Generally?

The formative youthful experiences of Joseph Ratzinger, the current pope, including his participation, purportedly involuntarily, in the Hitler Youth movement and in Hitler’s Third Reich Army, seem relevant here. Since then, the pope’s experience has mainly been limited, after some early academic efforts, to climbing ambitiously up the hierarchical ladder in a corrupt Vatican bureaucracy that has been marked too often by secretive, ruthless, corrupt and unaccountable actions. The pope’s three decades in Rome have witnessed repeated failures, in dealing with issues ranging from child abuse, priest shortages, Curial reform, the Vatican Bank, the SSPX schism to ecumenism; and yet at 85 years old he still refuses to call it quits. What utter hubris!.

Not too surprisingly, the pope’s long time friend and oldest living academic colleague, going back at least to their service together in the early 1960′s at the Second Vatican Council,  Fr. Hans Küng, sadly recently compared HERE the Vatican’s current dictatorial procedures under this pope to that of Hitler’s Nazi regime.

Fr. Küng has also called upon all  Catholics to revolt from the Vatican hierarchy’s yoke, a call being heard worldwide, including in Ireland as reported HERE and also HERE.

And importantly, last week Fr. Küng, and over 50 other prominent lay and clerical, female and male Catholic theologians from many countries, issued an online Declaration on Authority in the Catholic Church, for eventual signing by numerous Catholics worldwide. The Declaration, which  serves as an excellent roadmap for the world’s Cardinals and bishops, sets forth a specific and detailed agenda for making the Catholic hierarchy accountable and for renewing the Church as indicated HERE.

Given (1) the recent media reports that the 85-year old pope’s health may now be declining considerably under the stress of the abuse scandal,  Vatileaks and numerous other scandals, (2) the new  appointments of Cardinals with no Italians among them, and (3) the announcement of a meeting in Rome to be held in a few months of all worldwide papal diplomats, the potential that very soon  a papal resignation and election of a new pope may occur only heightens the importance of this major independent reform initiative.

The reported Vatileaks revelations about the widespread corruption and incompetence of the usually secretive Vatican Cardinals have made it very clear, presumably even to fearful but prudent Cardinals worldwide, that the world’s Cardinals must elect a new reform pope who will rule collegially and transparently, otherwise all Cardinals risk being sucked down the priest child abuse sewer, and possibly even prosecuted, along with some corrupt and feuding Vatican Cardinals who have dismally failed for decades to clean up the child abuse mess. If the Gospels cannot move the world’s Cardinals to act, perhaps the prospect of doing some prison time may finally get them to pay attention and act. If they don’t think this could happen, they should talk to Cardinal Rigali, whom the pope removed from Philly last year, about his recently criminally convicted former subordinates, Bishop Finn and Monsignor Lynn! One must wonder whether Rigali is sleeping peacefully these days.

Are the Pope and U.S. Bishops  Subject to U. S. Law At Present?

While this rapidly escalating international Catholic reform effort and the Intenational Criminal Court investigation relentlessly move forward, the application of the rule of law to the Catholic hierarchy has also advanced significantly in the United States, especially in recent months. The pope at present, of course, still appears to control completely his U.S. Catholic hierarchy, as recently reported HERE.  Members of the U.S. hierarchy, however, have recently been increasingly subjected to American civil, criminal and bankruptcy laws, especially concerning criminal actions and civil liability related to hierarchical cover-ups of priest sexual abuse of defenseless children.

To date, also, more than a half dozen U.S. dioceses have filed for protection under Federal bankruptcy laws mainly due to the adverse financial impact of the abuse scandal, and many more are likely to follow, including possibly the major and venerable Archdiocese of Philadelphia (Philly), which had protected a pervasive pedophile priests’ paradise for decades. U.S. bishops have already spent billions of dollars directly related to priest sex abuse claims and lost billions more in discontinued contributions from the 30 million+  U.S. Catholics who have left the “official Church,” often out of disgust over the shameful priest child sex abuse cover up. At current trends, the pope, who saw his fatherland fall in 1945, must know it is only a matter of time, it appears, before the entire U.S. Catholic Church faces bankruptcy, depopulation and an end to the availability of priests. This bleak reality surely must have animated, if not motivated, this aging and pathetic pope to spend so much effort on the current U.S. presidential elections. Is it any wonder his health may be declining?

The pope’s long-time colleague in the Vatican bureaucracy, Philly’s shameful Cardinal Rigali, appears to be a central figure in these U.S. developments as reported HERE. Kansas City’s Bishop Finn, the first U.S. bishop criminally convicted of a child endangerment related crime in connection with his cover-up of his priest, Fr. Shawn Ratigan’s repeated child pornography activities, served under Rigali in St. Louis. Also, Monsignor Lynn, former Philly priest personnel chief, recently sentenced to six years in prison for failing to curtail activities of a Philly pedophile priest, had served for almost a decade until just last year as a top aide and pastor under Rigali.

