A bishop on voting and putting your soul in jeopardy

From AP via a priest friend, about His Excellency Most Rev. David Ricken of Green Bay.  Bp. Ricken was once Bishop of Cheyenne in Wyoming, and he was a true friend of Wyoming Catholic College.  I suppose he is now a fan of the Packers.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Green Bay Bishop David Ricken is urging parishioners to vote against candidates who support abortion or gay marriage.

Ricken recently sent parishioners a letter saying voting for candidates who support what he calls “intrinsically evil” positions could “put your own soul in jeopardy.”

Ricken’s letter says the Catholic Church has a responsibility to speak out on moral issues. His letter goes on to note principals parishioners should keep in mind when voting, including abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and gay marriage.

The Green Bay Press-Gazette reports the bishop’s letter does not specify who should get parishioners’ votes.

The Catholic Diocese of Green Bay has 304,000 members in 16 counties.

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19 Responses to A bishop on voting and putting your soul in jeopardy

  1. Alan Aversa says:

    Wow, a friend of WCC! God bless him.

  2. Not only a friend, but a co-Founder of the institution. Wyoming’s loss was Wisconsin’s great gain!

  3. drea916 says:

    Unfortunately, the folks who insist on voting while “looking at the whole picture” (voting democrat/pro-abortion) don’t belive people can go to hell. I had lunch with two girlfriends this weekend. I thought that they were pretty devout (we met at a catholic YA group and neither one uses birth control.) However, when I tell them the above point (as charitably as I can) they laugh it off. They just don’t believe their soul can be in danger, and it certainly can’t be by how they vote! This is where we need to hear it from priests. Laity, no matter how engaged, can only do so much. The same people who vote pro-abortion are the same people who don’t believe in sin or hell (or that hell is just for very, very bad people, not them.)

  4. MisterH says:

    Inspirational election homily: Fr. Sammie Maletta’s stirring defense of moral truth and religious freedom!

    THIS INSPIRATIONAL HOMILY IS WORTH YOUR TIME — IT IS THAT GOOD!

    View the homily at the link:

    http://allhands-ondeck.blogspot.com/2012/10/inspirational-election-homily-fr-sammie.html

  5. BobP says:

    Forget the labelling and voting, how does one know before the election which candidate will be more effective in reducing the abortion rate?

  6. Sissy says:

    ” how does one know before the election which candidate will be more effective in reducing the abortion rate?”

    Chances are the guy who thinks infanticide should be legal is a bad bet. I’d start my analysis right there, I think.

  7. MisterH says:

    ” how does one know before the election which candidate will be more effective in reducing the abortion rate?”

    One might want to avoid that candidate that opposed congressional legislation to ban gender-specific abortions.

  8. rodin says:

    “…how does one know before the election which candidate will be more effective in reducing the abortion rate?”

    It seems entirely reasonable to judge a candidate by performance in whatever office he/she/it may have held or be holding. While there may be some question about one candidate, that needs to be weighed against obvious certainty about his/her/its opposition.

    Cheers for His Excellency Most Rev. David Ricken. He said essentially what we heard out here in CA in our Latin Mass Community.

  9. ladytatslace says:

    Kudos to Bp Ricken, we were read a letter at Mass Sunday from our Diocesan Administrator David Kagen, that said basically the same thing. Many were “scandalized” because there is supposed to be separation of Church and state, and here the Church was “telling us how to vote”. In fact a State Representative candidate who claims to be Catholic, went to the news media including live TV to denounce the letter as inappropriate intrusion by the Catholic Church in the government of our country.
    We need more letters from the Bishops telling us how to be proper Catholics in all aspects of our lives.
    Maybe then we would be able to get society back on track.

  10. ladytatslace says:

    Oh, Bishop Kagan is our administrator because Bishop Samuel Aquila was named Archbishop of Denver. We miss him very much and are praying for another strong Bishop for our Diocese to be named soon.

  11. jhayes says:

    Here is part of an article by theologian David Cloutier of Mount St. Mary’s University on “intrinsic evil”

    the word “intrinsic” does not denote gravity: “intrinsic evil” isn’t just a fancy way of saying “very evil.” And speaking of ecology, the native habitat of the term “instrinsic evil” is moral theology; it does not apply in any straightforward way to civil laws. It applies to acts, not to the effects of policy.

    The opposite of “intrinsic evil” is “extrinsically evil.” An act that is extrinsically evil is one that might not be evil in other circumstances or with a different intention. Acts which are “intrinsically evil” have a built-in intention that is always contrary to the human good, even if they may seem to bring about good consequences. Lying involves the intent to deceive, and the intent to deceive is always wrong. If we presume marriage, described in a certain way, to be an important human good, then we will recognize that adulterous acts can never be compatible with marriage—even if one’s declared intent is to help one’s marriage by “spicing it up.”

    Moral theologians will continue to debate which acts, described in what way, fall into the category of the “intrinsically evil.” But the case of adultery highlights how inappropriate the term “intrinsic evil” can be in discussions about civil law. After all, adultery is both intrinsically evil and grave…and yet very few people are hankering to recover civil laws against adultery. So a moral category that seems to promise clarity and purity loses its clarity and purity as soon as it is applied in the public sphere. Not everything the civil law forbids is intrinsically evil, and not all intrinsic evils ought to be forbidden by law.

    http://commonwealmagazine.org/‘instrinsic-evil’-public-policy

  12. acardnal says:

    “adultery is both intrinsically evil and grave…and yet very few people are hankering to recover civil laws against adultery.”

