An American Bishop on the Democrat Convention, intrinsic evil, and voting wisely as a Catholic

In The Catholic Times, the newspaper of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois with my emphases and comments:

Think and pray about your vote in upcoming election
by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

Much attention was given at the Democratic National Convention held recently in Charlotte, N.C., to the fact that all references to God had been purged from the draft version of the party platform. After outcries of protest from outside as well as within the Democratic Party, the sentence with the same reference to God used in 2008 was restored to read, “We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.”

Before anyone relaxes and concludes that all is well now that the Democratic Party Platform contains a single passing reference to God, [thus throwing God a little handful of dirt.] the way that this was done should give us pause. Convention chairman Antonio Villaraigosa had to call for the voice vote three times because each time the sound level for the “ayes” and the “nays” sounded about even, far short of the two-thirds necessary according to convention rules to amend the platform. That did not stop the convention chairman from declaring, “The ayes have it!” [Goat rodeo.]

What is troubling about that is the blatant disregard for the rules and for the apparent wishes of about half the delegates. The reference to God is back in the platform apparently because President Obama wanted it back in.  [No doubt because of his deep belief in God.] That may be fine for now, but if a future president wants references to God taken out, apparently that can be done regardless of the wishes of the delegates if that is what The Leader wants. That does not bode well for democracy in the Democratic Party. [That's about right.  That is also where the whole country is headed, more quickly, if such leaders remain in power.  But wait!  There's more...]

Even more troubling is that this whole discussion about God in the platform is a distraction from more disturbing matters that have been included in the platform. In 1992 Presidential candidate Bill Clinton famously said that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.That was the party’s official position until 2008. Apparently “rare” is so last century that it had to be dropped, because now the Democratic Party Platform says that abortion should be “safe and legal.” [And they know that Planned Parenthood doesn't want it to be rare... and neither, really, do many of the queenpins of that party.] Moreover the Democratic Party Platform supports the right to abortion “regardless of the ability to pay.[Ergooooo.....] Well, there are only three ways for that to happen: either taxpayers will be required to fund abortion, or insurance companies will be required to pay for them (as they are now required to pay for contraception), or hospitals will be forced to perform them for free.  [Which do you think will be the case?]

Moreover, the Democratic Party Platform also supports same-sex marriage, recognizes that “gay rights are human rights,” [This is NOT... NOT... a civil or human rights issue!] and calls for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law signed by President Clinton in 1996 that defined marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman.  [Which The First Gay President refuses to enforce.]

Now, why am I mentioning these matters in the Democratic Party Platform? There are many positive and beneficial planks in the Democratic Party Platform, but I am pointing out those that explicitly endorse intrinsic evils. [LibDems are, right now, having a nutty with little flecks of spit jetting from the corners of their mouths to either side of their monitors as they prepare to label Bp. Paprocki, and me, a Republican partisan. BUT...] My job is not to tell you for whom you should vote. But I do have a duty to speak out on moral issues. I would be abdicating this duty if I remained silent out of fear of sounding “political” and didn’t say anything about the morality of these issues. [NB:]People of faith object to these platform positions that promote serious sins. I know that the Democratic Party’s official “unequivocal” support for abortion is deeply troubling to pro-life Democrats.

So what about the Republicans? I have read the Republican Party Platform and there is nothing in it that supports or promotes an intrinsic evil or a serious sin. [Get that?  We can disagree about the best ways to solve many burning social issues, but we cannot support things that are intrinsically evil.] The Republican Party Platform does say that courts “should have the option of imposing the death penalty in capital murder cases.” But the Catechism of the Catholic Church says (in paragraph 2267), “Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person. Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm — without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself — the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.”

One might argue for different methods in the platform to address the needs of the poor, to feed the hungry and to solve the challenges of immigration, but these are prudential judgments about the most effective means of achieving morally desirable ends, not intrinsic evils.  [LibDems, read that again slowly.]

Certainly there are “pro-choice” Republicans who support abortion rights and “Log Cabin Republicans” who promote same-sex marriage, and they are equally as wrong as their Democratic counterparts. But these positions do not have [NB] the official support of their party.

Again, I am not telling you which party or which candidates to vote for or against, but I am saying that you need to think and pray very carefully about your vote, because a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.  [I will add that I think that it is better to vote than not to vote in this election.]

I pray that God will give you the wisdom and guidance to make the morally right choices.

May God give us this grace. Amen.

WDTPRS kudos to Bp. Paprocki.

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115 Responses to An American Bishop on the Democrat Convention, intrinsic evil, and voting wisely as a Catholic

  1. wmeyer says:

    Thanks be to God! A bishop who recognizes that he can speak to moral issues on their face, and not run afoul of the proscription on telling for whom to vote. And cites the CCC, into the bargain.

    However, good as his statement is, I think there are a great many Catholics who might do well to be reminded of CCC 2271-2273, to clear up their confusions on abortion.

  2. Supertradmum says:

    Excellent and clear. However, across the river, I can assure you Catholics are hearing the opposite. The bishops should speak with one voice, the voice of Rome.

  3. The Masked Chicken says:

    “However, good as his statement is, I think there are a great many Catholics who might do well to be reminded of CCC 2271-2273, to clear up their confusions on abortion.”

    Confusion about abortion? Are their really Catholics so uninformed, even from television, who don’t know the Churches position on abortion? What they don’t understand is the concept of intrinsic evil and that is, in part, because things have been so relativized over the past 50 years that allsins look the same.

    The Chicken

  4. The Masked Chicken says:

    Should be “Church’s” and “all sins”. I’m not even using an iPad ;)

  5. wmeyer says:

    Chicken, I know that there are some who think even abortion is a matter of conscience. 40+ years of poor to nonexistent catechesis. I spent two years in RCIA, and no catechist there even mentioned the CCC, much less taught from it.

  6. frjim4321 says:

    Would that one of our esteemed hierarchs be equally concerned about the rampant disenfranchisement of many, particularly the working poor, with respect to the 2012 general election.

    Voter suppression is well underway in many of the states as quite well indicated here:

    http[COLON, SLASH SLASH]www[DOT]aclu[DOT]org/maps/battle-protect-ballot-voter-suppression-measures-passed-2011

  7. Supertradmum says:

    Voter suppression involves Obadman’s new rules curtailing military overseas votes, mostly conservative.

  8. Clinton says:

    His Excellency is absolutely right, and I’m not sure how an honest man could disagree with
    him. As Dr. Maturin would say, “Sure and it deserves to be written in letters of gold”.

    I do have one (minor) quibble. His Excellency states the fact that the Democrats support the
    ‘right’ to abortion “regardless of the ability to pay”. He then explains that such can only happen
    one of three ways: 1) taxpayers pay for them, 2) insurance companies pay for them, or
    3) hospitals do them for free. I would point out that options #2 and #3 are only variations on
    option #1, because both the insurance companies and the hospitals will be passing their costs
    onto the taxpaying public. However it is dressed up, the Democrat’s platform would use the
    force of law to compel us all to subsidize abortions.

  9. Scott W. says:

    I’m sorry. Which party formally endorses voter suppression as part of their platform?

  10. JuliB says:

    And in the nearby IL Diocese of Joliet, a Naperville/Plainfield church has the weekly pastor’s column in which he states he doesn’t care which way anyone votes.

    He’s a democrat, of course. I could barely skim the column, but I didn’t see abortion mentioned anywhere. This is my geographical parish, but I attend elsewhere. And it’s one of the largest in the diocese, if not the state.

  11. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:

    Would that one of our esteemed hierarchs be equally concerned about the rampant disenfranchisement of many, particularly the working poor, with respect to the 2012 general election.

    What do you propose should be done about it?