Rigali himself, along with his successor, Archbishop Chaput, have just been sued for their alleged roles in covering-up for predatory Philly priests as reported HERE, while the cases of over a half dozen Philly priests identified by Rigali over 18 months ago as suspected child sexual predators still remain unresolved under Archbishop Chaput, with the suspects yet generally unsupervised. Meanwhile, Chaput and many of his fellow U. S. Catholic bishops rant regularly and predictably about the pope’s U.S. election year preferred wedge issues, contraception and gay marriage, while suspected priest predators remain at large.

The head of the U.S. bishops, New York’s Cardinal Dolan, the so-called “American Pope,” is also a St. Louis protege of Rigali’s. Dolan appears to be actively campaigning in Rome to be elected the next pope, presumably with Rigali’s backing. Dolan just appeared prominently with Romney and Obama at NY’s Al Smith Dinner

It is no surprise then that Rigali, Dolan, Chaput, et al. joined in 2009 with right-wing Republican ideologues at ManhattanDeclaration.org to make common cause apparently to dump Obama by using contraception and gay marriage as wedge issues to bring out docile and conservative Catholic voters. The Catholic hierarchy appears to understand fully the need to influence the top American political leaders, who select U.S. Supreme Court nominees, control legislative child protection agendas, oversee Federal prosecutors and direct U.S. diplomats. Cardinal Dolan has also had extensive and longtime contacts with Paul Ryan, whom Dolan described as a “friend” HERE.

The detailed evidence relating to Monsignor Lynn’s Philly conviction, now readily available to all at BishopAccountability.org, shows a decades-long pattern of extensive cover-ups by Cardinals Krol, Bevilacqua and Rigali of Philly predatory priests, often apparently with the acquiesence, if not at times possible collusion, of the Philly criminal justice system, at least until fairly recently.

The Kansas City prosecution of Bishop Finn also shows some stepped-up recent efforts of other local prosecutors, prodded apparently by the aggressive Federal prosecution by Obama’s Justice Department of Fr. Ratigan under Federal child pornography laws. At present, the Catholic hierachy are clearly increasingly feeling heat from American prosecutors.

These prosecutions present a major challenge for the Vatican in its current bleak legal and financial environment incompetently managed by  octogenerian and/or corrupt Vatican bureaucrats. It also makes it much more important for the Catholic hierarchy to secure maximum presidential political influence during the next four years to try to neutralize some of the anticipated legal and financial onslaughts likely facing the pope and the U.S. bishops.

As someone who for three decades as a Wall Street lawyer had counseled many senior executives at multinational corporations and organizations, I have little doubt that the recent criminal convictions of Bishop Finn and Monsignor Lynn have generated much fear, if not some panic, among Vatican bureaucrats and American bishops. Tellingly, the Catholic hierarchy has publicly said very little about these two convictions.

In my legal experience, there is nothing that gets the undivided attention of senior management faster than the criminal conviction of one of their own!

It also really puzzles me greatly that the worldwide bishops, especially voting Cardinals, seem so content to let their personal legal fates be controlled by corrupt and incompetent octogenerian Vatican bureaucats who may think they are too old to be prosecuted. They may practically be too old, but not all Cardinals and bishops worldwide are over 80 years of age!

What Is the Pope’s Strategy in the Current U. S. Election?

In the deteriorating legal and financial situation facing the pope and his bishops, the Vatican appears to have had only three options to try to protect itself:

(1) Ecclesiatically, to reform the hierarchy and priesthood by accepting transparency, accountability, collegiality and a larger priest candidate pool;

(2) Legally, to defend criminal prosecutions of members of the hierarchy vigorously by all available legal maneuvers regardless of expense; and/or

(3) Politically, by lobbying to block legislation that is aimed at predatory priests and their bishop protectors or that helps abuse survivors establish financial claims, and by supporting political candidates who may be willing to forestall prosecutions of predatory priests and their bishop protectors.

Ecclesiastically, the current pope, as well as his immediate predecessor, John Paul II, and their corrupt Vatican bureaucracy, evidentally decided decades ago against pursuing authentic and effective reforms. Collegiality and power sharing with the worldwide bishops has been virtually eliminated as the current seemingly pointless Synod makes abundantly clear. Bishops today behave like papal puppets mostly and are selected mainly for their demonstrated capacity for blind obedience to the Vatican.

Requiring mandatory reporting by bishops of all priest child abuse claims to the police and requiring comprehensive mandatory, transparent and independent audits of all worldwide bishops’ priest personnel files have both been flatly rejected by the Vatican.  Hence, the sexual abuse of innocent children by predatory priests protected by their bishops continues to be an ongoing and unending major problem for the Vatican.

Even taking steps to reduce the pressure on bishops to accept and retain suspected predatory priests has  been rejected by the Vatican by the papal refusal to consider adding married and women candidates to the potential priest pool.

