.- The former editor of the National Catholic Register, Francis X. Maier, says millions of Democrats across the country voted Republican in the last presidential election because they did not recognize in the party the traditional values, for which it once stood. His comment was published recently in the Rocky Mountain News of Colorado. Currently chancellor of the Archdiocese of Denver, Maier draws on the lived experience of his wife and her family, for whom “being a Catholic meant being a Democrat, and being a Democrat meant fighting for the poor, the homeless, racial and ethnic minorities, the unemployed,” and the unborn.
However, he says, she hasn’t voted for a major Democratic candidate in more than 25 years.
Maier admits that he and his wife, who have a disabled son, have struggled many times with the choice of voting Democratic since Roe vs. Wade, especially since “Democratic policies often benefit the disabled in ways Republican policies don’t.”
However, abortion is an overriding issue, he adds. “No matter how much good we try to do, we can’t outrun the effects of that most intimate form of violence against women and children,” he says. “Not so long ago, leading Democrats understood this.”
Maier, regarded as an acute Catholic analyst in the U.S., points to former Pennsylvania governor Robert P. Casey as a politician who “embodied the deepest ideals of the Democratic Party: pro-worker; pro-minority; pro-economic and social justice; and also thoroughly pro-life, from conception to natural death.”
“For his candor, the Clinton machine publicly humiliated him at the 1992 Democratic Convention,” says Maier, while fellow Catholic Democrats looked the other way.
Maier states that “hundreds of thousands of traditional Democrats, barred from any real voice in the party, have simply left.”
Maier also cites Casey’s 1996 autobiography, in which the late governor warned that abortion and other sociocultural issues “are central to the resurgence of the Republicans, central to the national implosion of the Democrats, central to the question of whether there will be a third party.
“[The] Democrats’ national decline – or, better, their national disintegration – will continue relentlessly and inexorably until they come to grips with these values issues, primarily abortion,” Casey wrote.