  12. Clinton says:

    I recognize that Fr. Z’s original post concerned the Democrat’s embrace of intrinsic evil, but
    now the topic of voter disenfranchisement has been brought up in the comments. At the
    risk of traipsing down a rabbit hole, I’d like to make one observation on that topic. As near
    as I can tell, the ACLU has had no objection to the requirement for ID to purchase alcohol,
    to apply for government benefits, to obtain a marriage license, to get a library card, to cash a
    check, to purchase groceries by check, to withdraw cash from one’s own bank, to enter a bar,
    to fly on an airplane, or to operate a motor vehicle. Yet the commonsense requirement that
    a voter should be able to prove his identity with an ID is ‘voter suppression’ ? It is to laugh.

    I await my chastisement for contributing to the rabbit-hole.

  13. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:

    Voter suppression is well underway in many of the states.

    So you prefer having non citizens vote?

  14. wmeyer says:

    Would that one of our esteemed hierarchs be equally concerned about the rampant disenfranchisement of many, particularly the working poor, with respect to the 2012 general election.

    I’m sure you recall the suppression of white voters by black intimidation, the cases the Obama Administration elected not to prosecute? Equality is a funny thing: it doesn’t survive selective enforcement.

  15. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Reverend Father,

    Vote suppression may be considered an evil in a democracy, since it is essential to a democracy that “the people” who have the franchise exercise it.

    With Father Zuhlsdorf’s indulgence, I put to you some questions which I think need a fuller treatment, given that you raise the question of voter suppression.

    1) Who, in any given democracy, should have the franchise?

    2) Are there any grounds on which to restrict the franchise? In other words, is it required by the moral law or by American law that non-citizens be permitted to vote? Perhaps non-citizens with “green cards”, or nationals of another country who arrive in time to register to vote? Should the deceased be allowed to vote? Should the unborn? Should those under 18 (or 21, or some other arbitrary measure of adulthood) be allowed to vote? What about those who have already voted?

    3) Is it possible for an individual to forfeit the franchise if he has once had it?

    I’m not trying to be uncharitable (or what is, I think, called being “snarky”). I think you would agree that it is possible to put limitations on who can (or, by extension, can not) vote. Therefore, I hope that, with reference to the moral law or to American law you can help me understand which limitations (or, perhaps, suppressions) of the franchise are allowed or not allowed. If you make delineations of a philosophical nature, I hope you will explain clearly why one group is excluded, while another group is included.

    In the end, abortion is a moral evil, which can never be justified (honestly). The death penalty, like the use of altar girls, is permitted in some circumstances. Assisting the poor in their need is not merely permitted, but required.

    Where does “voter suppression” fit, once we have a clear definition of what it is?

    Thank you for your priesthood,

    Chris

  16. frjim4321 says:

    Voter suppression involves Obadman’s new rules curtailing military overseas votes, mostly conservative.

    False.

    The administration holds that the same rules should apply to all, and that no class of voter deserves special privileges. In other words if exceptions can be extended to the military they can be easily extended to all.

  17. frjim4321 says:

    I’m sorry. Which party formally endorses voter suppression as part of their platform?

    Neither.

    But if it quacks like a duck . . .

  18. frjim4321 says:

    What do you propose should be done about it?

    They make statements about everything else, why not voter suppression?

  19. frjim4321 says:

    So you prefer having non citizens vote?

    A myth as proven so by the DOJ under Junior.

  20. wmeyer says:

    But if it quacks like a duck . . .

    Then it would be the party of abortion.

  21. frjim4321 says:

    I’m sure you recall the suppression of white voters by black intimidation, the cases the Obama Administration elected not to prosecute? Equality is a funny thing: it doesn’t survive selective enforcement.

    Nope haven’t heard about it.

    Source??

  22. frjim4321 says:

    I think you would agree that it is possible to put limitations on who can (or, by extension, can not vote.

    Certainly not beyond the limits defined by the Constitution.

  23. frjim4321 says:

    Then it would be the party of abortion.

    Which has nothing to do with voter suppression.

  24. AnAmericanMother says:

    The administration holds that the same rules should apply to all, and that no class of voter deserves special privileges. In other words if exceptions can be extended to the military they can be easily extended to all.
    False. There is no other general class of voter (other than federal prisoners) which has been involuntarily removed from access to the polls by the federal government itself.
    Having put military personnel into the position of being posted overseas and thus unable to vote, the government is obligated to ameliorate that harm. And voting has been expedited for American overseas personnel at least since WWI.
    The administration (as usual) has no memory beyond “what I want” and very little knowledge of the law (you realize of course that its head was no “constitutional law professor” but merely an adjunct instructor who rarely showed up for work? Heck, I was an adjunct instructor for many more years than the president, but I don’t pretend that it gives me any special qualification or knowledge of the law.)

  25. Midwest St. Michael says:

    “Would that one of our esteemed hierarchs be equally concerned about the rampant disenfranchisement of many, particularly the working poor, with respect to the 2012 general election.”

    “The working poor” were at least allowed to be born, yes? (however unfortunate their given plights)

    As if the USCCB has *not been* trying to do someting for the “working poor” (and their right to vote… as legal U.S. citizens) since Roe v Wade?

    To the point that programs like CCHD and now CRS were found to be *giving monies* (Catholic money) for abortion!

    Oh! I get it. Let’s kill em’ off before they have the unfortunate situation of being poor and no voter rights.

    Good grief.

    It’s like saying the German bishops in the 30′s and 40′s should have been just as concerned with starving minorities as much as being concerned with those unfortunate extermination camps.

    Do the two carry the same moral weight?

    I don’t think so.

    “The inviolability of the person which is a reflection of the absolute inviolability of God, fínds its primary and fundamental expression in the inviolability of human life. Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights-for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture- is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.” (Christifideles Laici 38)

    MSM

  26. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:

    So you prefer having non citizens vote?

    A myth as proven so by the DOJ under Junior.

    Actually, there were convictions. With all the undocumented aliens in the US, it makes sense to be conscious of the problem invalid registration.

    My concern, however, is not over not citizens voting. Rather, it is creative ballot counting in big cities.

  27. AnAmericanMother says:

    frjim,
    You must have been living under a rock not to have heard about the threats against white voters by armed members of the “New Black Panthers” outside a polling place in Philadelphia.
    The “Justice” department actually had obtained judgment against the perps for civil rights violations but dropped the case at the instigation of the AG. Two attorneys in Justice resigned over the dismissal and over the AG’s statement that Justice would not prosecute any such cases.
    Attorneys name were Christian Adams and Christopher Coates.
    A Democratic pollwatcher and civil rights lawyer who witnessed the conduct said it was the most blatant case of voter intimidation he had ever seen.

  28. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:

    I think you would agree that it is possible to put limitations on who can (or, by extension, can not vote.

    Certainly not beyond the limits defined by the Constitution.

    What do you consider to be beyond the limits?

  29. frjim4321 says:

    Attorneys name were Christian Adams and Christopher Coates.
    A Democratic pollwatcher and civil rights lawyer who witnessed the conduct said it was the most blatant case of voter intimidation he had ever seen.

    I’ll look into it and see what I can find from an unbiased source.

  30. Sissy says:

    frjim4321 said: “I’ll look into it and see what I can find from an unbiased source.”

    It’s on video, Father Jim. The black panther brandishes a billy club at a senior citizen. Christian Adams was a non-political appointee State’s Attorney at DOJ. That’s pretty unbiased.

  31. aragonjohn7 says:

    Finally someone has followed St. Bellarmines and several of the founding fathers advise without me havin to tell em bout the matter and circumstance

  32. frjim4321 says:

    As I said I will look into it.

    Was there a link with that?

    Seems to me the preeminent moral issue pertaining to this election is that it is a fair election. If it is not a fair election nothing else really matters.

    And my point above was I don’t see any members of the usccb issuing any statements pertaining to the historic voter suppression of 2012.

    Frankly at this point (sadly) it seems the only way Romney can succeed is by robbing people of their voting rights. Thus we see an increase of efforts to do so.