    In many jurisdictions, one can still sue in court for divorce on the grounds the spouse has committed adultery. It is one of the Ten Commandments after all.

    “Lying involves the intent to deceive, and the intent to deceive is always wrong.”

    If this statement is true, then the use of stealth technology, camouflage and decoys in warfare is “always wrong.” The examples of deception in war, espionage, undercover law enforcement, etc., is a long one. There was a very good discussion of this subject some months ago on this very blog.

    jvhale, thank you for the integrity of posting the link to the entire article. I read it, and it is a liberal political rant. Moreover, it is nothing more than an attack on Bishop Morlino (and indirectly on other bishops) and a pro-Democrat opinion piece (which is why it was published in Commonweal magazine).

    His last two paragraphs are enlightening of his bias:
    “I fear this term’s (intrinsically evil act) use has become ideological. It is no longer a technical term used to analyze moral action, but an intimidating buzzword used to elevate certain issues to prominence…issues that happen to be aligned with one major political party. This use is ideological because it serves to distort the overall teaching of the church by diminishing the importance of other issues that may be equally grave, or even graver, but do not fall under an absolute norm. The very selective use of the term unwittingly demonstrates that political prudence is always necessary for dealing with moral absolutes. By decriminalizing adultery (or “sodomy” or any of a host of acts that are always wrong), we acknowledge that political bodies can and do make prudential decisions about what are the most grave evils threatening a given society. These decisions are not simply a matter of identifying which issues involve intrinsically evil acts and which do not.

    The church’s teaching about intrinsically evil acts has a great deal of integrity, but it loses that integrity when it is put into the service of thinly veiled partisanship. The church needs to make sure that the desire to be influential in the public square does not end up trumping the complexity and integrity of its own tradition.”

    Mr Cloutier appears to be defending VP Biden’s position and so many other “catholic” politicians claim that they are “personally opposed to abortion but cannot impose their belief on others”.

    I hope that Mr. Cloutier is NOT teaching in Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary, too!!

  13. jhayes says:

    Acardnal wrote:

    i don’t know about the seminary. According to his bio “he teaches courses in moral theology and Catholic social thought, and also directs a year-long seminar on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition for tenure-track faculty across the University.”

    http://catholicmoraltheology.com/contributors/david-cloutier/

    If I remmber correctly, both Augustine and Thomas Aquinas argued that human law need not necessarily parallel divine law. Their example was that prostitution should probably not be made illegal

  14. acardnal says:

    correction: I wrote “jvhale” and meant “jhayes.”

  15. Southern Catholic says:

    I read it, and it is a liberal political rant. Moreover, it is nothing more than an attack on Bishop Morlino (and indirectly on other bishops) and a pro-Democrat opinion piece (which is why it was published in Commonweal magazine).

    Yup, that sums it up well. Someone needs to inform him that the Church does reject socialism and that it is the democrats that are deregulating sodomy laws, at least in the South.

  16. jhayes says:

    Regarding Aquinas and Augustine:

    ST I-II 98.1 Again it must be observed that the end of human law is different from the end of Divine law. For the end of human law is the temporal tranquillity of the state, which end law effects by directing external actions, as regards those evils which might disturb the peaceful condition of the state. On the other hand, the end of the Divine law is to bring man to that end which is everlasting happiness;  

    ST II-II 10.11 although God is all-powerful and supremely good, nevertheless He allows certain evils to take place in the universe, which He might prevent, lest, without them, greater goods might be forfeited, or greater evils ensue. Accordingly in human government also, those who are in authority, rightly tolerate certain evils, lest certain goods be lost, or certain greater evils be incurred: thus Augustine says (De Ordine ii, 4): “If you do away with harlots, the world will be convulsed with lust.”   

  17. jhayes says:

    And:

    ST II-II 78.1.3 Human laws leave certain things unpunished, on account of the condition of those who are imperfect, and who would be deprived of many advantages, if all sins were strictly forbidden and punishments appointed for them.

  18. acardnal says:

    jhayes said,” If I remmber correctly, both Augustine and Thomas Aquinas argued that human law need not necessarily parallel divine law. Their example was that prostitution should probably not be made illegal.”

    To the best of my knowledge I would not dispute that both Aquinas and Augustine felt that way about prostitution and that Aquinas believed that divine law and human law always had to coincide. However, there is a hierarchy of sin just as there is a hierarchy of truth. Prostitution – and by extension fornication and adultery – is not even close to being proportional to the grave sin and intrinsic evil of abortion. I do not believe either of them condoned the killing of innocent and defenseless human beings (abortion) nor would they suggest that society legalize it. One could argue that Augustine’s Just War theory could be invoked to militate against those such as Biden, Obama and the Democratic Party’s Platform which fosters and funds the deaths of millions of defenseless and innocent babies per year!

  19. acardnal says:

    clarification: “I would not dispute . . . that Aquinas believed that human law did not always have to coincide with divine law.” Sorry.