The question every Catholic must ask before casting a vote

Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review Online has a good piece wherein she looks at the GOP VP choice, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-W1) and what His Eminence Timothy Card. Dolan has to say about him, and about the “Catholicity” of Ryan’s controversial budget proposals.  She also mentions Bp. Morlino‘s (of Madison, WI) comments about Congressman Ryan.

Read the whole thing HERE.

At the end of her piece, Lopez has this:

This is a big moment for Catholic voters to step back from their party affiliation,” Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chairman of a new religious-liberty committee of the bishops’ conference, told me in an interview last week, just before Mitt Romney’s announcement about Ryan. Advising Catholic voters, Archbishop Lori said: “The question to ask is this: Are any of the candidates of either party, or independents, standing for something that is intrinsically evil, evil no matter what the circumstances? If that’s the case, a Catholic, regardless of his party affiliation, shouldn’t be voting for such a person.”

Do I hear an “Amen!”?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Sissy says:

    Hallelujah! I’m happy to see our leaders giving clear guidance. Although, guidance on this particular choice really shouldn’t be needed. How any Catholic could vote for a man who openly supports infanticide is beyond my understanding.

  2. wmeyer says:

    A key phrase in the article is “prudential judgment.” It is not prudential to spend money we do not have, nor to suspend all application of immigration law in the name of “social justice.”

    We have lived through decades of politicians pandering to every (minority) interest group under the sun, and writing into existence new entitlements and bureaus. It is time, and past time, for the executive and legislative branches to go through fiscal rehabilitation. They need to learn that cutting the rate of increase in spending is not a budget cut.

  3. mamajen says:

    Our bishops need to be more specific. For liberals and some squishy moderates, “intrinsically evil” describes a lot of things that ought to rank well below abortion, but which they think are very important. Bishop Morlino’s quote toward the end of the article is pretty good in that regard.

  4. Sissy says:

    Agreed, mamajen. I know that instruction on the criteria for making a choice has been provided in the past, but it needs to be emphasized repeatedly. I’m not sure it will make a difference when liberals vote, but at least the fig leaf they’ve been sheltering behind will be denied to them.

  5. w0343009 says:

    What about torture? Is it an intrinsic evil? If both candidates support torture of terrorists can we vote in the election at all? I have a Catholic friend who thinks this issue disqualifies both candidates. I feel torture (or at least close to it, ie. waterboarding) can be permissible in some circumstances.

  6. Sword40 says:


  7. dominic1955 says:

    Its clear to those who really know what is up exactly what they are saying. No, they are not saying to vote for any particular candidate, but they are basically saying who you shouldn’t be voting for.

    My own opinion is that too many Catholics (cultural, probably) are also cultural Democrats. Their family were Democrats when one could honestly be a member of either party and there was little or nothing morally objectionable about either party’s platform. It seemed like all of us were, as most Catholics in the States are descendents from Southern and Eastern European backgrounds, not to mention the Irish. Back in the day, the Episcopalians and other respectable WASP-y groups were “The Republican Party at prayer” and looked down on us. So, it was natural that we’d be more inclined towards the not as WASP-y party.

    Now, the Democrat Party has become the showcase of every degenerately nutty fringe minority issue under the sun in the national debate yet some Catholics truly have become partisans rather than Catholics and haven’t changed their political affiliation or adequately worked to check the advances of the lunatic left in their party such that they could vote with a clear conscience. The bishops are absolutely correct in this-Catholics need to step back from mindless party affiliation and vote as Catholics.

  8. wanda says:


  9. JimGB says:

    I just became aware of a website launched by a group of Wisconsin Catholics called “Pray for Paul Ryan” encouraging people to pray for him that he has a change of heart on his budget. Apart frm the asinine pretense that the Chairman of the House Budget Committee is the sole responsible person for the federal budget, the website is a blatant exercise in partisanship, with an “oh by the way” type comment that we should should pray for Biden, another “devout Catholic” for his stance on abortion. I sent the group an e-mail saying that they should be shamed of themselves for this nakedly partisan website.

  10. TomG says:

    Over to you, frjim.