  33. Sissy says:

    Father Jim, you’ve alluded to “historic voter suppression of 2012″ before, but I honestly don’t know what you mean. The Supreme Court has already ruled that voter id laws, in general, do not constitute voter suppression. A UT study found that practically no one in the state of Texas was without
    state-issued ID of some kind – something upwards of 90% of residents, even illegal aliens, had them. I don’t understand how identifying oneself in order to vote is suppression. I’m asked to produce photo ID to use my credit card at the market half the time these days. You have to produce photo id to enter the DOJ. Is there some other problem that has you concerned?

  34. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:

    Frankly at this point (sadly) it seems the only way Romney can succeed is by robbing people of their voting rights. Thus we see an increase of efforts to do so.

    And how are people being robbed of their voting rights?

  35. robtbrown says:

    Sissy says:

    A UT study found that practically no one in the state of Texas was without state-issued ID of some kind – something upwards of 90% of residents, even illegal aliens, had them. I don’t understand how identifying oneself in order to vote is suppression. I’m asked to produce photo ID to use my credit card at the market half the time these days. You have to produce photo id to enter the DOJ. Is there some other problem that has you concerned?

    I was born in this town, was gone for years, but have come to know many people here since I returned from Rome. My father was on the city commission and later was mayor. He knew Bob Dole and Colin Powell.

    When I voted in the primary a few weeks ago, I was asked for a photo ID. Little did I know that it was part of a plan by Kris Kobach to rob me of my constitutional rights.

    And then today I went to the VA hospital to get a prescription. I couldn’t believe it when they asked for my VA photo ID. It was then I understood what it was like to have been in the Gulag.

  36. Giuseppe says:

    I cannot speak on behalf of FrJim4321 re. all states, but I am familiar with Pennsylvania. The little old lady who doesn’t drive but whom everyone knows in the neighborhood cannot vote at her local polling station unless she has a valid ID with expiration date. Her social security card doesn’t work. Not a credit card with her name. Not a valid Pennsylvania birth certificate (it hasn’t expired yet, otherwise it would be a death certificate). Not any work IDs. Not utility bills with her name and address. Not even a property tax bill. Not any combination of the above. She has to get to the DMV to get a non-drivers licence with an expiration date just to vote.

    It’s not quite suppression, but it places the bar high for some. This law was pushed by the Republican Speaker of the House as a way to increase the chance that President Obama would lose in Pennsylvania. (He’s now up by 9.)

    The law has left a bad taste in the mouth of many. Fortunately, many church groups (on both sides) are actively trying to get as many people the ID and paying transportation fees for them to get to a DMV. Regardless of what you think about national parties, I do hope there is a massive voter rebellion against the Pennsylvania Republican legislature in the next elections.

    The law has been sent back to a district court from the state supreme court, and it will probably be found unconstitutional. But I suspect it will have discouraged many from even trying to get to the polls. (I know, I know, if it were important to them to vote, they would have walked uphill in the snow 7 miles each way…)

  37. Clinton says:

    His Excellency the Bishop of Springfield has written a letter outlining the indisputable fact
    that of the two major parties in this election, one has a platform explicitly advocating
    intrinsic evils– abortion and same-sex ‘marriage’. His Excellency also reminds us that “…a vote
    for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely
    sinful makes you morally complicit and places the salvation of your own soul in serious
    jeopardy.”

    Frjim4321 has distracted the thread with an unrelated topic, so-called ‘voter suppression’. I’ve
    even chased the hare he started, mea culpa. But neither he nor any other pro-Democrat
    present has written a sensible refutation of His Excellency’s column. I believe that’s because
    a sensible refutation doesn’t exist. We can quibble about so-called ‘voter suppression’ ’til the
    cows come home, and it won’t change the truth of what the good Bishop wrote.

  38. That’s my bishop! What a shepherd!… I hope he doesn’t move to an Archdiocese soon, but with pieces like this, he’s bound for bigger flocks, I think.

  39. frjim4321 says:

    That’s my bishop! What a shepherd!… I hope he doesn’t move to an Archdiocese soon, but with pieces like this, he’s bound for bigger flocks, I think.

    Yup, think you are right.

  40. RichR says:

    I love the last part about imperiling your soul by voting pro-choice candidates into office. On our Particular Judgement Days, I doubt God will be as concerned about voter suppression compared to the massive slaughter of the innocents on our watch as Americans. The good bishop is reminding us of a hierarchy of evils. Murder is pretty tops, and I’d hate to have to try to justify my support for that to the Almighty.

  41. Sir Robert says:

    WooHoo! This is my first post as a member of Fr. Z’s blog following.
    Anyway, it is good finally to see a bishop with some muscle. Enough is enough already. The lines have been drawn, diplomacy has to be suspended FOR NOW. The main goal is to get the current administration out for the sake of unborn life, marriage, and the soul of our country. We are dead meat with regards to the economy for a while people…if we are going to sink, let’s sink with our souls in tact!

  42. Cantor says:

    Fr Jim – Most states also require a valid government ID to purchase alcoholic beverages and I’ve not seen the enormous outcry there.

    If these self-same unidentified folks can manage to register and subsequently find their way to a polling station to vote, often several times a year, it seems they could find their way to get a valid ID renewed every 10 years or so.

    Perhaps this is all a sidestep in the first place. Older citizens often tend to vote more conservatively, so all the folderol is more to gum up the works than see the teachings of the Catholic Church reflected through its voting members.

  43. Mike Morrow says:

    Has anyone considered the very real likelihood that frtroll4321 may not be that which he represents himself to be…???

    There’s justification to call for some sort of verified ID before someone lacking the courage to post his real name is allowed to claim status as a priest, especially when all positions taken by that made-up user-name are antithetical to Catholicism.

  44. JKnott says:

    Granted, there are many poorly catechized Catholics who vote and yet may not fully comprehend the meaning of the good Bishop’s letter. But the consecrated cannot plead ignorance of the moral law. Obama (Barabbas) is really not worth jeopardizing one’s life with God, on earth or in………..
    hell (hl)
    n.
    1.
    a. often Hell The abode of condemned souls and devils in some religions; the place of eternal punishment for the wicked after death, presided over by Satan.
    b. A state of separation from God; exclusion from God’s presence.
    2. The abode of the dead, identified with the Hebrew Sheol and the Greek Hades; the underworld.
    3.
    a. A situation or place of evil, misery, discord, or destruction: “War is hell” (William Tecumseh Sherman).
    b. Torment; anguish: went through hell on the job.
    4.
    a. The powers of darkness and evil.

  45. robtbrown says:

    Giuseppe says,

    I cannot speak on behalf of FrJim4321 re. all states, but I am familiar with Pennsylvania. The little old lady who doesn’t drive but whom everyone knows in the neighborhood cannot vote at her local polling station unless she has a valid ID with expiration date.

    If this is such a plot by the Repubs to suppress the vote of people like the mythological little old lady, why aren’t the Dems mobilizing to take them to get a photo ID? If they need people to help, there are thousands of passengers arriving every day at John Murtha Airport . . . no, wait a minute.

    One other point: Getting the most national attention on this matter is Kris Kobach, the Kansas Sec of State. FYI, Kansas hasn’t gone Dem in the Presidential election since LBJ.

  46. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    No offense intended, but I don’t see the question of “voter suppression” as a rabbit hole at all. Father has claimed a moral parity, at least, between this evil and supporting a redefinition of marriage, the wholesale butchery of the unborn and the rest, and thus intends to treat the Bishop’s statement as the work of a partisan hack, instead of the work of a Catholic thinker.

    Father: you said that the limits would be those found in the constitution. Please be specific in answering this question, not vague. What are the parameters you understand to be in the Constitution to define (limit) who may exercise the franchise?

