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‘Nice Catholic boys’ Kaine and Pence

Mike_Pence_(16662788636)

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 08/14/16

An interesting comparison of the two men running for vice president, from retired sociology professor William F. Powers:

 Notwithstanding numerous similarities, Tim Kaine and Mike Pence are political and religious polar opposites. How can these two “nice Catholic boys” have turned out so differently? It stems from the differing understanding that these men – and millions of others – have of three overlapping questions: l) How should we relate to Jesus Christ? 2) What determines moral behavior? 3) What should a church teach about Jesus and about moral conduct? For Pence and others who identify themselves as evangelicals, Jesus is “Lord and Savior,” to be honored, worshiped, praised and loved. Being a Christian entails a deeply felt attachment to the person of Jesus. On the other hand, for Kaine and what might be called “liberal” Christians, Jesus is someone who points not so much to himself as to our neighbor, especially the poor. Jesus does not want his followers to cling to him but to serve others. As for issues such as abortion, homosexuality and capital punishment, conservatives see morality as absolute, unchanging. Abortion is murder. Period. Case closed. Homosexual behavior is against God’s law. Case closed. There is no wiggle room; no compromise is possible.Liberals, on the other hand, see moral understanding as evolving…Paradoxically, for Mike Pence, the church of his upbringing is too liberal, and for Tim Kaine, it is too conservative. Pence doesn’t find in the Catholic Church the deep attachment to Jesus, the warm embrace of fellow believers and the rich love for the Bible that he encounters in an evangelical congregation. On the other hand, while Tim Kaine continues to love the church of his childhood and to worship faithfully in a Catholic parish, he has been criticized publicly by several Catholic bishops for his positions on abortion and homosexual marriage. As the journey to Election Day continues, two men who attended parochial schools, attended Mass regularly, prayed the Rosary, went to confession and were confirmed as Catholics look across not only a substantial political divide, but a religious gulf as well.
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