  11. jasoncpetty says:

    I wish some bishops would just come right out and connect the dots between not voting for someone advocating intrinsic evil and an actual person. As someone noted above, liberals will just wrest that statement to their own destruction and say, well, I AGREE, Mitt Romney supports an intrinsic evil, so I could never vote for HIM.

    SAY A NAME, Excellencies! WHO can Catholics not vote for? It is literally the case that not everyone gets your cute little hints. Don’t be afraid of the IRS.

  12. bernadette says:

    So what exactly does this mean? Romney supposedly is pro-abortion which I deplore. But I don’t want to hand over a victory to Obama to have four more years to destroy what is left of our country. This is what will happen if serious Catholics vote for a third candidate. I am really torn about this.

  13. wmeyer says:

    jasoncpetty, I agree. Although I do think that if our priests would simply make clear in their homilies that you cannot be pro-choice and Catholic, that would wake ’em up in the pews!

    Too many of our neighbors continue to think they can pick and choose what to believe.

  14. wmeyer says:

    bernadette, this is precisely the point I try to make to those who think they can abstain, or vote for a 3rd party candidate. History shows that the result will be against us. And though I am not a Romney fan, I shall vote to remove O.

  15. jessicahoff says:

    That trumpet is not quite giving the certain sound needed. Abortion is evil and it must be stopped. no doubt Mr. Romney will be little use here, but he is not Mr. Obama, and the latter’s views on the subject are not those which, were I to have the good fortune to be an American, would allow me to vote for him.

  16. Johnno says:


    History also shows that that’s precisely the way in which you will be eventually become trapped to the point of no return. The devil presents you with two evils in each hand. One a great evil. The other a lesser evil. He doesn’t expect you to pick the greater evil, the lesser evil is good enough for him. I understand the situation and it is a dilemma. But you wouldn’t be in this state if originally you’d have like C.S. Lewis said, a long time ago, stuck to your principles of never compromising and not taking what was in either of the Devil’s hands, but instead chooseing another third option that he doesn’t want you to consider, whcih is sticking to doing the right thing. Voting third party may well hand over victory to Obama. But it will also be a step in reclaiming what it right and punishing the Republican party for its inactivity. In time more people will wake up and send a message that they no longer trust their government and the will no longer be trapped by the 2 party system oroubouros. It is a long and narrow and harder road, but you’re going to have to take it sooner or later. Had many woken up and taken it earlier, it’s like you wouldn’t be in this mess. Frankly, it may well be too late, in which case playing the 2 part game is only good in delaying the inevitable. This is a lesson about why it is never good to compromise even the first time. Comrpomises with evil will always be to evil’s gain. And the liberal values of today become the conservative values of tomorrow, while the liberal values of tomorrow grow even more grotesque.

    Anyway, it may also be strategic to vote for Romney now (if he’s nominated in Tampa by the delegates, rather than being the media and establishment favorite to run against Obama to maintain the status quo), and then go third party later… but then again what is to prevent teh same scenario (worries about a majority going Democrat) from again being at teh forefront of your mind, forcing you again to choose the lesser of two evils? The time to break teh chain must come sooner rather than later. The longer you delay, the worse the situation might go. Know this. You enemies never compromised and always stuck to their principles for years, no matter how dishonest. That it why they have gotten where they have now, whereas we have continually been cedeing ground.

    Another option still exists for the time being. That Ron Paul will instead be nominated instead of Romney in Tampa, [ROFL!] and he’ll seek to reduce the size of government and cut government off from special interest groups so it will stick to doing it’s job instead of defining what is moral or not. Pray that this might be so.

  17. lucy says:

    I know of a lot of “thinking” Catholics who say they cannot vote for Romney either. What, then, do we say to them to make them see that if they stay home or vote for a third party candidate that they will be voting for Obama in the long run? I can’t seem to convince them of what they are going to help accomplish by doing this.

  18. Sissy says:

    bernadette, Gov. Romney’s position is pro-life.

  19. chcrix says:

    Mr. Romney is against abortion and against Obamacare (i.e. Romney care on a national level). At least that is his position today.

    Mr. Obama was against unconstitutional wars, torture and rendition – or at least so he said a few years back.

    It is splendid that His excellency the Archbishop of Baltimore warns Catholics against voting for intrinsic evil. There is plenty of it to go around. And yes, it probably means you can’t vote ethically.

