Saturday, September 29, 2012



ytc said...

Maybe you should change the "pro-choice" to "pro-murder" in your title. I've always preferred that phrase, as it's more accurate, I think.

Militia Immaculata said...

Father, certain parishioners of yours who insist on voting Democrat, no matter how much a given Democratic candidate goes against God and the Church, ought to hear this! Maybe it won't do any good, but you can't say their conscience won't be pricked.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I don't believe that the Church can order someone to vote period or to vote for a particular candidate. As in all things moral and done privately, the Church can only lead the sheep to water but can't make them drink, free will is important. But of course, when the sheep don't drink what the Church gives them that is a definitive act against God, but that act is as private is between them and God in this life and in the judgment to come.

did said...

finally a good Polish bishop giving an example! ;)

Anonymous 2 said...

I am unable to play this video on my computer for some reason but given the tenor of the comments, it seems to be directed in particular at those voters who may be considering voting for Democratic candidates. I assume, therefore, that this is Bishop Paprocki’s address on “Catholic Voters Are Morally Complicit When They Empower Intrinsically Evil Policies,” which I managed to find on YouTube.

I have already attempted to address the complexities involved in trying to vote according to a well-formed conscience in comments to earlier posts and I will not repeat all that here. I will simply refer to the USCCB Document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship":

I realize that some readers of this Blog have summarily dismissed this Document as being an irrelevancy produced by a weak and compromised body. That, I suppose, is their prerogative. However, I cannot in good conscience be so dismissive of the guidance provided by the hierarchy in the United States. As I read the Document, a Catholic could in good conscience vote for either a Republican or a Democrat. It would depend on the circumstances as well as the voter’s intention.

Readers who wish to take the USCCB Document seriously can make up their own minds how far Bishop Paprocki’s remarks reflect the collective views of his fellow Bishops (although the Document does seem to recognize a role for guidance by individual Bishops as well).

Anonymous said...

I've found this interesting:

"The Catholic Church does not tell Catholics to avoid all involvement in politics simply because there is injustice, greed, ambition, just to mention some of the evils involved. The Church teaches us that all our involvement in politics ought to be motivated, inspired, and directed by the Church’s social teachings, and in particular by the Social Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Voting, as well as involvement in political campaigns, must have as its ultimate motive these higher, supernatural principles, that the law of God, the Ten Commandments, and the rights of the one true Church be acknowledged publicly in society.

Manifestly, we are presently very far removed from achieving these aims. It does not mean that we should do nothing. It does mean, however, that whatever we do will necessarily involve the toleration of many evils, which we in no way desire or will. However, it can be permissible to tolerate the lesser of two evils for a proportionate reason, and such toleration can be for the common good, precisely because it is the lesser of two evils. Thus it is possible to vote or even campaign for a candidate whose platform contains evils with which we do not agree. Everything depends upon a hierarchy of the most important values and issues taking priority over lesser ones.

For a Catholic, there can be no doubt that the issues that take the highest priority must be the moral issues, and not personal or economic issues. The whole continuation of society as we know it depends upon this, and those who deny the most basic principles of the natural order are bringing about an unheard of perversion. Consequently, it is permissible and prudent to vote on the one single issue of proscribing abortion, or forbidding same-sex marriages, or putting an end to euthanasia, or freedom of the Catholic Church to run educational institutions. All of these issues are of the utmost importance. Consequently, it would be permissible and prudent to vote for a candidate who promotes an unjust war, on the basis of one or other of these issues. Consequently, it is likewise permissible to vote for a candidate who is known to be a Freemason, although Freemasonry is an evil society condemned by the Church and opposed to the Catholic Church, if he maintains an important principle of the natural law such as the evil of abortion.

Lesser issues are also of moral importance, such as the justice or injustice of a particular war, or the paying of a just wage to employees, maintaining the right to private property by limiting government intervention, and so on. All other things being equal, one could vote on the basis of such issues. However, it would be wrong to vote for a candidate who has a correct position on one of these issues, but a perverse and wrong position on a more important issue.