    For whatever reason, I’m willing to believe that voter suppression takes place, but I want it defined as something more than “reducing the number of people who actually vote”. Bad weather does that, and it’s not a criminal offense. A serious lack of good candidates does that, too, but this is also not a civil or criminal offense. Why does requiring a photo ID constitute, in your mind, an attempt to diminish the number of people who vote? Unlike Jim Crow laws, there is a defined requirement which can be met.

    Asserting that a photo ID is, prima facie, an effort to suppress votes doesn’t count as demonstrating that it is such a thing.

    I wonder, as one who has a Driver’s License, but not a smart phone of any description, how many of those for whom getting the ID constitutes an insuperable barrier nevertheless have some other form of photographic identification (do any of them drive, for example) or other possessions which cost more than such a photo ID.

    I’m not, by the way, making a case to support Republicans, since as I’ve said and as the Bishop says, one can disagree on the proper means to a morally good end. I’m not a Republican, either in name or in registration. I simply want more than an accusation to serve to dismiss the Bishop’s point.

    Thank you, Father, for your priesthood.

    Chris

  47. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:


    That’s my bishop! What a shepherd!… I hope he doesn’t move to an Archdiocese soon, but with pieces like this, he’s bound for bigger flocks, I think.

    Yup, think you are right.

    And Rome quickly accepted the resignation of Bp Matt Clark–without even naming a successor.

  48. Southern Catholic says:

    because a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy

    See Frjim, perhaps you should should rethink your support of the pro-abortion candidate. Either way, nice use of a red herring to distract people from the actual issues that the Bishop wrote about.

  49. I cannot believe you allowed yourselves to be distracted into talking about vote suppression.

  50. PostCatholic says:

    I’ll provide some new fodder, then, shall I?

    I don’t think it reflects well on your causes, or in a belief in a democratic (small d) process, or on a respect for the inherent dignity of either the office or the man to name-call the President such things as “The Leader” or “Barabbas” or “Obadman.” I am sure it is possible to disagree with someone without being disagreeable. It’s especially unnecessary to be uncivil when one is convinced of the moral superiority of one’s argument.

  51. HeatherPA says:

    Frjim,
    As the wife of a US marine officer who is going to retire in 6 mos after 20 years, I can tell you that the overseas absentee voting is a nightmare which has never been fixed.
    My husband has tried in at least three elections to vote via absentee ballot due to his deployments and has never succeeded.
    If this was a liberal voter base, do you think it would be such a problem??

    In regards to voter ID laws, I find the debate bizarre. We have to show ID to register a car, to buy a lighter, to buy Advil Cold and Sinus.
    This is a non issue. The states offer free ID at the DMV. The outcry is ridiculous.

  52. benedetta says:

    Whether the Democratic party platform supports intrinsic evil is not rocket science. Obviously, and unfortunately for the electorate, it does.

  53. Scott W. says:

    The fact is that Obama’s campaign is in full panic mode, so if it is a close Romney victory, they will already have their sour-grapey Walkeresque “democracy just died!” meme (ahh, delicious liberal tears) in place. Now, I’m not voting for the Rombot, but my prediction is that in spite of the sketchy polls, it’s going to be a landslide on the order of Carter/Reagan, so it will be interesting to see the excuses then.

  54. The Masked Chicken says:

    Abortion – the ultimate voter suppression.

    The Chicken

  55. chcrix says:

    Interesting. 54 comments, and the elephant in the room goes ignored while the yammering goes on about disenfranchisement (i.e. keeping the process honest) – as if half the populace didn’t abstain from voting anyway.

    “a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit”

    All too true.

    So….
    Why is it that unconstitutional, undeclared, and unjust (by Christian just war theory) wars pass muster?

    It is clearly impossible to vote for either of the two major party candidates.

    Neither the Demublican (neocon in doves clothing) who mouths platitudes about being antiwar nor the Repocrat (Obama lite) who won’t repeal Obummercare is deserving of support.

  56. Andrew says:

    I will die and I will be judged. And the question of what have I done for the least of the brethren will come up. And the Lord will ask me: “have you voted for those who had the power to deny life to these little ones? To cut them up alive in their mother’s womb?” And I will reply: “Lord, I made sure that voters didn’t have to present an ID”.

  57. Sissy says:

    chchrix asked “Why is it that unconstitutional, undeclared, and unjust (by Christian just war theory) wars pass muster?”

    I assume that isn’t a serious question, because the Holy Father has addressed that precise point explicitly in the past. There is no moral equivalence between abortion and war, even one you consider “unjust”. If you think there is, please go back and read what the Church teaches on this issue once again. You are mistaken in your assumption.

  58. robtbrown says:

    Fr. John Zuhlsdorf says:

    I cannot believe you allowed yourselves to be distracted into talking about vote suppression.

    I think it’s more a matter of being aghast that FrJim has fooled himself into thinking that abortion and possible voter suppression are of equal importance.

  59. Sissy says:

    Masked Chicken said “Abortion – the ultimate voter suppression.”

    It’s not my place to give the award, but if it were, I’d name this comment “thread winner of the year”!

  60. robtbrown says:

    chcrix says:

    So….
    Why is it that unconstitutional, undeclared, and unjust (by Christian just war theory) wars pass muster?

    Let me preface my comments by saying that I was not all that crazy about invading Iraq–for various reasons.

    1. NB: The last declared war by the US was WWII. Not Korea. Not Vietnam. Not Gulf War I. And the Civil War was not a declared war.

    2. I think it’s a bit irresponsible to say this war is unconstitutional. Acc to the Constitution the President is the Commander in Chief. And acc to it Congress declares war–then it raises an Army. But an army has been raised before war was declared.

    3. I’ve said before here that it’s a bit tricky applying Just War theory to contemporary war (which changed with Napoleon and Sherman). Although there are some wars that are obviously unjust, the Iraq War isn’t one of them.

  61. PA mom says:

    Greatspeech. I will be printing this to share with several people.

    @rbtbrown. It is evident that Fr Jim does not wish to debate the merits of the above, but rather to defend through any means necessary the (in order of the speech) godless, lawless party of abortion and sodomy.
    Since there is no rational argument that the Republican part is worse than this, he chooses to make no argumentat all.
    @ guiseppe, if you boot out the Republicans in PA who are trying to replace lawlessness with order (that Black Panther thing was here in PA, looking like a 3rd world country) then you are wishing the Democrats with the lovely characteristics above upon us. I disagree with that as an improvement.
    We all have places of darkened judgement, and there is no way I could have made this argument as eloquently as the Bishop. Great speech.

  62. frjim4321 says:

    I cannot believe you allowed yourselves to be distracted into talking about vote suppression.

    Good morning.

    I find that it pertains. The string is predicated on congratulating a bishop for one sort of political commentary; I merely contrasted that with another kind of political commentary that we could be but are not hearing.

  63. ecs says:

    Fr. Z: “I cannot believe you allowed yourselves to be distracted into talking about vote suppression.”

    I think it may have to do with the source. A suppossed priest who is time and again posting falsehoods and distortions on this blog. How a man of the cloth could so willingly engage in so many lies is to me, and probably quite a few others here, somewhat scandalous. If Satan is the father of lies it serves that those who repeatedly engage in lies are in his service. Fr. Jim has convinced himself of a certain false reality and he repeatedly attempts to persuade others to his false reality. [I am not so sure. An intelligent person doesn't see a connection with vote suppression. It is, however, a common liberal tactic to distract people from the real issue by holding up something shiny to the side and shouting, "Hey! Look at this!"]

  64. dominic1955 says:

    Maybe we should go back to only letting the kind of people who would run this county with some modicum of wisdom, virtue, and decency to vote or have a part in politics? I don’t think owning land is a sufficient test, but we could probably figure something out. How did we fall so far down that one of the two major political parties in this country have it in their official national platform explicit support for the legal recognition of sodomitical relationships as “marriage” and the “right” to murder babies in the womb? Its demonic. They should have just hosted a Black Mass and an orgy too. Maybe one of these days they will when people are sufficiently amoral.