    But that too is an expression of political will. Right now the Presidency is usually decided by half of those voting – and those voting are typically only roughly half of those eligible. The figure is lower on off year elections.

    Get that down to half of a quarter instead of half of a half and we could start to see some progress.

  20. smcollinsus says:

    I’m sorry. Cardinal Dolan is so much on the right side of things. But I disagree with his backing of “entitlement programs”. His only concern seems to be that simply administer the programs so that they don’t go broke. I believe the the government having programs to help the poor should be the last option. Catholics, from the hierarchy to the women religious all the way to the laity, should in charity be helping without resorting to the secular government. IOW, that’s our jobs as Catholics and Christians to help the poor – not the government’s job. And helping the poor by keeping them poor is NOT HELPING!

  21. jeffreyquick says:

    “Some of the most fundamental issues for the formation of a Catholic conscience are as follows: sacredness of human life from conception to natural death, marriage, religious freedom and freedom of conscience, and a right to private property. Violations of the above involve intrinsic evil — that is, an evil which cannot be justified by any circumstances whatsoever.” –Bp. Morlino.

    Given that both parties regularly violate the right to property, and countenance bankers violating the right to property, and given that certain popular interpretations of the social teaching of the Church violate the right of property, just what is a Catholic to do?

  22. imnotpete says:

    (I wrote this in pieces over the last few hours at work and only now can post it, but hopefully it’s not too out of date!)

    Fr. Z, I have a question on this topic. You have an amazingly informative blog, by the way; I have been reading for a few months and always learn something new. Now on to my questions/comments:

    We all know abortion is an intrinsic evil and must not be supported. What of extrajudicial, non-military assassinations (authorized by the NDAA, supported by both frontrunners, and murder, in my book), and what about violations of the Just War Doctrine (again supported by both frontrunners – both supported the war on Iraq, and both have been agitating against Iran)? Are those not also intrinsic evils? If so, neither major party candidate is a valid Catholic choice (this is a decision I came to myself several months ago).

    From Wikipedia: “According to a new 2011 study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, ‘The US Catholic population is currently 77.7 million.'” 77 million out of ~300 million, in a nation where less than half the population votes, would seem to be enough to do amazing things with a good third party candidate.

    For those who think a vote for a third party is a waste, I wrote this essay a few days ago on the topic, and I would welcome your comments (here or there):

  23. mamajen says:

    Wow, I didn’t expect my earlier point to be demonstrated in this very thread. It’s unfortunate that we should have to prioritize human life, but it’s plain to see that the murder of MILLIONS of innocent human beings who never had a chance to serve God’s purpose on earth is the most evil act committed by mankind. How many of those babies might have grown up to solve the problems that some people think are as evil as abortion? War and murder has existed since pretty much the beginning of mankind. I don’t expect it to go away. But how can we even hope for that to cease when people think it’s perfectly okay to kill babies? Just war is a gray area. Abortion is not.

    “imnotpete”, you really think that 77 million Catholics are going to band together and vote for a single third party candidate? Really? Who would that person be? Catholics are as divided as anyone else–more than half of them voted for Obama, the most pro-abortion candidate ever. It would take a miracle, and I don’t think God cares to intervene in that way.

    Reading through many of these comments reminds me of that joke about that guy who drowned in a flood–after turning down help from a boat, helicopter, etc., he asked God why He didn’t save his life.

    Shouldn’t have brought my iPad on vacation.

  24. bernadette says:

    I am not convinced that Romney is pro-life, he has certainly waffled in the past. OTOH I have a fear that if Obama wins the election it may be the last election, considering the way he has ignored and trampled the Constitution. I may be paranoid or alarmist and I truly hope that is the case. I will be the first to admit it if proven wrong. I think Romney will be more open to pressure from his constituency to support pro-life legislation. We certainly can’t say that about Obama. And politicians lie all the time so whom do we believe?
    Right now I intend to vote for Romney. I don’t have the fortitude to watch the deliberate destruction of our country for four more years.

  25. everett says:

    Particularly for Catholics in non-battleground states (like myself in CA), this is the perfect election to support 3rd party candidates. Until we can change the two-party system, we’ll regularly be left with occasions where we have to choose between candidates who support lots of intrinsic evil, and candidates who might “only” support some intrinsic evil. This will be the second presidential election in a row where I’ve voted third party.

