Seamless Garment or Political Comforter? by Michael M. Uhlmann

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By Michael M. Uhlmann, Crisis Magazine, March 20, 2020

Editor’s note: this article first appeared in the June 2004 print edition of Crisis Magazine.

Michael Martin Uhlmann (born 1939) is currently Professor of government in the department of politics and policy at Claremont Graduate University and Claremont McKenna College. ..

Michael M. UhlmannIn the 1970’s, the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin and his episcopal allies advanced the notion that Catholic politicians should not be judged only, or even primarily, by their position on abortion. Abortion was merely one strand in a rich and finely woven “seamless garment” of Catholic social teaching in defense of life. Numerous other issues, the bishops said, ought to be considered.

In a recent editorial promoting the seamless-garment thesis, the National Catholic Reporter provided its list of “other” issues, which included “war and peace, immigration, tax cuts, housing, the death penalty, economic justice, welfare reform, the federal deficit, civil liberties, education, health care, crime, and on and on.” How fox hunting failed to make the list, I do not know, but the idea seems to be that a good Catholic is a liberal Democrat. That was surely not the bishops’ intention in the 1970s, but many have drawn just that inference.  ….

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