Archbp. Chaput: “I certainly can’t vote for somebody who’s either pro-choice or pro-abortion.”

From Life News:

Abp Chaput on voting for Obama: ‘I certainly can’t vote for somebody who’s pro-choice’

by Patrick B. Craine

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As the November general election approaches, America’s Catholic bishops have been walking a fine line as they strive to avoid appearances of partisanship while at the same time they wage a high-profile battle against the Obama administration over religious freedom.

Earlier this month, one of the leading lights in the U.S. episcopate insisted he “certainly” could not vote for Obama, while not specifically endorsing his Republic opponent Mitt Romney.

Asked whether a Catholic could vote for Obama in good faith, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia replied: “I can only speak in terms of my own personal views. I certainly can’t vote for somebody who’s either pro-choice or pro-abortion.

In a wide-ranging interview with John Allen, Jr. of the National Catholic Reporter, [aka Fishwrap] published Friday, the archbishop drew a sharp distinction between a candidate’s “prudential judgments” about how we care for the poor, and his position on an intrinsic evil like abortion.

Responding to concerns over the budget proposed by Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, which some Catholic bishops and other critics had called immoral because it cut programs to the poor, the archbishop pointed out that people of good faith can legitimately disagree over the role of government in providing aid to the poor.  [Exactly.  However, there are some things that we cannot legitimately disagree about.]

Jesus tells us very clearly that if we don’t help the poor, we’re going to go to hell,” he insisted. “But Jesus didn’t say the government has to take care of them, or that we have to pay taxes to take care of them. Those are prudential judgments.”

“You can’t say that somebody’s not Christian because they want to limit taxation,” he continued. “To say that it’s somehow intrinsically evil like abortion doesn’t make any sense at all.”  [Do I hear an "Amen!"?]

The archbishop, while noting he is a registered independent, said he has “deep personal concerns about any party that supports changing the definition of marriage, supports abortion in all circumstances, wants to restrict the traditional understanding of religious freedom.”

[...]

Read the rest there.

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Emanations from Penumbras, Religious Liberty, The Drill, The future and our choices and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

75 Responses to Archbp. Chaput: “I certainly can’t vote for somebody who’s either pro-choice or pro-abortion.”

  1. Supertradmum says:

    I think Jesus said WE are to help the poor as Catholic individuals, not as socialists. God bless Archbishop Chaput and may other bishops take courage from him to speak clearly.

  2. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    As I have said many times over the years, pro-lifers should not dodge the “single-issue” label, but they should clarify it: Being pro-life is not enough to win our vote, but being pro-abortion is enough to lose it, for any public office.

  3. AnnAsher says:

    Amen.
    I read on Michael O’Brien’s site yesterday : a government by the people is only as good as the morality of the people.

  4. Sissy says:

    Indeed, AnnAsher. As John Adams said: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

  5. DisturbedMary says:

    Thank you Archbishop Chaput for stepping aside from faux nonpartisanship. The silence of the bishops is a shameful dereliction of duty especially after the 3 day-sin-rally called the Democrat convention. Our Shepherds are fools or sellouts. If Catholics vote again for the strange god Obama, we will have told God to stay the h*** out of our lives. We will have cast our spiritual lot with wolves.

  6. Clinton R. says:

    “I can only speak in terms of my own personal views. I certainly can’t vote for somebody who’s either pro-choice or pro-abortion.”

    Shouldn’t this be not only Archbishop Chaput’s view, but the view all Catholics should have? Isn’t this part of Catholic teaching? We can’t be Catholic and be a minion of Satan at the same time. We Catholics need to vote unborn child killing, marriage redefining, contraceptive giving politicians out of office.

  7. Facta Non Verba says:

    The bishop makes some very good points that I wish were better understood by Catholics. Those who legally support an instrinsic evil cannot have my vote, regardless of their positions on other issues and regardless of who their opponent on the ballot is. And, in addition to the points mentioned by the Bishop, remember that President Obama is the person who said he didn’t want his daughters “punished with a baby” if they made a mistake.

  8. anilwang says:

    “But Jesus didn’t say the government has to take care of them, or that we have to pay taxes to take care of them. Those are prudential judgments.”

    Actually I think one can go further than this. If a first century Jew said that he paid his mandatory tide to the Temple and the Temple will take care of the poor, its pretty clear from the gospels that Jesus would rebuke him. Its also clear that if you go before the judgment seat and say to Jesus that you didn’t need to do the corporal works of mercy because you voted for someone who would raise taxes and force others (especially the rich) to help, that you’d also be rebuked and risk being classed with the goats.

    While we can offload our responsibility as the good Samaritan did with the in keeper, the decision has to be our choice.

  9. anilwang says:

    Clinton R., I agree however one can’t make that a hard and fast rule.

    If the choice is between a “pro-choice” candidate that will keep the status quo, and another popular candidate that proposed to sterilize all people who are “genetically inferior for the good of the German Father Land”, its pretty clear where many Catholics would vote.