  26. jflare says:

    After reading through some of these comments, I think it reasonable to offer a few ideas:

    – Saying that Gov Romney presents the staunch pro-life concern I dream of..likely stretches the concept a great deal. Even so, we had our chance back during primary season to encourage and seek candidates that would better represent and enact our views. If we got a less than stellar candidate, perhaps we should demand greater moral accountability from our elected officials and candidates in general. If we don’t, we get the candidates we have.

    – I have found most critiques of wars to be downright alarming.
    — I’ve heard many complaints insisting that Iraq or some other conflict likely was unjust. Well, when you consider that we haven’t insisted on actively promoting genuine moral beliefs and behavior in the public square, we needn’t be shocked when our wars seem darn seedy. If we don’t insist on good habits in general, we needn’t be surprised when very BAD habits seize hold.
    — I’ve long been disturbed by the comprehend the nature of one armed conflict or another. I find it disconcerting that, in spite of Saddam’s regime having repeatedly violated treaty agreements and demonstrated grave disdain for human rights, our bishops hounded Pres Bush for having acted. Strangely, even though we had ample cause for doubt in Libya and elsewhere, our bishops somehow saw fit to slightly PRAISE Pres Obama for having directed our troops to fight. One wonders whether the bishops’ sentiments might be unduly influenced by which party holds sway in the White House, or if perhaps the bishops have too low a regard for defending our national interests. Surely they seem all too willing to sacrifice America’s needs for the “greater good” of the international community.

    – Dr Paul has seemed to obliquely state that he’d be fine with eliminating various federal laws aimed at stiffly reducing some the existence of illegal drugs. Sadly, he does not appear concerned with ensuring that each state have both the apparatus to enforce drug laws, nor does it seem to bother him that marijuana could actually pose serious dangers to both the user AND those around. If Dr Paul would propose a reasonable means by which various currently illegal drugs could be made legitimate (or not) state by state, but only routinely offered from a licensed pharmacist, a pharmaceutical company, or other appropriate methods, I do not believe it makes sense to vote from him.
    Let’s admit too that Dr Paul doesn’t strike me as one who can genuinely get something worthwhile accomplished. He can preach all he wants about state’s rights, but until he has the means for each state to make drug use happen more virtuously, I don’t think he’ll make much headway.
    ..And, for all that I expect government to squabble a lot, the better to thoroughly vet ideas before they’re enacted, this does not seem to me appropriate cause for a President to quarrel constantly with large factions of his own party.
    I simply don’t believe that Ron Paul can get along with other Republicans well enough to have the proper debate on issues, then enact appropriate legislation.

    Concluding then, if we want REALLY good candidates and just action by our nation, we need to make routine effort as a Church to ensure that we properly catechize our neighbors and colleagues outside of election year. Otherwise, few people will have any real cause to vote with a legitimate Catholic conscience.

    (Then too, writing a letter to the Secretary of State won’t do much good if the Secretary has little reason to take you seriously.)

  27. Sissy says:

    Hi bernadette; I respect that you may have private doubts about Governor Romney’s sincerity on the the issue of life. However, he has publicly asserted that he has seen the error of his ways concerning his former views. Nearly every single person in my own family (yes, even I) has gradually moved from a pro-abortion stance to a pro-life position over the years, so I know it is possible. As His Excellency Morlino recently pointed out, a person has a right to a good reputation in the absence of evidence to the contrary. President Obama is on record as favoring infanticide, and he has never repudiated that position. To this day, he is an enthusiastic champion of the view that children are to be endured only if their mother is willing to suffer their presence in the world – even after they are born alive. Governor Romney asserts a pro-life position now, and I think charity requires me to take him at his word until he proves himself to be dishonest on this point.

  28. Sissy says:

    imnotpete said “We all know abortion is an intrinsic evil and must not be supported. What of extrajudicial, non-military assassinations (authorized by the NDAA, supported by both frontrunners, and murder, in my book), and what about violations of the Just War Doctrine (again supported by both frontrunners – both supported the war on Iraq, and both have been agitating against Iran)? Are those not also intrinsic evils?”