    I guess people deserve the leaders they get. If folks are dumb enough to vote for the apparatchiks of the party that supports such evil policies, then they deserve to be under the yolk of tyranny.

  65. PA mom says:

    Fr Jim, You seem to have misplaced the ability to discern “political commentary” from fact.

  66. wmeyer says:

    I guess people deserve the leaders they get. If folks are dumb enough to vote for the apparatchiks of the party that supports such evil policies, then they deserve to be under the yolk of tyranny.

    There is an element of truth in that, but not the whole truth. We are presented with a choice, from a small selection. To be a participant in the process of developing that selection is a rather heavy commitment to time spent in party meetings, and even then, relatively few people will find their way to a real participation in the selection of national candidates.

    So in the end, we vote for the lesser evil, to the degree we are able to determine which that may be. In a choice between a strongly pro-abortion incumbent and a mostly pro-life candidate, the lesser evil is readily apparent.

  67. wmeyer says:

    …and to fail to vote is to fail in one of the responsibilities of citizenship. Similarly, a third party vote, since the odds are stunningly against such a candidate, is essentially the same as not voting, or worse, voting for the incumbent.

  68. Midwest St. Michael says:

    robt says:

    “I think it’s more a matter of being aghast that FrJim has fooled himself into thinking that abortion and possible voter suppression are of equal importance.”

    Ding! Ding! Ding!

    We have a winner!

    MSM

  69. “There’s justification to call for some sort of verified ID before someone lacking the courage to post his real name is allowed to claim status as a priest, especially when all positions taken by that made-up user-name are antithetical to Catholicism.

    This may be an unsolvable problem. While there may appear to be anti-Catholics posing anonymously in blogdom as Catholic priests, the most faithful real priests might be the ones most susceptible to retribution if required to identify themselves.

  70. AnAmericanMother says:

    Fr. Z: “I cannot believe you allowed yourselves to be distracted into talking about vote suppression.”

    I think what’s going on is this: We have a couple of choices here.

    1. frjim is deflecting the argument because he does not want to discuss or even consider the fact that many (most?) of his political positions are directly opposed to the clear teaching of the Church. In other words, he is willing to sacrifice not only the teachings but the the religious freedom of his own Church, salute a Godless platform, and march over the little bleeding bodies of babies in order to achieve the Democratic-Socialist vision of Heaven on Earth through government control of every aspect of our lives.

    2. frjim is deflecting the argument because he honestly believes that “voter suppression” is the equivalent of abortion, Godlessness, homosexual “marriage”, and all the rest of the Democratic platform.

    In charity (and partly in horrified denial), most of us assume the latter and figure that if we can just persuade frjim to look at the facts, he may change his mind and realize that “voter suppression” is just not up there with atheism, murder and perversion.

  71. Cantor says:

    The most important issue regarding voter suppression is the 50,000,000 voters* whose lives have been snuffed out, and votes permanently suppressed, since Roe v Wade in this country alone.

    (*Statistic courtesy of the National Abortion Federation.)

  72. AnAmericanMother says:

    Found this this morning, and it’s something that you definitely need to read, frjim.

    Plea to confused Catholics

    Just in case it’s more than you can face, here’s the money quote:

    I repeat: to place a strict moral commandment which suffers no exception, on the same level with a vague unwarranted claim that in the long run the abominable moral evil of abortion coupled with “social concerns” will have positive consequences, is a tragic confusion which, alas, has caught many “good” Catholics into its devilish net. Indeed, the Devil is the Master of confusion.

  73. Cato says:

    Something to consider in this discussion is that democracy is not a moral necessity. Not only has the Church through the ages supported with no mor issues monarchies but it at one time considered democracies morally questionable. So, the right to vote not being a moral necessity, removing that right cannot be considered evil – or at least not intrinsically evil. At most we can say that someone “suppressing people’s votes” (not saying I believe that is what is going on, but even if it was) are breaking our own laws, NOT that they are breaking God’s laws.

    Same with war. War is not an intrinsic evil. Some wars are justified. It is a matter of judgment. Same with different ideas on how to best care for the poor.

    The undeniable reality is that there is only ONE party that unequivocally supports intrinsic evils. The most an honest Catholic can say about the GOP is that they disagree with the means they support to reach certain ends that we all agree with (peace, help for the poor, etc.) because those ends are not what is in disagreement.

    That being the case it is clear no matter how much the hierarchy has to dance around it because of tax rules, that while there may not be just one candidate/party Catholics can vote for there definitely is one they may not without comitting mortal sin and putting themselves outside of Christ. To vote for Obama, and not repent of it, is to damn oneself.

    /sorry for the typos, I’m on my phone.

  74. Mary Jane says:

    [I am not so sure. An intelligent person doesn't see a connection with vote suppression. It is, however, a common liberal tactic to distract people from the real issue by holding up something shiny to the side and shouting, "Hey! Look at this!"]

    YES!

  75. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:

    I find that it pertains. The string is predicated on congratulating a bishop for one sort of political commentary; I merely contrasted that with another kind of political commentary that we could be but are not hearing.

    The problem is that you have adopted a phrase “voter suppression” that is little else than a political slogan, then tried to equate it with the concrete situation of abortion. I have no doubt that there have been attempts at voter suppression. And I am equally sure that there have been attempts to pad vote counts. In fact, LBJ told of going through cemeteries to register voters.

    I used to say that the Repubs buy elections, and the Dems steal them. I think that it is now equal on both sides.

  76. Minnesotan from Florida says:

    In view of some insinuations made on this thread and others, I ask whether I am wrong in thinking that I remember that Father Zuhlsdorf has said somewhere that FrJim4321 is indeed a Catholic priest in good standing?

  77. ScholaLady says:

    Imagine there was a presidential candidate who had great ideas about foreign policy and government spending and aid to the poor. Now imagine that same candidate also supported rounding up every member of a particular ethnic group and having them shot. Would anyone be saying, “yeah, but the other guy supports welfare cuts” or “the other guy supports unfair election laws?”

    As Catholics we believe that abortion is murder. Our current president supports that form of murder, which is just as wrong as my crazy hypothetical situation above. Every thing else has to come a distant second to that.

    As one of the “disenfranchised working poor” I am grateful for this good bishop’s strong, clear teaching on this matter and not the least bit hurt or put out that he didn’t instead write a letter to demand the government provide more money and free stuff for people like us.

  78. Clinton says:

    Fr. Z’s post of the Bishop of Springfield’s column has been up for about 18 hours now. In
    that time, I’ve yet to read a single post from anyone who can dispute His Excellency’s assertion.
    It’s possible for a Catholic to evade it and to distract from the truth of it, but I don’t think it’s
    possible for one to demonstrate His Excellency to be mistaken. Frjim4321, I’m looking at you.

    With the events of their last convention, one of our national parties has embraced intrinsic
    evils and made them part of its official platform. I think it’s only those who’ve made a
    golden calf out of that party who can continue to support it now. Those Catholics would
    probably still vote “D” if their party ended its convention with a black mass and an orgy.

    I hope that the good Bishop’s column goes viral in the Catholic blogosphere. I hope that
    everyone who reads it here reposts it and shares it far and wide.

    Oh, and ScholaLady– your comment was absolutely spot-on.