    When it comes to Obama versus Romney, the choice is clear (to a non-American) even though Romney is spineless politician that will decide policy based political prudence. But at the local level, its less clear. Which is better? To vote for a candidate that is official “pro-choice” but consistently and vocally votes against expanding abortion? Or vote for a candidate that is openly pro-life but consistently avoids being in parliament whenever an abortion expanding vote is held and keeps quite about any such vote is held? Such a decision on who to vote for is one of prudence not of faith.

  10. Shonkin says:

    I have followed Abp Chaput’s principle for a number of years, since the Democratic Party has declared itself the Party of Abortion. I will not vote for a Democrat for any legislative or executive office unless the candidate is a known maverick who repudiates his party’s platform.

    What does that leave? I did vote for a Democrat for Sheriff because he was the least bad candidate, and because he was not in a position to cause harm.

  11. jflare says:

    “…as they strive to avoid appearances of partisanship…”

    Seems to me that has become a major problem. For my purposes, they summarily betrayed the essential character of THIS idea when this whole health care battle began. It would’ve made sense to have preached about it from pulpits all across the country, provoking debate. Instead, they purported to represent all of us with negotiations “behind didn’t bother to preach about health care from the pulpit, but negotiated with the Democrats behind the scenes instead.

    ” I did vote for a Democrat for Sheriff because he was the least bad candidate, and because he was not in a position to cause harm.”

    I wish that were true. If you ask some from the South about the Civil Rights movement, you might hear a story or two about law enforcement officials exercising power to make life difficult for particular groups of people.
    I have long wondered how long it’d be before pro-lifers encountered the same kind of neglect and/or harassment.

  12. jflare says:

    Whoops.
    I didn’t proofread that last as well as I intended.
    I meant to comment that it seemed to me as though the bishops had negotiated behind closed doors with Democrats, when they should’ve encouraged us to have the debate publicly.

  13. PA mom says:

    I am a bit concerned right now because my diocese is conducting a voters drive in the churches. Even though it is to be bipartisan, I am worried having seen the polls on the Catholic vote. If only our priests would speak this clearly and mean it, they would be doing us all a big favor.

  14. Legisperitus says:

    No matter how carefully bishops refrain from endorsing candidates, I think the Church can expect severe retaliation for having dared to speak out if Obama is re-elected, not excluding attempts at federal taxation.

  15. frjim4321 says:

    It certainly sounds like a heartfelt opinion, and one to which he has every right, but I don’t think it is adequately corrected for the rampant flip-flops and other forms of blatant dishonesty from those who aren’t what he calls “either pro-choice or pro-abortion” including the candidates of the RNC. Nor does he in my book adequately consider the relationship between poverty and other life issues. But, I give him some credit for the fact that he owned his opinion and said that “I would not vote for ‘X’,” and did not broaden that to include what he thought others should do. I personally don’t agree with him, but I think I understand how he came to hold this opinion.

  16. Mdepie says:

    Frjim4321 to the extent you actually care about the poor enough to look at evidence, I would suggest to you that not only are Democrats enthrall to killing unborn children on an industrial scale, but they are also enthralled to policy positions that can be shown via the data to crush the poor. Lets start with one simple exercise. The misery index ( the combination of unemployment rate and inflation) one would think impacts the poorer more than the rich. ) This index has decreased when there has been relatively conservative governance ( Republicans in power with at least one house of Congress under Republican control) and worsened when Democrats were in power. You need not take my word for it, simply go to any source that lists the misery index by year and find who was controlling the political process. There is other data that look at the effect on the poor of your leftist friends, and it is not pretty. It is about time that we be done with all the Pharisaical moral posturing about Democrats being more concerned about the poor so they need to get a pass on this propensity to favor legalized murder, and realize their policies are simply bad for both groups. There is no need to choose in this case.

    I am glad that Archbishop Chaput said he could not vote for a party that supported Abortion ( that unspeakable crime as Vatican II put it) I am a little disappointed that he did not make it clear no decent human being should vote for a party that supports legalized murder as a right. To the extent that people do this because they care oh so much for the poor, they are wrong and culpably negligent for not bothering to look at the actual effect of all these leftist economic policies that supposedly help them. Having grown up with very little money in a very depressed part of the country I can tell you I was the poor, and the Democrats could not care less about them. Their policies made things worse.

  17. Shonkin says:

    @ frjim4321: In describing blatant dishonesty you are describing politicians in general. I also deplore such behavior by members of either party. But! When a political party makes abortion on demand not just a plank in its platform, but its very own secular sacrament, and when no pro-life speakers are allowed a voice at its national convention, that party has allied itself squarely with the Devil and has forfeited my vote.

  18. Tradster says:

    I give Archbishop Chaput full credit for what he said publicly, as far as it goes. While acknowledging that opinions given safely from the sidelines are usually worthless, nevertheless I doubt the pre-VCII saints and martyrs would agree with such a cautious declaration when souls are at stake.

  19. RichR says:

    Sure Obama has made the killing of unborn (and just-born) babies a central part of his agenda, but hey, he wants to create more jobs.

    And people wonder how the Holocaust in Nazi Germany could have possibly occurred? We’re doing the exact same thing, only on a much larger scale.

    All it takes is for good people to do nothing.

  20. Sissy says:

    frjim4321 said: “Nor does he in my book adequately consider the relationship between poverty and other life issues.”