    I believe this concern has been explicitly addressed, and the answer is that abortion is the primary issue that must be addressed. Your opinions about whether certain actions violate Just War theory don’t take precedence over the clear issue that President Obama supports infanticide. Some evils are more evil than others, and the evil Mr. Obama embraces is the most grave evil any candidate in American history has ever supported.

  29. JonPatrick says:

    I agree with Sissy. Instead of splitting hairs over things such as whether waterboarding is torture, we should be looking to the critical issues – the murder of innocent unborn children, and whether our constitution will survive another 4 years. Consider that Mr. Obama did not have any problem using the intelligence gained by waterboarding in hunting down Osama Bin Laden so he could score a major political point. Also that the indiscriminate killing in Pakistan and Afghanistan using drones, including innocent bystanders, has to be a much more serious issue than waterboarding.

  30. imnotpete says:

    But as Archbishop William said in this post’s quote:

    “The question to ask is this: Are any of the candidates of either party, or independents, standing for something that is intrinsically evil, evil no matter what the circumstances? If that’s the case, a Catholic, regardless of his party affiliation, shouldn’t be voting for such a person.”

    This doesn’t say “vote for the least evil,” it says “do not vote for ANY evil.” Choosing between Romney and Obama is like choosing between Hitler and Pol Pot. Yes, one is worse than the other, but they are both so bad that it would not make a difference which one you chose.

    I also feel I should clarify something people think I said: I will not, ever, vote for Obama. I am not saying that we should, because Romney is evil, too. I’m saying we MUST take a third option if we ever wish to see an improvement in the government. The GOP has shown us its true colors on abortion: they did nothing to stop it when they controlled the presidency and both Houses a few years ago, and then they did everything possible to exclude the one candidate with a solid pro-life voting record (not just rhetoric) in this election. Why do you have any faith in them this time around? It makes no sense to me.

  31. Sissy says:

    imnotpete: Unlike some on this blog, I feel it is acceptable to choose to not exercise the right to vote if you sincerely believe, with an informed conscience, that both candidates espouse equally evil positions. If you really believe that Governor Romney will actively work to ensure the continuation of the slaughter of innocent unborn children and continue policies limiting religious freedom, then you are right not to vote for him, in my opinion. I would disagree with your appraisal of the situation, but if that is what your investigation into his character tells you, I won’t try to argue you out of it.

  32. Sissy says:

    imnotpete: It was the Republican party that passed the ban on partial-birth abortion and has passed numerous restrictions on the sweeping license granted by Roe v Wade. The Democrat party has the murder of unborn children and an endorsement of so -called same-sex marriage enshrined in it’s party platform. If you know of a party that will do a better job protecting life that stands a chance of gaining enough political power to enact real change, I’m all ears.

  33. Supertradmum says:

    The Democrat National Party Platform, since 1999, has radically support Roe v. Wade and contraception. The GOP Party Platform does not. The Democrat National Party Platform now supports gay civil unions. The GOP Party Platform does not.

    These two stands of the Democratic Party hold dear two of the sins which cry out to Heaven for vengeance.

    And, if we do not vote, we will lose our right to vote.

  34. Imrahil says:

    Dear @w0343009, if torture is an intrinsic evil (which is my opinion and, to my knowledge, that of the Magisterium and of good Catholic philosophers such as Robert Spaemann) and if really both candidates who have any chance at all to win the election both support it, then

    *we can abstain from votion or vote third party,
    *we can vote for him who is lesser evil according to the rest of the issues.

    It is very important that voting for does by no means mean endorsement. Although politicians may want to interpret it that way.

  35. Sissy says:

    wo343009: I haven’t read any information that would suggest Governor Romney supports torture. However, even granting that torture is an intrinsic evil, it still pales in comparison to abortion and infanticide, both of which are heartily endorsed and promoted by the Democrat party and it’s nominee. In 2004, then Cardinal Ratzinger said on this subject: “There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia…”

  36. Cathy says:

    Say a name, Bishops? Do your homework, people! I never though that I would want a third-party candidate until this election. I have made the suggestion of Tom Hoefling, if you please, scrutinize the candidate and his party’s platform. I support it, and, other that simply poo-pooing that a vote for him is a vote for Obama, pray tell me, why this man should not be considered a good candidate to vote for.

