Father Thomas Williams has an article at NRO on the statement by 55 Catholic Democrats:
More “progressive” Catholics have often had recourse to the image of “big tent” Catholicism, appealing for a broader acceptance of heterodox opinions within the Church. The image is apt, in that Catholicism does embrace a rich and varied array of opinions, emphases, schools of thought, theologies, spiritualities, and apostolates. At the same time, even the most enormous of tents has its boundaries, beyond which it is possible to stray. The statement makes a feeble attempt at defending the claim that the “big tent” of Catholicism can cover abortion.
That is a tough case to make. Just as you don’t have the polytheistic wing of Islam or the seal-clubbing wing of Greenpeace, you don’t have the pro-abortion wing of the Catholic Church. Certain non-negotiable moral standards define Catholicism just as surely as doctrinal beliefs do. We all advocate a big tent, but it can stretch only so far until it rips asunder.
Now that is a great analogy "the seal-clubbing wing of Greenpeace." You instantly know it is ridiculous, if only this same reaction would be understood by all when the pro-abortion wing of the Catholic Church was mentioned.
To justify their position, the authors of the statement appeal to the so-called “primacy of conscience.” Yet conscience is not a pass to excuse wrongdoing. Would it make any difference if a serial killer claimed he was following his conscience when he murdered his victims? Even if the politicians are following their conscience, Catholic morality makes an important distinction between good conscience and bad conscience, and a conscience that sees nothing wrong with killing the innocent falls decidedly in the second category. Our first duty concerning conscience is to form it according to the moral law, and especially for a Catholic, no doubt can exist regarding the objective evil of abortion.
True, the statement acknowledges the “undesirability” of abortion, and the signers hasten to assure their constituencies that they do not “celebrate its practice.” That they do not “celebrate” the greatest social ill of our time may prove cold comfort to those who spend much of their free time actively campaigning for its abolition. And as regards its “undesirability,” this poorly chosen term will likely provoke only indignation. Hangnails are undesirable; under-seasoned salads are undesirable; lines at the cash register are undesirable. Abortion is repugnant and evil. Can you imagine a politician stepping forward and (with much hand-wringing) asserting that he finds rape “undesirable” and that he does not “celebrate” its practice, but that he will not stop defending legislation that permits it? Such a politician would rightly be ridden out of town on a rail.
I would like to make a counterproposal. Rather than asking Catholicism to embrace its antithesis, why not forge a true “big tent” Democratic party where all are welcome, even those who are pro-life? Better yet, why not return to that noble strain of politics that prided itself on its defence of the most vulnerable members of society? Why not forego the precious support of abortion power-brokers and rediscover the roots of the Democratic party? No number of “historic” statements could match the impact of a lived commitment to true social justice.
He also mentions how even a big tent has a boundary that you can go beyond. Of course the big tent analogy has not just been used by the Democrat, but as an excuse by Moloch loving Republicans. The tents they refer to are a three ringed circus with performers from NARAL, PP, and EMILY’s List.
There is another good article at Marcator.net by Michael Cook on the subject that starts with:
One politician standing firm on his conscience is a miracle. Fifty-five standing firm on their consciences is a publicity stunt. That may seem a bit harsh, but it is the only explanation for why 55 Catholic Democrats in the US House of Representatives have issued what they described as an historic statement of principles.