    1. The position of the Church is that abortion is the pre-eminet life issue…all other issues depend upon life existing. Abortion steals life itself.
    2. You have no notion, based on this interview, whether has considered this issue “adequately” or not.
    3. There is evidence that it is abortion that contributes to poverty and not the other way around, as you seem to assume.
    4. Abortion rates are highest in states where Medicaid pays for abortions. So, your central premise in favor of Democrats is in error.

  21. Elizabeth M says:

    I hate to say it but this is what I see happening: Obama will win. I cannot vote for anyone who supports or condones abortion. Obama’s stand is clear. Romney is against abortion, except for in cases of rape. Well, that is still pro-abortion. What are we to do when the electoral college votes are counted and there are not enough for someone other than the Republican or Democratic parties? Conservative votes are divided. I will still vote in November. My country cannot afford for me not to.

  22. Stephen D says:

    Bishop says he won’t vote for the supporters of child murders – and this is news? That indicates the state that the Church is in! Having said that, I wish that he lived in the UK. Obama has supported ‘partial birth’ abortion and this fact ought to put him beyond the pale of any voter with anything resembling a conscience.

  23. wmeyer says:

    I am disappointed that His Eminence felt he had to limit the applicability of his comment. A priest in my local parish put it more plainly: “You cannot be Catholic and vote for a pro-choice politician; you cannot vote for a pro-choice politician and be Catholic.”

    We need strong priests and bishops, men who will say plainly what needs to be said. Over 40 years now of failed catechesis, nominal Catholics practicing contraception and yes, even abortion, and we wonder how they can do these things. I wonder how we can see the lack of catechesis and wonder that people do not know their Faith.

    Reportedly, in 2008, many bishops voted for Obama. Were they not listening? Did they somehow miss his comment about his daughters being punished with an unwanted pregnancy? He did not, in fact, hide his positions. However, many liberals hear only what they wish to hear.

  24. Sissy says:

    wmeyer, I share your sadness about reports that many Bishops voted for Obama. I think His Eminence is very aware of the fact that a hostile administration probably has it’s IRS agents on point to question any statement that goes beyond the permitted “in my personal opinion”, etc.

  25. Timothy Mulligan says:

    Romney favors abortion rights under certain circumstances.

    So where does that leave us?

    [I think it leaves us with the guideline proposed by Wm. F. Buckley: Vote for the most conservative candidate who can win. That said, I would vote for the corpse of Millard Fillmore if it meant the defeat of the present office holder.]

  26. I want to second Dr. Peters’ comment. That is the true meaning of the “seamless garment.” Anyone who supports the legalized murder of innocent babies is unfit to hold any public office, right down to dog catcher, regardless of who or what is opposing him or what other opinions he may hold on other subjects. Such candidates are automatically disqualified. Perhaps therein is a term that we Catholics, including priests and bishops, could use in a non-partisan way, just as bar associations rate judicial candidates either “qualified” or “not qualified.” Pro-death candidates would be rated “not qualified,” even if that meant that all candidates in a particular race were rated “not qualified.”

  27. frjim4321 says:

    Sissy, I receive a letteer today that I suspect went out to many pastors from a “separation of church and state” organization. They reiterated that organizations are being monitored for speech that violates the tax-exemption. They listed judgments and fines against pat robinson and others.

    The letter was meant as a warning it was not a friendly letter. I suspect many pastors in the US reeceived it. It was intimidarting.

    (Bad typos – wearing distance lenses at using blackberry. )

  28. Sissy says:

    frjim4321, that is just as I suspected. I also suspect that certain denominations will never get a letter like that. I’ve witnessed with my own eyes that some preachers can openly campaign from the pulpit, year after year, with no consequences whatsoever. Thanks for that information, Father.

  29. PostCatholic says:

    Sissy: I can assure you that I have heard tales of, and in one instance actually held in my hands to read, similar letters sent to my Liberal Religion clergy friends.

  30. Sissy says:

    PostCatholic, I’ve seen the letters. They are normally quite generic “Dear Religious Leader” type boilerplate. In 2008, Americans for Separation of Church and State boasted they had sent out over 10,000 of them. My point was that it is well-documented that certain interest groups are permitted to electioneer in church with impunity, and that will be true this year, as well.

  31. Fern says:

    From what I hear, Catholics haven’t gotten the message and that President Obama will win again. We who read blogs like Fr. Z’s and others are of the same mind but there simply aren’t enough of us. We hear nothing from the pulpit. Catholics are still not being catechised. Pray, Pray, Pray.

  32. heway says:

    Amen, Archbishop!
    Father Jim, I am an old gal and survivor of the civil rights era. I used Alinsky technigues and admired(and still do )the late Msgr. John Eagan. They were right for the 60′s…but all that changed in the 70′s. I didn’t recognize the values that I fought for in the democratic platform. It was then that I realized I must mature to the republican or independent status. I found that many Bishops, priests and nuns speak about poverty as if they experienced it or had a life that shared poverty with others. How many have ever shopped in a grocery store, stood in line at a food bank, worked 3 jobs to keep food on the table? Those who have understand a catholic like Paul Ryan. We understand that belts must tighten and those who have used the system better grow up and act responsibly.
    I am glad the Archbishop is courageous and I’ll gladly go to jail with him. Abortion and partial birth abortion are most important and because we have not been watchful we are paying for our lack of humble steadfastness.