  79. Speravi says:

    Let’s all keep in mind CCC 2477-2478. We don’t know that Fr. Jim really believes that voter suppression and abortion are comparable. In fact, I think that this bishop would do no wrong in humoring him. He could say all he has said and then add at the end, “and we should take care that all USA citizens can practically vote.” In fact, should this have happened, it would be evident to all that these matters are not comparable (…and again, Fr. Jim never actually said they are).
    HOWEVER,
    Fr. Jim’s point is a great illustration of the bishop’s point! Just as we agree that it is good that poor people are fed, we can agree that, given the laws of our nation, all citizens should be able to vote. However this is a matter of a positive imperative not a negative one. Because it is a positive moral norm to feed the poor, there is legitimate disagreement about how to feed the poor; this is a gray area. So too, that all USA citizens should be able to vote is a positive (quasi-moral/legal) norm. However, HOW to insure that all USA citizens CAN vote and that they are actually citizens and that they only vote once, is likewise a gray area, admitting various legitimate approaches.

    This is very different from negative moral norms, involving intrinsic evil. As principles, these will always be black and white. In every instance the rejection of abortion involves not aborting. However, it is not that case that in every instance the reduction of poverty involves giving money. Thus, when it comes to seeking the common good of the people (the government’s job), negative and positive moral/quasi-moral norms do not carry equal weight.

    It will always hurt a USA citizen, no matter the circumstances, to make an act of the will in favor of abortion. As regards abortion, and other intrinsic evils, the only act of the will EVER permitted is “no.” However, there are many ways of making an act of the will in favor of people voting or feeding the poor. Thus the state, for the sake of the common good, will always have a graver duty in opposing intrinsic evil that in posing particular methods of ensuring the positive moral/quasi-moral goods, such as the ability for all USA citizens to vote.

    Ergo, Fr. Jim is right in saying that it is bad in our country that voting could be suppressed. And it is also clear that in saying this, he is citing another quasi-moral matter which is of far less weight than those matters pertaining to INTRINSIC EVIL.

    Additionally, we know that the state, as a community of human beings, is also obliged to obey God, the Creator of humanity. Therefore, the state itself has a duty, in its public policies and statements, always to show forth the only permitted act of the will toward intrinsic evil, “no.” The democratic party has made its statement, “yes.” This, being in opposition to Natural (as well as positive) Law, constitutes a public act of rebellion against God.

    Finally, Fr. Jim’s comments seem to miss the point in one other way. The bishop is making statements to help guide his people’s moral life. I may be wrong in this, but it doesn’t seem to me very likely that his flock is going to be very often forced into making a moral choice for or against voter-suppression. Additionally, even if they did encounter this in a voting situation, given the total lack of parity between these moral/quasi-moral issues, it would not have much weight (unless there was already parity between the candidates as regards the intrinsic evils first enumerated.)

    If the bishop’s flock will think and pray before they vote, as he suggested, they will likely see how much weight voter suppression carries in the face of the intrinsic evil.

  80. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    In his last paragraph, Bishop Paprocki makes a distinction which has not yet received attention, here: between “party” and “candidates”.

    Barry Rubin had an interesting post in part about how differently the Democratic and Republican Parties arrive at their platforms:

    http://pjmedia.com/barryrubin/2012/09/05/the-democratic-party-platform-and-israel-what-it-really-tells-us/

    But a significant question is as to the relation of candidates in general and of any given candidate to his Party’s platform.

    Mr. Ryan apparently thinks that “in complete disregard of millions of pro-life Democrats, President Obama has chosen to pander to the most extreme elements of his party.”

    That is, (I take it) he thinks one can be not only someone who frequently votes for DP candidates but even a registered Democrat – a Party member – and still be “pro-life”. But what of DP candidates? Can there be “pro-life” mavericks, who do not subscribe to the platform? If so, what is a reliable way to discover who they are – assuming any have actually reached the ‘candidate-stage’?

    That you can be a maverick Republican who pays little or no heed to all the good in that Party’s more democratically-arrived-at platform, would seem abundantly clear from this article (assuming it is accurate):

    http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2012/08/29/boehner-ive-never-read-one-gop-platform/

    The nauseating impudence and contempt for the ‘peons’ in the Party demonstrated here by this Catholic gentleman entrusted with enormous govermental responsibility (e.g., a few heart-beats away from the Oval Office), is breath-taking (though perhaps I am surprised too easily)!

    And I have not encountered any evidence that Mr. Romney has repented of his past (Gubernatorial) actions and aspirations, to heartily adopt Platform content instead – however great a desideratum that might be! Can anyone correct this impression (with reliable details)? – I would they could!

    One of Bishop Paprocki’s key pieces of advice seems to be to discover as accurately as you can what each and every candidate you consider voting for actually believes, “because a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.”

  81. Speravi says:

    The point that I find interesting in the article is how this bishop is asserting the rights of the Church to name the evils of which the Democratic Party is guilty. This is a legitimate exercise of moral authority, since the Democratic party, as well as its members, has a moral duty to oppose intrinsic evil. However, I wonder what would happen (and I am NOT saying it should happen…only wondering about the status of the liberty of the Church in the USA…) if all bishops and priests started making similar statements using the “D” word.

  82. wmeyer says:

    However, I wonder what would happen (and I am NOT saying it should happen…only wondering about the status of the liberty of the Church in the USA…) if all bishops and priests started making similar statements using the “D” word.

    All bishops and priests should follow this good example. The liberty of the Church in this country is under attack; meekly standing by will not lessen that attack. Decades of poor catechesis have left many of the laity relatively clueless about the Church and moral teachings. Too much has been said in public under the heading of “social justice”, and not enough about right and wrong. The former is a subjective term, the latter are absolutes, in our faith.

    Abortion is an objective evil, and the Church has never wavered on the doctrine in that matter. Any softening which has been witnessed must be attributed to the weakness of men, not to the Church itself.

  83. “I used to say that the Repubs buy elections, and the Dems steal them. I think that it is now equal on both sides.”

    You’re wrong. As someone has put it, if Republicans were winning elections with fraudulently cast votes, then Democrats would be demanding DNA-test voter identification.

  84. DisturbedMary says:

    I love that the bishop mentionned the infamous three votes — all loud and clear — all asking God to leave the room! The only thing we didn’t have was a cock crowing. Our God probably should have thrown that in just to make the point to the stiff-necked galatians.

  85. Jim of Bowie says:

    The ‘Holy Goalie” has a backbone too.

  86. Laura98 says:

    I guess the “Party Platforms” are old news now… Frankly, I’m surprised anyone even bothered to read them. Good for Bishop Paprocki for making clear what should be obvious to all Catholics – but, apparently is not.

    As far as voter suppression… I would have to agree with HeatherPA above. When I lived in Germany, trying to vote while overseas was an absolute nightmare! You’d think NO ONE ever lived or was ever stationed abroad! *insert exasperated eye-roll here* Come to think of it… that was during another Democratic Presidential term… hmmm…. ;)

  87. Jeanette says:

    Bp. Paprocki proposes: “a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.”

    If that is the true case, then, for which party/candidate do we vote? Which is the man who never lost his baptismal innocence?… It can’t be Mr. Romney, since Mormons do not have baptism. Is it then Mr. Obama?

    Since all sin is intrinsic evil and some sin is gravely evil, we would need to know which individuals have never committed a sin in order to vote in such a way which does not make us as voters morally complicit in the evil actions and behaviours of the candidates…

  88. Sissy says:

    Minnesotan from Florida, it is my clear recollection that Fr. Z once said that he is satisfied that frjim4321 is telling the truth when he says that he is a priest. That’s good enough for me, and I pray for him in his vocation.

  89. Scott W. says:

    Since all sin is intrinsic evil and some sin is gravely evil, we would need to know which individuals have never committed a sin in order to vote in such a way which does not make us as voters morally complicit in the evil actions and behaviours of the candidates…

    That’s not what he means. The standard is not that a candidate be sinless, but what he freely and willfully advocates. For instance, abortion is always an intrinsically evil act. Anyone who advocates for it, is advocating for evil and hence, should not be voted for.