Efforts to “buy” and transfer more foreign priests to deal with the priest shortages in many countries have also generally failed. Among other shortcomings, over 50 foreign Catholic priests that were assigned to the U.S. have fled to other countries to avoid potential prosecution for sexual abuse related crimes.

Streamlined canonical procedures to root out promptly “bad” priests are still mainly nonexistent as the documentary “Mea Maxima Culpa” so vividly but sadly shows. The recent exiling to Malta of the relatively effective, but woefully understaffed, Vatican prosecutor, Monsignor Scicluna, has just underscored this failure.

Instead of attempting to adopt real ecclesiastical reforms, the Vatican for several decades has concentrated almost exclusively on pursuing its legal and political options by hiring more lawyers and public relations firms, and lobbying powerful and pliable political leaders, who can be expected (1) to support laws that protect bishops and predatory priests from civil and criminal liability, and (2) to give more predatory priests and pedophile protecting bishops a prosecutorial pass. This strategy clearly appears to underlie the pope’s current U.S. election efforts.

Where Do the U.S. Presidential Candidates Fit Into the Pope’s Strategy?:

Barack Obama: It is clear Obama doesn’t fit into the pope’s strategy. Obama has already shown in Kansas City and at Penn State that he is getting more aggressive with sexual predators who abuse children. Given the pope’s ploys in the current U.S. presidential campaign to “resurrect” the 1968 papal condemnation of contraception and to incite anti-gay predjudice as part of a campaign to try to dump Obama, it is likely Obama in a second term will expand even more his efforts to combat child sexual abuse, including by priests and their bishop  abettors.

Mitt Romney: Romney’s hands-off position with respect to Boston’s Cardinal Law was discussed above.

As has been widely reported, Romney is a major financial contributor to the Mormon church and served for some years in a position in the Mormon church in Boston comparable in some respects to that of a Catholic bishop as reported HERE.

The U.S. Mormon church has had its own major and ongoing child sex abuse scandal as reported by a prominent abuse survivors’ lawyer, Kelly Clark HERE. The Mormon church has also been implicated in the recent Boy Scouts sex abuse scandals as  reported HERE.

Kelly Clark has been extensively involved as an attorney for years in pursuing child sex abuse claims against the Catholic Church, the Mormon church and the Boy Scouts. While he has some favorable comments about some recent Mormon efforts to curtail child sex abuse, he also notes the long-term suspicions of many Mormons of government intervention in their religious practices, as Mitt Romney’s grandparents and many other Mormons faced in the past. He notes some parallels between Catholic and Mormon church leaders’ preference for secrecy and for trying to avoid publicity relating to child abuse scandals that could embarass the Mormon church.

An interesting recent example of this is the involvement of the Mormon Utah Lieutenant Governor who recently appears to have gone to some efforts to neutralize the records of an audit related to a Mormon friend’s family child abuse case as reported HERE.

While it is impossible to project with certainty how Romney will handle Catholic Church priest abuse issues, it is likely he has some experience with the issues both from his Massachusetts and Boston experiences and his overall ongoing significant role in the Mormon church that seems much more amenable to the Catholic hierarchy’s approach than to Obama’s approach. Apparently, the pope and U.S. bishops are more willing to take their chances with Romney than with Obama, which in itself may be telling.

Conclusion: The pope and U.S. bishops appear clearly to be supporting Romney as part of their desperate survival strategy amidst a bleak and deteriorating Vatican legal and financial  situation. The Catholic hierarchy and their opportunistic “right to life” partners seem to care little about Romney’s clear record of support for abortion as reported HERE and also HERE.

Catholic voters will have to decide between Obama and Romney based on their records, not on their rhetoric or positions du jour, and certainly not on their records on women’s reproductive rights, neither of which conforms to the pope’s position. What seems abundantly clear is that Catholic voters should pay little, if any, attention to their hierachy’s voting directives, since the hierarchy appear more concerned with promoting their own self interest than with promoting the common good.

Personally, if all other things were equal, I would vote against Romney solely because the pope is backing him for reasons I suggest above.  But all other things are not equal.  Obama now has four years of presidential experience.  He has pulled the country out of a ditch left by Republicans, many of whom are Romney’s current collaborators.  Obama has the economy once again moving forward.  It is not a good time to change horses.

Based on my three decades’ experience  on Wall Street, I expect Romney, if elected, would look out mainly for himself and the top 0.1%.  His failure to release his tax returns is ominous. His failure to provide basic details of his tax plan is ominous. His constant flip-flopping is ominous. His views on women’s economic and health issues and on gay marriage are ominous.  He is, in my opinion, ominous.

On the specific issue of protecting children from priest rapists and their bishop abettors, I am certainly betting on Obama over Romney.

Cross-posted from Bilgrimage, 26 October 2012.

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