  33. jflare says:

    Judging by the comments I’m reading here and my own experience, I’ll say this:
    I suspect we’ll need to engage in one mighty nasty and difficult culture war to reinstate religion in the public square before our clergy will say too much with meaning. I suspect we’ll all be forced to suffer a great deal of ire–at least–before we see sense return to our nation.

    Militant secular factions have been on a warpath for some decades now, aimed at barring even the slightest whiff of religion from touching the public square. They’ve successfully convinced a fair portion of our younger generations that this nation has never truly believed in anything, but that we’re simply a loose conglomeration of people. I would rigorously dispute how valid THAT claim is, but that’s how they see it.

    I don’t see them giving up anytime soon.
    We may be forced to allow ourselves to be arrested merely for believing that God exists before we’ll retake our own nation.
    I hate being a cynic, but I can’t see any way that this will happen easily or peacefully.

  34. Pingback: Communion on the Tongue Devil Archbishop Chaput | Big Pulpit

  35. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Dr. Peters’s remark and Andrew Saucci’s development of it remind me of a little article, still highly relevant, written by that Church-of-England member C.S. Lewis (inventor of a special Oxford University course of lectures on political philosophy for history students, which he taught every year!) for that Church-of-England weekly newspaper ( and not the socialist rag of the same name!), The Guardian, published 10 January 1941 – when Hilter and Stalin had been cheerfully, murderously working together under the ‘Russo-German Treaty of Non-Agression’ for over 16 months (and 12 days before Hitler changed the terms by invading Russia – clearing the way for ‘Uncle Joe Stalin’ et suis to become ‘Allies’ of the western democracies and things like the truth about Katyn to be muffled away for the next half-century and more) – reprinted in 1970 under the title “Meditation on the Third Commandment”.

    Lewis frames it with approving references to Jacques Maritain’s Schosticism and Politics, including, “M. Maritain has hinted at the only way in which Christianity (as opposed to schismatics blasphemously claiming to represent it) can influence politics.”

    He says, “An interdenominational Christian Voters’ Society might draw up a list of assurances about ends and means which every member was expected to exact from any political party as the price of his support.” He thinks it might mean “a world where parties have to take care not to alienate Christians, instead of a world where Christians have to be ‘loyal’ to infidel parties” – among which he seems to include the Conservatives (for whose candidates I believe he voted, when that seemed morally justifiable).

  36. JonPatrick says:

    Fern, we shouldn’t get too discouraged. That is what the press which is in the tank for Obama, wants. They are trying to make it look as though is re-election is inevitable and it is not.

    We have a “lesser of 2 evils” situation here in Massachusetts. Both candidates for Senate (Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown) support “the right to choose”, although Brown has stated he opposes partial birth abortion and federal funding for abortion. Warren, the Democrat, appears to support the party plank which means unrestricted access, funding of Planned Parenthood, etc . Although it seems a Catholic should not vote for either candidate, one has to consider other factors such as who will control the Senate and thereby vote on the possible repeal of Obamacare, confirmation of judges including the likelihood of some Supreme Court vacancies, and other issues.

  37. JonPatrick says:

    That should be “his re-election” in the second sentence. I need to use the preview button!

  38. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Father, you write (quoting Buckley, whom I have long admired in many ways), “Vote for the most conservative candidate who can win. That said, I would vote for the corpse of Millard Fillmore if it meant the defeat of the present office holder.”

    Salva reverentia, does that suffice? Even pragmatically, in the probably not very long run? As Jewish and other Germans (et al.) in the late 1930s who ‘voted with their feet’ in the direction of Stalin probably thinking ‘anything is better than Hitler’ too soon discovered when the Soviets cheerfully shipped them back to the Nazis for imprisonment, torture, death, ‘whatever’, not even apparently notable contrasts are always what they seem.

    Did Mr. Romney not, while running for the Senate in 1994, answer the question of a reporter from the gay Massachusetts publication Bay Windows, “Why should the gay community support your campaign when Ted Kennedy has been a strong supporter of civil rights issues and the gay community?”, by saying, “Well, I think you’re partially right in characterizing Ted Kennedy as supportive of the gay community, and I respect the work and the efforts he’s made on behalf of the gay community and for civil rights more generally, and I would continue that fight” (in an interview which I understand to be still posted on the Bay Windows website) ? Did he not further add, “There’s something to be said for having a Republican who supports civil rights in this broader context, including sexual orientation” ? And, “When Ted Kennedy speaks on gay rights, he’s seen as an extremist. 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”?

    Was Mr. Romney not acting in keeping with this when, ten years later, in 2004, as Governor he quite gratuitously, single-handedly — without a mandate from the courts or the legislature, or authority under state law— instituted so-called ‘same-sex marriage’ in Massachusetts on his own initiative?