  90. Speravi says:

    Jeanette,
    I think the bishop is using simplified language for the sake of his audience. He could have written that a person casting such a vote is “morally complicit, either formally or materially, and either proximately or remotely, and that depending on how they fall among these options they might be jeopardizing their soul.” However, it is simpler just to mention that you are morally complicit and might be jeopardizing your soul…so a voter had better pray and think about their vote to be very sure that they are not jeopardizing their soul (i.e. If you find you must vote for such a politician…you had better be sure that you will be able to give to God an explanation that shows that your vote was only remote material cooperation with the evil perpetrated by this politician and that you REALLY had another factor of sufficient weight to justify such cooperation before almighty God.)

  91. Speravi says:

    Continuing my last comment: it is hard to imagine this (sufficient weight) so long as abortion is in the mix and there are pro-life options.

  92. wmeyer says:

    To put it simply, the bishop has made plain that there is no way a Catholic can, in good conscience, vote for the incumbent, whose position on abortion is very strong and public.

  93. Giuseppe says:

    @wmeyer – “To put it simply, the bishop has made plain that there is no way a Catholic can, in good conscience, vote for the incumbent, whose position on abortion is very strong and public.”

    While it seems clear from the bishop and several other bishops that it would be a mortal sin for an American Roman Catholic to vote for President Obama, is it a mortal sin for an American Roman Catholic not to vote for Mitt Romney? In other words, does an American Roman Catholic have to vote for Mitt Romney, or can he vote for a 3rd party candidate or a write-in candidate?

    I’m not specifically asking about political strategy, but I am asking about whether or not voting for someone other than Mitt Romney or Barack Obama is itself a sin.

  94. wmeyer says:

    Giuseppe, if votes that might have gone to Romney put Obama in for another term, what do you think? Historically, in most cases, 3rd party votes benefit the incumbent. In my view, it would be a wasted vote, and a failure of citizenship. And if O gets round 2, yes, I think it would be a grave sin.

  95. Speravi says:

    I think it is too strong to suggest that it would be a sin to vote for a third party. There is a difference in what the will is doing between voting in favor of a strong pro-abort politician and voting in favor of a candidate who is likely to lose (unless this is being done with the intention of helping the pro-abort to win).

  96. Southern Catholic says:

    @ Giuseppe, only two other candidates, other than Romney and Obama, have ballet access in enough states to get the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election. Those two are Jill Stein of the Green Party and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party. Both support abortion rights, and both support gay marriage. Even Jill Stein wants to increase the access to abortion. Romney is the best out of those four. There are other candidates, but most are not registered in enough states to even have a possibility to win. Vigil Goode is close to being on enough ballots though, and at least he is against abortion and gay marriage.

  97. jflare says:

    Fr Z said:
    “…An intelligent person doesn’t see a connection with vote suppression. It is, however, a common liberal tactic to distract people from the real issue by holding up something shiny to the side and shouting, “Hey! Look at this!”"

    I will argue precisely the opposing point of view. I DO see a connection.

    Voter suppression may not be moral concern exactly, but it IS a legitimate point. One party has actively sought to spread abortion as widely as possible for many years. One party has rather reluctantly even admitted to the existence of God in their platform, but has been stubborn about fomenting all manner of social ills.

    That same party has ALSO thrown a screaming fit any occasion that anyone mentions an effort to stiffen up voting laws.

    According to this party, paying a sum of $20 (in this state) for valid photo ID poses too big a problem. Apparently, we can’t admit that various other means of non-photo ID can be falsified readily enough if one seeks doing so. AND, apparently it’s too burdensome to many in our population to accomplish no greater a feat than finding the proper polling location on the appointed day.
    Honestly! We seem to make the act of voting into nothing more crucial than driving to a gas station and buying a case of beer!

    ..And we wonder why we’re in such trouble….

    Look, it’s great to see a bishop speak vigorously on abortion–we loved Abp Chaput a few weeks ago when he did so too, but I can’t honestly expect it to be a key issue. Unless the vast majority of bishops make stern public statements on the matter, I don’t expect the average Catholic to precisely be concerned. Certainly we have the example of “Catholic” groups who’re determined to sway the vote in the President’s favor, if anything.

    Voter suppression could well be a decisive issue, especially in Ohio, Florida, and a few other states.

  98. Concerning mortal sin: It seems mortally stupid not to vote just because the alternative to the supremely dreadful candidate is not perfect in every respect.

  99. wmeyer says:

    Speravi, naivete can be very dangerous in matters essential to our country. At best, voting for a candidate who “is likely to lose” is a wasted vote. At worst, as history shows, it often favors re-election of the incumbent. Also, see Fr. Z’s note directly above. That Romney is not perfect is not a reason not to vote for him. That he is not the “supremely dreadful candidate”, on the other hand, is a very good reason to vote for this candidate who may well win.

  100. Imrahil says:

    I think it can be safely said that a vote for either Mr. Romney or third-party/abstention* is no sin, the latter unless done with the explicit intention to keep the incumbent in office (without making one’s fingers dirty, or so). And explicit intention is explicit intention, not “but you know what will come of it” etc.

    For this statement, I assume (just for the record)
    1. that Pres. Obama supports intrinsic evils,
    2. that Mr. Romney supports intrinsic evils of importantly lesser nature, but some indeed (otherwise, given the situation, to vote for him would of course be obligatory),
    3. that everyone else has no chance.

    A Christian can always resort to the safe ground that he does good and lets God sort it out. There is no collective guilt (forgive a person of my nationality to say so); the intrinsic evils supported by Pres. Obama are just that, intrinsic evils supported by Pres. Obama; he who does not reelect (by vote) Pres. Obama, or even he who reelects him under the serious impression of him to be a lesser evil (which he seems not to be), is not in any way responsible for them. [Also, the single vote is mathematically irrelevant.]

  101. Imrahil says:

    We do not know what good may not come of that; one obvious thing is that the Right perhaps loses a bit the impression that conscientious Catholics are irrelevant voting-cattle whose vote is theirs anyway.

    On the other hand, a Christian can also always resort to the safe ground that voting for the least realistic evil is never sinful.

    I’ve been told that in the U. S. there are “swing states” and others; of course who votes in the “others” will see himself under even more liberty to abstain or vote aside.

    [*Once the decision for abstaining or voting aside is done, one must vote for the third-party which is completely to a Catholic's heart, and if that doesn't exist, either for the least evil third party (which then of course must be much better than the least evil realistic party) or abstain.]

  102. Imrahil says:

    Of course, while normally it is possible to vote both ways (I mean for Mr. Romney or for abstention), that would not be so if there was… forgive me to suggest… an authoritative decision where to put the Catholic vote. It need not be by the bishops; it could also be by, say, the Knights of Columbus, or the Catholic League, or in the way of a seemingly nonpartisan directive “Do not abstain” by the Bishops’ Conference, or so…

  103. Mary Jane says:

    There was a good article over on RedState yesterday: elitist Republicans made Romney out to be the ‘only electable’ candidate, and now that the media has concluded that he cannot win these elitist Republicans have turned tail and run…and the sad part about that? We who didn’t even want Romney in the first place are now the ones defending him and trying to get him elected.

    Obviously he is better than Obama…but really…how many Romney supporters only support him because they can’t stand Obama? I wonder if Romney knows that the people who like him only “like” him because they want Obama out, not because Romney actually offers something of substance that he’ll follow through on once elected.

    Anyway…lots of good comments on this post.

  104. SKAY says:

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/feb/23/obamas-pseudo-religion/

    This helps explain Obama’s vision for this country.
    As a Catholic and an American citizen, it certainly is not mine. I will vote for Romney.

    Also – to overturn Obamacare–the Republicans also need the Senate. Harry Reid will block any attempt to do that if Democrats still hold the Senate.

    Thank you for this blog Father Z. It is a safe harbour in the middle of all the insanity surrounding us right now–in so many ways.