  37. The principle articulated by William F. Buckley should apply:

    Vote for the most conservative person who can win.

  38. Sissy says:

    Cathy asked “why this man should not be considered a good candidate to vote for.”

    Because there isn’t the slightest chance he can be elected. He might be a fine man with wonderful ideas and worthy of attention and respect. But you can’t say he is a “good candidate” if it is impossible for him to win.

  39. Giuseppe says:


    You were correct in your second paragraph. It’s not the Democrat Party, it’s the Democratic Party. Democrat is a noun used to describe members of the Democratic Party (e.g. John Smith is a Democrat), but it is not used as the party’s name. It’s the same in the UK with the Liberal-Democratic Party, right?

    I do hear on talk radio people saying the Democrat Party, but I don’t understand that. They don’t say Republic Party.

  40. robtbrown says:

    imnotpete says:

    We all know abortion is an intrinsic evil and must not be supported. What of extrajudicial, non-military assassinations (authorized by the NDAA, supported by both frontrunners, and murder, in my book), and what about violations of the Just War Doctrine (again supported by both frontrunners – both supported the war on Iraq, and both have been agitating against Iran)? Are those not also intrinsic evils? If so, neither major party candidate is a valid Catholic choice (this is a decision I came to myself several months ago).

    You raise some interesting questions:

    1. It is the opinion of many, incl yours truly and the present pope, that with today’s war methods the Just War theory cannot be comprehensively applied.

    2. If a method of war is authorized by the NDAA, then it cannot be said to be extrajuridical.

    3. In the case of terrorism the methods used by the US have in fact been dictated by the enemy. We are fighting people who work in shadows. I

  41. mamajen says:


    Grammar aside, it’s really tough applying the term “democratic” to people who hate democracy.

  42. Giuseppe says:

    I did love when George W. Bush self-deprecatingly called himself the head of the Republic Party.

    From an article quoting William F. Buckley: I have an aversion to ‘Democrat’ as an adjective… It has the effect of injecting politics into language, and that should be avoided. Granted there are diffculties, as when one desires to describe a ‘democratic’ politician, and is jolted by possible ambiguity. But English does that to us all the time, and it’s our job to get the correct meaning transmitted without contorting the language.

    When I hear “Democrat Party”, I am reminded of Sen. Dole’s ugly comment about the number of men killed and wounded (including himself) in “Democrat wars” — they were America’s wars.

    In any case, I will soon go to mass at a neo-Goth monastery, led by men living the monast life.

  43. mamajen says:


    I’m veering off topic here, but you reminded me of how my mom would proudly tell people that I was studying “architect” at college. I tried correcting her once or twice, but it was no use.

  44. RecoveringFeminist says:

    Archbishop Lori’s words and advice, especially with regard to Faith and morals, when in union the Holy See, should not be misconstrued. AB Lori does not allow for exceptions, nor for compromise, nor for excuses when voting.

    “…This is a big moment for Catholic voters to step back from their party affiliation,” said Archbishop Lori. “The question to ask is this: Are any of the candidates of either party, or independents, (emphasis mine) standing for something that is intrinsically evil, evil no matter what the circumstances? (emphasis mine) If that’s the case, a Catholic, regardless of his party affiliation, (emphasis mine) shouldn’t be voting for such a person. …” Archbishop William Lori, Baltimore

    “…Bishop Morlino then distinguished between intrinsic evils and policy decisions on which Catholics of good will may disagree.
    Some of the most fundamental issues for the formation of a Catholic conscience are as follows: sacredness of human life from conception to natural death, marriage, religious freedom and freedom of conscience, and a right to private property,” he said. “Violations of the above involve intrinsic evil — that is, an evil which cannot be justified by any circumstances whatsoever. These evils are examples of direct pollution of the ecology of human nature and can be discerned as such by human reason alone. Thus, all people of good will who wish to follow human reason should deplore any and all violations in the above areas, without exception. The violations would be: abortion, euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, same-sex marriage, government-coerced secularism, and socialism. …”

    One of the Presidential candidates has said he’s flip-flopped on his “views” on some of the intrinsic evils, which, by his actions, were either made law or were continued in law. We must judge actions—not words. We should question What did that candidate do to stop abortion, to stop the legalization of sodomy, to stop anti-Catholic legislation? Do the candidates walk the talk or just talk, talk, talk? We all know one of the candidate’s perpetuations of intrinsic evils, but we cannot deceive ourselves into thinking that words erase a long record of implementation and continuation of anti-Catholic legislation, abortion and legalized sodomy from a different candidate.