    I think of More’s response, in Man for All Seasons, to young Roper’s willingness to cut down all the laws to get after the devil, asking where he would hide when the devil turns and all the laws are down. Not only in the sense, that it does not matter whether it is Mr. Obama or Mr. Romney (of the apparently exceedingly heat-resistant feet) cutting down the civil laws, but in the sense that putting one’s truest moral judgement ‘on hold’ to vote for Mr. Romney (or anyone comparable in their past ‘achievements’ and opinions) seems to be cutting down the trees of natural, moral law oneself.

    So, I ask, is there any good proper casuistry as to why it would be morally permissible to vote for Mr. Romney (as it is clearly not so, to vote for Mr. Obama)?

    However improbable, and, so, imprudent, writing in the name of Millard Fillmore in the faithful hope that if enough people do so, Our Lord may graciously deign to raise him, like Lazarus, does at least seem morally permissible (however bad his post-Presidential record on civil rights for Catholics, etc.).

  39. frjim4321 says:

    They are normally quite generic “Dear Religious Leader” type boilerplate. In 2008, Americans for Separation of Church and State boasted they had sent out over 10,000 of them.

    Yep, that’s who it was from, it was signed by Barry Lynn from wwwDOTauDOTorg. We trashed it. I don’t really need another PAC telling what to and what not to do.

    From what I hear, Catholics haven’t gotten the message and that President Obama will win again.

    After yesterday it does seem like the reelection of the incumbent is a foregone conclusion. The opposition started the day trying to “reset” or “reboot” their efforts, then the leaked remarks to wealthy contributors were released.

    Mother Jones seemed to wait until the most vulnerable point to release the tapes. To me – and I know I am a minority here – it would seem an opportune time for +Chaput and all bishops to reset/reboot their pro-life agenda by not attempting to swing an election and returning to the Seamless Garment / Consistent Ethic of Life as promoted by Cardinal Bernadine of happy memory.

  40. Imrahil says:

    All due respect and friendly feelings of childly obedience towards His Excellency the Archbishop…

    but (following my regretful habit only to comment on such “but”s)…

    Rev’d dear @Fr. Jim hits the nail on the head in observing that the Archbishop did not broaden that to include what he thought others should do. And on the topic, I kind of agree with dear @wmeyer.

    If there is any sense at all in the “not being political” expected from the clergy, it is that a cleric’s personal opinions, if they really are such, should not even be made public. On the other hand, what a cleric, a fortiori a bishop, thinks a moral obligation either to take principally into account, or even (these cases can and do exist) to do or not do, he should proclaim as such, and not as a personal opinion.

    And just why do I have the feeling that His Excellency actually does want to exercise his magisterium which he has, and all the “according to my personal opinion”s only water it down to make it sound less offensive?

    Of course… coming to think of it… although a country which holds Freedom of Religion among its highest values may not like to hear it, but it does make sense not to spoil the relationship to one’s future government (which, of course, can quite possibly be Democrat). Not by lies, but perhaps even by holding back truth… A government will not like a community that tried to vote it down, and, democracy or no, liberty or no, life is hard in any country when the government doesn’t like you.

    Only… the Church is not, and arguably should not be, well competent in making her adversaries think she is less adversed to them than she is. We should be thankful: The ones who are in Church office are just unable to compromise essentials of the Faith, for even if they do and do so sincerely, the adversaries simply won’t believe them.

    On reasons alike to this, the bets are that a future Democrat administration will not like the Church anyway.

    Dear @Venerator Sti Lot,

    if you are seriously convinced that any candidate who has a serious chance of winning is the least evil of all candidates who have a serious chance of winning, casuistry definitively allows you to vote for him without any sin. If he sins after taking office it is not you, but he who sins.

    That said, introducing same-sex-marriage by decree is not only against natural law and the nonsensical humbug which same-sex-marriage is; it is also a case of the government assuming legislatory power in defiance of positive law and thus, almost by definition, a violation of the Constitution (assuming that the Constitution is one of separation of powers as we know them, as I don’t know the Constitution in question).

  41. wmeyer says:

    History shows clearly that a vote for a third party candidate–or worse, a write-in–works to the benefit of the incumbent. Those who choose to salve their consciences by not voting for either Romney or Obama effectively cast their vote for Obama. Oh, they may protest, wailing and gnashing their teeth, that they did no such thing. Such drama is the refuge of those who refuse to learn from history.

  42. frjim4321 says:

    History shows clearly that a vote for a third party candidate–or worse, a write-in–works to the benefit of the incumbent.

    wmeyer and I are starting out the day with an agreement!

  43. wmeyer says:

    wmeyer and I are starting out the day with an agreement!

    I may faint.

  44. Sissy says:

    “it would seem an opportune time for +Chaput and all bishops to reset/reboot their pro-life agenda by not attempting to swing an election and returning to the Seamless Garment / Consistent Ethic of Life as promoted by Cardinal Bernadine of happy memory.”

    It seems to me it would be wrong for bishops to promote an interpretation of the “Seamless Garment” statement that is contrary to the teachings of the Vatican and the clarification given by Cardinal Bernadine, himself. The Church is clear that the pre-eminent life issue is abortion; Cardinal Bernadine said later in life that he regretted the way in which his words had been turned into a loophole to vote for politicians who promote evil.