  105. wmeyer says:

    Mary Jane, the Republican party is a disaster–actually, both parties are. Both are committed to endless growth of government and entitlements, and only disagree about the rate of growth. Neither appears to care a whit for the rights our Constitution guarantees, and pay only lip-service.

    Romney is better than O, but almost anyone would be. Men with spine seem to be in short supply, on so many fronts.

  106. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    In his penultimate paragraph, Bishop Paprocki has said, “there are [...] Republicans who support abortion rights and [...] who promote same-sex marriage, and they are equally as wrong as their Democratic counterparts”.

    Now, grievously sad to say, this historically describes Mr. Romney, not only in terms of “support” and explicit publicly – even prominently – expressed intention, but in terms of what he is directly responsible for imposing on his state as Governor of Massachusetts – which (unless I am mistaken) is still in full force today, leaving hospital personnel no room for conscience where abortifacients are concerned, etc., etc.

    But I have asked, repeatedly, and so far in vain, if anyone can supply detailed reliable evidence that this only describes Mr. Romney ‘historically’, but not also ‘actually’ – today – for I am aware of no convincing repentance, or work at setting right his past wrongs, or even expressions of grief and regret short of actual repentance.

    If my impression in this is correct, then Mr. Romney is precisely an example of ” a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful” for whom “to vote makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy” in ther words of Bishop Patrocki.

    Would that it were not so, but what reason has anyone to believe that it is not so?

  107. wmeyer says:

    Venerator Sti Lot: This sort of tortured rationalizing could drive me nuts. Rationally, it is unlikely that anyone other than Obama or Romney can be elected. Obama’s positions on many issues are totally unacceptable to our position as Catholics. Given a second term, he will take us trillions deeper into debt, and will continue to support the HHS mandate.

    You have a choice between a totally unacceptable incumbent and a candidate whose position is not perfect, and whose history leaves room for doubt, but whose stated positions are infinitely better than those of the incumbent.

    In the face of those realities, can you rationalize voting for a third party, or abstaining? Both of those choices are likely to be effectively a vote for Obama.

  108. wmeyer says:

    Let me amplify a bit: I would hate to explain, on the day of reckoning, how I rationalized my weak effort to avoid voting for an imperfect candidate, rather than participate in a concerted effort to remove an utterly unacceptable incumbent. And worse, through my rationale, may actually have aided the re-election of the incumbent, by making my own vote ineffective against him.

    It would be nice if the law required a 2/3, or even 50% + 1 majority of the popular vote to seat a president. Then any vote against him, regardless for whom it were cast, would be a vote against him, a vote to unseat. But that is not our system.

  109. Mary Jane says:

    Voting for a third party candidate can, I think, be acceptable in some situations. For example, it is probably a given that California will go to Obama, therefore a California vote for a third party candidate most likely won’t help Obama or hurt Romney’s chances of getting elected. But a vote for a third party candidate in a swing state will most likely help Obama and hurt Romney’s chances.

  110. jflare says:

    I’m not at all convinced that voting for a third party candidate would honestly fulfill our responsibilities as citizens AND promote serious Catholic virtues at the same time.

    We have the right to vote in the US as one of the key means for the citizenry to declare how the country shall be led. If we wish to exercise this right properly, we need to ensure that we vote for candidates that’re plausibly going to do something we actually wish to see done AND can actually be elected. Whether we like the effective two party frame or not, that’s the essential character of the political circumstances we have. If we wish to make a “moral stand” and vote for a third party candidate, we must be aware that we’ve effectively abdicated from one of our few opportunities to exercise authority at the national level. It’s unfortunate that we have such a circumstance, but I’ve seen no evidence to suggest that a third party candidate could legitimately expect to be elected.

    I might point out though, this situation COULD be remedied for 2016.

    Fr Z began this entry because another bishop FINALLY spoke up about the ravages of abortion, although briefly reviewing the post, I see remarks related to the dangers of the Democrat platform in general. I’d say this seems to me a great start.

    I wish he or the USCCB would’ve offered these sorts of comments 8 or 9 months ago. I wish he and his brother bishops would’ve made this case much more vigorously over the last three years and/or now.

    We can’t expect Catholic values to have serious contention in the national spotlight if we don’t insist on candidates that actually espouse and vote in favor of these values.
    We’ll need, as a populace, to be willing to suffer intense critique from those who’d drive morals and religion from the public square. Making a statement along these lines about 45 days before the election gives a good start.
    We’ll need to see them follow up over the next three years.

    Otherwise, nobody cares.

  111. SKAY says:

    From the Pew sitter–

    “http://www.thomasmore.org/news/three-star-general-muslim-brotherhood-has-infiltrated-department-defense”

    This is no accident. It could not happen without this administration’s approval.
    Look at what they are doing in Egypt.

  112. The Masked Chicken says:

    It’s unfortunate that we have such a circumstance, but I’ve seen no evidence to suggest that a third party candidate could legitimately expect to be elected.

    I might point out though, this situation COULD be remedied for 2016.

    Very, very doubtful unless there is rioting in the streets, which isn’t going to happen. It is not the “social justice” crowd that will put Obama over the top, but rather the contraceptive/abortion acceptors, which is clearly not a part of social justice, except in the most negative way. In fact, I would love for some social scientist to look at the correlation between holding to contraception/abortion and voting for Obama. I’ll bet it’s close to 85% The problem is not one of prudential judgment, since those folks voting as a block would never be enough, bythemselves, to put Obama in office. The sad fact is that there are more morally-challenged (in the sense of life issues) people voting for Obama than people who understand the intrinsic evil of his positions on life. I would also like to see how this correlates to religious beliefs. We claim to be a God-fearing nation, but if this is what fearing God looks like, the Devil must be laughing.

    The Chicken

  113. The Masked Chicken says:

    Should read:

    The problem is not one of prudential judgment, since those folks voting on the basis of “prudential judgment” as a block would never be enough, by themselves, to put Obama in office.

    Note to self: ask Fr. Z. to install a big red STOP button so I can stop the post from going through milliseconds after I’ve discovered I’ve said something idiotic, but before it prints.

    The Chicken

  114. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    wmeyer wrote (26 Sept. 11:16 a.m.), “This sort of tortured rationalizing could drive me nuts.” I hope nothing would, or will, drive you nuts, and certainly that I will not contribute to doing so!

    But I do not see that I am engaged in any “sort of tortured rationalizing” or even any “rationalizing”.

    That one cannot morally vote for Mr. Obama does not mean one can do so for Mr. Romney.
    Neither does the sum total of Mr. Romney’s good (and moral) points of itself mean one can vote for him.

    Leaving (degrees of) ‘(in)vincible ignorance’ out of consideration, I do not know if to vote for Mr. Romney “makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy” by effectively “promot[ing] actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful”.

    It would seem it does. If I am wrong – if it does not (necessarily) – I would be very glad to know why.

    You describe Mr. Romney as a candidate “whose stated positions are infinitely better than those of the incumbent” and (11:30 a.m.) “an imperfect candidate”.

    But what may one include in his “stated positions”? Against the Boy Scouts excluding ‘gay’ scoutmasters (etc.)? For abortion in (purported? cf. Roe v. Wade!) cases of rape and incest (with a sort of trashing of Mr. Akin – to the detriment of a good Senate (?) – thrown in)? For the re-definition of ‘marriage’ he imposed on Massachusetts, in principle?

    Is this published statement of his still among his stated positions: “When Mitt Romney speaks on gay rights, he’s seen as a centrist and a moderate. It’s a little like if Eugene McCarthy was arguing in favor of recognizing China, people would have called him a nut. But when Richard Nixon does it, it becomes reasonable. When Ted says it, it’s extreme; when I say it, it’s mainstream. I think the gay community needs more support from the Republican Party, [...] and I would be a voice in the Republican party to foster anti-discrimination efforts”?

    If not, how may I be confident of that?