Consequently, it would be manifestly immoral and sinful to vote for a candidate who pretends to be Catholic, but who in fact is pro-abortion, pro-gay, or pro-euthanasia.

Voting in local and national elections can only be considered a moral obligation when the candidates propose a solidly Catholic, non-liberal platform that truly promotes the Social Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not obligatory to vote for a lesser evil, but simply prudent and permissible. However, it would certainly be obligatory to use the democratic process in place in the unlikely event that it could be used to introduce Catholic candidates who do not accept the propaganda of modern liberal democracy."

Anonymous 2 said...


The text you quote is indeed interesting. However, what text is it? It does not seem to come from the USCCB Document on “Faithful Citizenship.” Is it another, later document issued by the USCCB? Or is it from another source? It would be helpful to know that.

On the issues addressed by the text you quote, “Faithful Citizenship” contains the following pertinent passages:

“34. Catholics often face difficult choices about how to vote. This is why it is so important to vote according to a well-formed conscience that perceives the proper relationship among moral goods. A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. In such cases a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil. At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity.

35. There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences or to ignore a fundamental moral evil.

36. When all candidates hold a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, the conscientious voter faces a dilemma. The voter may decide to take the extraordinary step of not voting for any candidate or, after careful deliberation, may decide to vote for the candidate deemed less likely to advance such a morally flawed position and more likely to pursue other authentic human goods.

37. In making these decisions, it is essential for Catholics to be guided by a well-formed conscience that recognizes that all issues do not carry the same moral weight and that the moral obligation to oppose intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on our consciences and our actions. These decisions should take into account a candidate’s commitments, character, integrity, and ability to influence a given issue. In the end, this is a decision to be made by each Catholic guided by a conscience formed by Catholic moral teaching.

38. It is important to be clear that the political choices faced by citizens not only have an impact on general peace and prosperity but also may affect the individual’s salvation. . . .

42. As Catholics we are not single-issue voters. A candidate’s position on a single issue is not sufficient to guarantee a voter’s support. Yet a candidate’s position on a single issue that involves an intrinsic evil, such as support for legal abortion or the promotion of racism, may legitimately lead a voter to disqualify a candidate from receiving support.”


Anonymous 2 said...

Although there is considerable overlap between the two texts, the text you quote overlooks important nuances in the “Faithful Citizenship” Document. Thus your text states that “it would be wrong to vote for a candidate who has a correct position on one of these [lesser] issues, but a perverse and wrong position on a more important issue [such as abortion].” The position in Sections 34 and 35 of “Faithful Citizenship” appears to be different, however, in particular because it makes the issue of formal cooperation with evil dependent on the voter’s intent in voting for a candidate who, for example, supports abortion rights. Moreover, Section 37 suggests that the voter should also take into account a candidate’s “ability to influence a given issue.” Thus, for example, although a President Obama may want to nominate a pro-choice candidate to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, his ability to do so successfully would be significantly constrained if that choice could be blocked in the Senate, in which case presumably he would have to nominate someone more acceptable to the Senate. In this example, then, the projected composition of the Senate is arguably relevant in determining the vote for President. In sum, in addition to the voter’s intent, the totality of the circumstances can also be taken into account.

My goal here is not to urge anyone to vote in a particular way but to try to understand the precise nature of the Bishops’ guidance in “Faithful Citizenship.” I am trying to do this because as a Catholic I feel an obligation to pay attention to what the hierarchy is telling us. As I read and try to apply “Faithful Citizenship” to the upcoming election, they seem to be suggesting that “a well-formed conscience” may involve more than “Obama and Biden support abortion rights; therefore I am FORBIDDEN to vote for them” (as opposed to “therefore I am PERMITTED not to vote for them based on that issue alone.”). Under certain circumstances it seems that a Catholic may be permitted to vote for Obama and Biden despite their support for abortion rights.

If my reading and analysis are incorrect and/or if “Faithful Citizenship” has been superseded, I trust that this will be pointed out.