  45. wmeyer says:

    It seems to me that a very straightforward, yet non-partisan, message is possible: “Catholics may not, in conscience, vote for a pro-choice candidate. Faced with a candidate who is for unfettered abortion rights, and one who would permit abortions only in limited circumstances, though neither candidate is ideal, the latter choice is the only possible one.” No mention of names, parties, or other proscribed content. Yet the message would be clear. In homilies, it would be supported by clear teaching on the meaning of CCC 2271-2273.

    And let the IRS pound salt. A message true to Church teaching, which teaching predates by centuries the election at hand, and the laws relating to elections and messages from the pulpit, rationally cannot be cause for interference from the government.

  46. frjim4321 says:

    And let the IRS pound salt.

    Easy to say until they begin assessing fines, back taxes, and interest.

  47. wmeyer says:

    Easy to say until they begin assessing fines, back taxes, and interest.

    My point was that a message based on principles, not candidates, and founded on doctrine, is not in violation of any IRS rules. And come to that, the example of various preachers exhorting their congregations to vote for Obama–by name–would make a nice contrast in a jury case.

  48. PA mom says:

    Yes, Fr Jim, with guaranteed employment, housing and retirement benefits and no dependents, you are among the minority on this blog.
    For those of us who rely on the market for employment for ourselves, and in the future our children, who want to pass along to them a promising future, I greatly hope that the Archbishop and others make efforts to counterweight the malicious slander of the Republican Party and it’s candidate by the newspapers and other media, and bring the issues that are important to the security and future of the US back to the front of the discussion.
    I have officially lost my patience with the opposing political party and its lapdog media who claims that everything Romney says is an “error”, and every lie that Obama says is the truth.
    I should expect that someone of your position would notice that Romney is running the far more Christian campaign, gently correcting Obama, taking him to task for his actual deeds, calling him to answer for himself, instead of belittling him for existing, for being born into a successful family which invested in teaching him to do the same, insisting that there is no chance that he has any Charity within his concern for this country and it’s citizens. It is mean spirited, nihilistic campaign they are running, and we all deserve better than that.

  49. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    wmeyer in saying, “It seems to me that a very straightforward, yet non-partisan, message is possible: ‘Catholics may not, in conscience, vote for a pro-choice candidate. Faced with a candidate who is for unfettered abortion rights, and one who would permit abortions only in limited circumstances, though neither candidate is ideal, the latter choice is the only possible one’ ” -envisaging a “message” coming from whom? And in what sense “possible”? Does this not propose a petitio principii, as to the permissible before the Judgement Throne?

  50. Imrahil says:

    From the Bishops’ Conference, by pastoral letter.

    Is it, by the way, a tradition in the US (as it is in Germany) that a pastoral letter explicitly dealing with the onc-oming vote is issued and read out from the pulpit (which is metaphorical, I mean, of course, the ambo) on the Sunday before elections? If not, it should be.

  51. Sissy says:

    wmeyer said: “My point was that a message based on principles, not candidates, and founded on doctrine, is not in violation of any IRS rules”

    You’re quite right, wmeyer. Unfortunately, we’re currently living under a regime that finds it appropriate to “out” people who exercise free speech. This is a regime that sued Gallup polling because they didn’t respond favorably to emails from David Axelrod demanding changes in their methods. There is reason to fear, even when one is behaving lawfully. What our bishops are going to need is courage, and I pray they will find it.

  52. irishgirl says:

    Amen, PA mom, amen!
    I am so tired of this long-drawn-out ‘campaign’! Enough already, I say! Basta!
    Good for Archbishop Chaput to speak up (and he seems to be one of the few Catholic Bishops who do), but I sure wish that our shepherds, both Bishops and priests, be more forceful from the pulpit about the evil of re-electing Obama for another term. And SAY that’s it evil!
    Four years ago, over FIFTY PERCENT of Catholics voted for Obama! I still shake my head over that fact! Why were we so stupid?
    I certainly didn’t vote for him, and will not this November! That’s for sure!
    And God help our nation if Americans are blind enough to do it again!

  53. wmeyer says:

    There is reason to fear, even when one is behaving lawfully. What our bishops are going to need is courage, and I pray they will find it.

    Sissy, I agree with your observations, but would point out that if we do not fight for our freedom, we have relinquished it.

  54. Sissy says:

    “if we do not fight for our freedom, we have relinquished it.”

    Most certainly; and I fear that we have reached a crucial juncture in our history. If this lawless administration is not replaced, even darker days are ahead. We will not easily regain the freedoms we have already lost.

  55. wmeyer says:

    Most certainly; and I fear that we have reached a crucial juncture in our history.

    Agreed. If we suffer a second term of O, I have grave doubts whether there will be an election in 2016.

  56. Sissy says:

    wmeyer: incidentally and OT, did you happen to see the video of the Assistant Attorney General refusing to answer a Congressman Trent Franks’s inquiry as to whether the current administration plans to enforce the UN “blasphemy” laws? That was a scary.

  57. wmeyer says:

    Sissy: I have now, thanks. I wish Congressman Franks had rephrased thus: “Will you agree that the present administration’s DoJ is bound to support the Bill of Rights, in all particulars?”