    I may be wrong, but I don’t believe there is a Catholic doctrine that espouses “the lesser of two evils” allowance to choose evil, nor a Catholic doctrine that says Vote for the most conservative person who can win. “Who can win” is not Catholic doctrine. Did anyone really believe Jesse Ventura could “win”? Enough people voted in their belief that he could win, and he did.

    Certainly, Pope Gregory the Great didn’t believe less evil is acceptable. Don’t we believe, as Catholics, that we can never do evil to bring about what we might think will be good? Wouldn’t that require premonition and superstition?

    “If people are scandalized at the Truth, it is better to allow the birth of scandal, than to abandon the Truth”.~~Pope St. Gregory the Great

  45. Imrahil says:

    Dear @RecoveringFeminist, you rightly said that you may never do an evil that good come out of it. So, you may not vote for the lesser even under the condition that voting for the lesser evil is itself evil.

    The thing is: It is not. Voting for a lesser evil is not evil, because voting is not endorsement. It is deciding in which way to influence a given election; nothing more. In the prudential decision, “who can win” can be included. (The interesting argument of Mark Shea in favor of abstaining is that your single vote is, at any rate, mathematically irrelevant.) If you are conscientious (congratulations!), at least a letter to the party chairman which says “although I vote for you, let it be clear that I most heartily disagree with you on the following topics for the following reasons:, etc.” should clear your conscience.

  46. Imrahil says:

    for the lesser *evil*, not even. Sorry.

  47. Cathy says:

    I am terribly confused. The Bishop gave a directive which did not include William F. Buckley’s principle. Am I then left with a moral compromise between faith and success? Am I to consider a candidate “pro-life” simply while he supports abortion as a choice between her and her doctor, but would not consider making others pay for it, as with the election of Scott Brown? When “pro-life leadership” endorses them, have they abandoned principle for party favor? When we are brought out to support them, are we simply party favorites to be celebrated during election season then tossed under the bus as crazies once the election is over, as were Code Pink with the Democrats? At what point is most conservative just a hair-breadth away from not conservative at all?

  48. Sissy says:

    Cathy, I am sympathetic to your dilemma. You are taking a very purist approach to voting, and I won’t say that you are misguided to hold to your principles. When I was studying Catholicism, I was often told by protestant friends and relatives that I should shun the Catholic Church because particular individuals in the Church had fallen short of Christ’s teachings (the sex scandals were often pointed out as examples). But what guided my decision was an imperfect individual’s adherence to a standard, but the standard itself. My own priest is not a perfect representative of Catholic teaching, but he gets closer to the teachings of Christ and His Church than any non-Christian teacher. In the same way, individual Republican politicians often fall short, but the platform of the Republican party is far closer to what I believe than the Democrat party platform. I’m voting for the stated principles of the party, not the individual who is running on that platform. In this, I am guided by the words of our Holy Father: “Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia.” I cannot vote for anyone running on a platform endorsing abortion. The Republican platform states clearly that abortion is wrong. You can vote for that, even if you suspect Governor Romney is not 100% true to that platform. There is no doubt whatsoever about what President Obama stands for. I believe that he must be removed from office, even if by someone who is not a perfect candidate.

  49. Sissy says:

    sorry: “what guided my decision was NOT an imperfect individual’s lack of adherence to a standard”

  50. wmeyer says:

    We are presented a limited range of possibilities:
    – a vehemently pro-abortion man who wishes to deny us our religious freedom
    – a candidate who is not clearly pro-life, not pro-abortion, who believes our religious freedom is essential
    – a third party candidate who *may* draw votes away from Romney, giving the 2nd term to Obama

    Unless you are predicting a landslide for a third party candidate, which is exceedingly unlikely, a third party vote is on par with abstinence: a failure to fulfill the responsibilities of citizenship

Comments are closed.