.- In an exclusive interview with the Catholic Digest, presidential candidate Senator John Kerry and President George W. Bush each gave specific reasons they believe Catholics should vote for them.
Each candidate zeroed in on important areas for Catholics. Whereas Bush argued from the standpoint of the culture of life, Kerry based his reasons on the social teachings of the Church.
Bush said he believed that a review of his record would show that he supports “the same values and policies that have been at the heart of Catholic life in America: protecting life, defending human dignity, promoting policies that support marriages and families, and compassion for a neighbor in need.”
He pointed out that he signed the Partial Birth Abortion Act, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act Unborn Victims of Violence Act and the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. His administration also implemented the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which provides health coverage for prenatal care and delivery to mothers, he underlined. He would continue to support crisis pregnancy centers, adoption incentives, and parental notification laws.
“I am working to build a culture of life because every person, no matter how frail or vulnerable, young or elderly, is a blessing,” he told the Catholic Digest. He said he supports a total ban on euthanasia and human cloning because “human life is not a commodity, and I do not believe that it should be created for the sole purpose of destroying it.”
Bush said he also supports a constitutional amendment to preserve the sanctity of marriage.
The President observed that “something positive is happening in America.” He has noted that many people in his travels throughout the country have told him that they are praying for him – something that was not very common only four years ago.Kerry responds
Senator John Kerry took a different tact, underlining the “long and rich history of Catholic social teaching [which] calls us to seek a new kind of politics, one that is focused on moral principles, the needs of the poor and vulnerable and the pursuit of the common good.”
He told the Catholic Digest that as president he would provide leadership that will embrace the common good.
Kerry referred to the war in Iraq and the continuing financial stresses that American middle class families are being placed under, due to declining incomes and cost-of-living increases, especially with regard to education, health care, and energy.
“President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney believe that more wealth for the most fortunate will somehow lead to success for everyone else. We believe that America always does best when all Americans have the opportunity to do well,” he said, adding that a government under his leadership would not raise taxes for the middle class.
Kerry said his plan “is rooted in the values Catholics know well: freedom, family, work; opportunity, equality, responsibility; love of country and faith. It reflects certain unshakable principles: that all Americans deserve an equal chance to rise as high and go as far as their hard work and God-given talents can take them; that America's strength and security depend on our ability to be true to America's values – at home and abroad; that war should be the last resort, not the first, in the use of American power; and that government has a limited but essential role in American life, beginning with the safety of our people.”
Kerry recognized that the things Americans believe “are the values our parents and faith taught us, and the lessons America gave – that freedom is sacred, and opportunity must be shared; that responsibility brings strength, and trust requires truth; that faith is a comfort, and service a blessing.”