  58. Sissy says:

    wmeyer: Let me predict Ass. Att. Gen. Perez’s response:

    “ummm, again, Congressman, it’s hard to say with any specificity without more information of the particular circumstances under discussion” AAARRRGGGH.

  59. robtbrown says:

    wmeyer says:

    It seems to me that a very straightforward, yet non-partisan, message is possible: “Catholics may not, in conscience, vote for a pro-choice candidate. Faced with a candidate who is for unfettered abortion rights, and one who would permit abortions only in limited circumstances, though neither candidate is ideal, the latter choice is the only possible one.”

    If by “in conscience”, you mean morally, i.e., sub poena peccati, such a statement cannot be released because it is not true.

    What would be true is the following: ” Catholics may not, in conscience, vote for a pro-choice candidate because he is pro choice.”

  60. robtbrown says:

    Re 1st Amendment issues (religion) and the IRS:

    As long as no specific candidate is endorsed, there should be no problem with the IRS.

    On the other hand:

    Both the administration and certain Pro Abortion groups are more than capable of trying to intimidate using the threat of losing tax free status. Of course, religious groups are not the only type of tax free organization.

  61. SKAY says:

    The “new black panthers” leader has said in a recent interview that they will be making sure that “our people” will not be intimidated at the polls. Given the history of Eric Holder and this AG office — this group will not be held to the same standard as others. They will be free to intimidate.

    The Constitution seems to mean nothing to this administration. I am not surprised that the assistant AG answered in the manner that he did, Sissy. Thanks for making me aware of one more
    outrage from this lawless group. Perhaps we need to start reading up on Sharia so we know how not to offend.

    “If we suffer a second term of O, I have grave doubts whether there will be an election in 2016.”
    Sadly — I agree wmeyer.
    Along with everthing else, Obama is taking us over a fiscal cliff at 90 miles an hour–soon to be 100 mph when Obamacare kicks in. History has shown us that socialism does not work well once you run out of other peoples money. Obama will then need four more years to “really” make it work.

  62. robtbrown says:

    Re abortion and obligation toward the poor.

    Both are moral precepts, but the prohibition of abotion is a specific precept. We are all obligated in every case to avoid abortion.

    On the other hand, the obligation toward the poor is a general precept. We are not all obligated toward it in every case. Thus: If someone walks by 10 beggars, there is no moral obligation to give to each one. And so we are not obligated to support every program that says it is “for the poor”.

  63. PostCatholic says:

    History shows clearly that a vote for a third party candidate–or worse, a write-in–works to the benefit of the incumbent.

    I guess I’ll pick up the contrarian slack. Most would say that Ralph Nader’s candidacy in the 2000 Presidential election worked to the detriment of the incumbent Vice President, with the result being that the race in key battleground states was so close that the outcome shifted.

  64. Girgadis says:

    “History shows clearly that a vote for a third party candidate–or worse, a write-in–works to the benefit of the incumbent. ”

    Tell that to George H. Bush. I don’t remember by how many percentage points he lost to Bill Clinton, but I think it’s fair to say Ross Perot’s presence in the race did nothing to help the incumbent in that particular instance.

  65. wmeyer says:

    Girgadis, one datapoint is not a trend.

  66. PostCatholic says:

    I think we’re at two-to-one, for the three most recent Presidential elections in which there was a third party candidate, wmeyer. I’d suggest that it very much depends on whom the major candidates and how their constituencies are formed are to determine who is most hurt by a minor candidate. A few years ago, a high school friend of mine won a multi-candidate race as a write-in.

  67. Regardless of whether voting for the lesser pro-death candidate is moral, it is absolutely impractical and counterproductive. When the choice itself is unacceptable, the only sensible choice is not to choose. Otherwise, we keep getting the same unacceptable choices year after year. If enough people simply refused to vote for any pro-abortion candidates, period, we would not be having this perennial discussion. And after what I just read about Romney, he won’t be getting my vote either. I might just write in Millard Fillmore rather than throw away my vote on either Romney or Obama. And if all my vote is worth is to elect unqualified candidates, I may as well throw it away because it is a worthless vote. I’d rather just leave my ballot blank in protest.

  68. Catholic Minnesotan says:

    RobtBrown,
    You make the claim that wmeyer is wrong in his statement on the moral obligation involved in voting for a pro-choice candidate. I actually agree with him.
    According to Catholic Answers, there are 5 non-negotiable issues which one cannot support with a vote, either directly or indirectly. #1 is abortion.
    Looking for further info, I found that
    “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” (FC 42).
    Which means that we actually should not vote for a supporter of abortion, even if that is not why we support them.

  69. jflare says:

    “I’d rather just leave my ballot blank in protest.”

    Sadly enough, Andrew, I have literally considered the merits of simply refusing to vote for ANY candidate. ..And dismissed it outright. I’ve been immensely disgusted with the characteristics of our candidates for two or three elections now. I had the thought that, should the vast majority of us fail to vote, we might succeed in throwing the election into the House.
    I checked an online text of the Constitution though: Article II, which discusses the Executive Branch, describes how a President shall be chosen by the vote of electors, the number of electors for each State having been determined by the number of Congresspeople from each State.
    Unlike the case of a fairly normal legislative vote, I see no requirement for a quorum of any particular number or ratio of people to be achieved. In other words:
    One candidate will be elected to the Presidency, whether any of us vote or not.

    It would be wise to at least TRY to influence the choice of our Chief Executive.

  70. robtbrown says:

    Catholic in Minnesota,

    The text you cite does not support your position.

    “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”

    Note the last phrase, beginning with “may . . “. That means we are not morally obligated not to support a pro abortion candidate .

    The question is not whether it’s a good idea to vote against pro abortion candidates–I agree with that. Rather, it’s whether we are morally obligated to vote against them. I maintain that we are morally obligated not to vote for a pro abortion candidate because he is pro abortion.

    As an example: There’s nothing wrong with a woman marrying a rich man. It’s a different situation, however, if she’s marrying him primarily because he’s rich.

  71. Sissy says:

    robtbrown: I know that then Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in a letter than one could vote for a pro-abortion candidate for “proportionate” reasons (so long as one didn’t vote for that person precisely because he is pro-abortion). I can’t find the source, but I seem to remember that there was later guidance as to what “proportionate” means, in which the Holy Father explained that abortion is actually the most serious issue and a non-negotiable. Here’s what Cardinal Burke had to say two years ago when questioned on this very point:

    ““You can never vote for someone who favors absolutely the right to choice of a woman to destroy a human life in her womb or the right to a procured abortion,” he added plainly.He said his words are not meant as a criticism of how people vote, but they are “simply announcing the truth, helping people to discriminate right from wrong in terms of their own activities.”

  72. stilbelieve says:

    “America’s Catholic bishops have been walking a fine line as they strive to avoid appearances of partisanship”

    Why do they have to be timid in showing their preference for God over Satan, good over evil? I don’t understand what they are afraid of. These are spiritual issues, not political. And if they are political it’s because some one made them political, but that still shouldn’t stop bishops and clergy from speaking out on them, boldly. Furthermore, it is Catholic teaching that it is a sin against the fifth commandment “to deny any person her or his rights” a “sin against justice as well as charity.” It goes on to say, “This is particularly true in the case of joining an organization (such as the Nazi Party or the Ku Klux Klan) which promotes racial, ethnic or religious hatred.” (Life in Christ – A Catholic Catechism for Adults, published 1995) Well, if it is “particularly a sin to join an organization that denies one their human rights” then joining the Democrat Party, which denies the right to life to the unborn, must be a sin!

    So, if it is a sin for Catholics to join the Democrat Party, then it certainly must be a sin for Catholics to vote for the Democrat Party. You can’t distance yourself from the party’s responsibility for abortion-on-demand remaining the law-of-the-land resulting in the murder of over 52,000,000 babies, by excusing yourself saying, “But I don’t support abortion.” If you give your name identification and/or vote to that party, you are supporting abortion whether you like it or not. You are giving them the power to carry out their policy on abortion.

  73. dan daly says:

    The problem is defining “pro-life”. How many unborn children can you support killing and still be “pro-life”? Taken at his word, Mr. Romney supports killing unborn children:
    -If their mother claims she was raped.
    -If their mother claims she was party to incest.
    -If their mother kills them with a drug labled as a contraceptive
    -If a doctor says their mother’s life or health is at risk if she doesn’t kill them.
    So in essence, Mr. Romney and President Obama have the same position: that some people may not be murdered, but other people may be murdered. “Pro-life” may sound nicer than anti-abortion, but it looses a lot of clarity in translation and has resulted in the collapse of intellectual honesty and consistency on the part of many “pro-lifers”.

    I don’t think Archbishop Chaput’s comment necessarily has the meaning that many are giving it (a veiled jab at Obama or a veiled endorsement of Romney). Perhaps he can’t vote for either of them. If someone supports abortion in some cases and calls themselves pro-choice what is the difference from someone who supports abortion in some cases and calls themselves pro-life?

    Pax Christi

  74. bookworm says:

    In a situation where both or all the major party candidates in a race support some form of abortion rights (i.e. none is completely pro-life), and there are minor party candidates who are pro-life but not likely, or even possible, to win, there are three possible morally acceptable choices:

    1. Vote for the major party candidate who is less aggressively pro-abortion, in order to limit the potential damage caused by the other candidate.
    2. Vote for a pro-life, minor party candidate or write-in, even if he/she cannot win.
    3. Abstain from voting for any candidate.

    Although each of these choices is morally acceptable and not sinful (based on my reading of Evangelium Vitae and many other magisterial statements on the topic), I don’t think they are all equally wise or prudent. The prudent choice, I believe, in most cases is #1. For those who object that a party like the GOP that keeps putting up unacceptable candidates needs to be “sent a message”, I say, the time to send that message is in the primary or caucus stage (and I believe that was done via the unexpectedly high levels of support for Rick Santorum).

  75. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    bookworm: if you judge it a responsible use of your time, could you elaborate why, “based on [your] reading of Evangelium Vitae and many other magisterial statements on the topic”, you conclude that it ” is morally acceptable” to “Vote for the major party candidate who is less aggressively pro-abortion, in order to limit the potential damage caused by the other candidate”?

    I do not say it is not so, but I cannot clearly see why it might be, and have seen no good exposition of the matter!