ASK FATHER: Is a vote for “the lesser of two evils” still a vote “for evil”?

From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

If Biden is rabidly pro-abortion (he is), and if Trump is not completely pro-life (he supports abortion in cases of rape, incest, health of mother), and if both candidates support homosexual “marriage” (they do), then even if one votes for “the lesser of two evils”, does it stand to reason that one is still voting for evil?

Let me preface this with what Pius XII said, back when Communists were threatening to take over in post-WWII Italy.  When important issues press, Catholics have an obligation to vote.

Pius said this to priests in 1946:

The exercise of the right to vote is an act of grave moral responsibility, at least with respect to the electing of those who are called to give to a country its constitution and its laws, and in particular those that affect the sanctification of holy days of obligation, marriage, the family, schools and the just and equitable regulation of many social questions. It is the Church’s duty to explain to the faithful the moral duties that flow from this electoral right.

He said this to priests in 1948, and I write this on the October Feast of Christ the King, which stressed the social Kingship of Christ:

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

These are critical times and this election is the most important of our lifetime.   Our common responsibility toward each other for the common good points to a strong obligation to vote if at all possible.

And yet some will say, voting for the lesser of two evil candidates is still a vote for evil, lesser though it may be.

The Church’s teaching and moral distinctions help us with this problem.

There are times when we must act but, in acting, means that we have to tolerate evils which we do not will.   It is permissible to tolerate the lesser of two evils for the common good.  It is permissible to vote or campaign for a candidate whose party platform contains evils with which we do not agree.  However, this toleration depends upon a hierarchy of issues, certain things having preeminence over others.  For example, if a candidate is solidly pro-life and against abortion, and the other is solidly pro-abortion, the choice is obvious, because of the preeminence of the right to life.     At the same time, if one candidate is in the main against abortion but would permit it in cases of incest, etc. etc., and the other candidate is for abortion up to the moment of birth, the choice is obvious, because one can tolerate the lesser of two evils.

Many people vote only about their own prosperity and personal good.  However, we have to think about the common good.  Hence, candidates who would promote things that tear at the very fabric of society, such as homosexual “marriage” must be excluded.   However, in the case that one candidate is solidly in favor of same-sex unions and the other merely accepts settled law (such as Obergefell), the choice is obvious.   Of course their position on the right to be born is even more important than this issue.  There is a hierarchy of values.

Say a candidate is better than another on some really important issue, such as the right to be born, but he is not great when it comes to other issues, provided that he is better than the other candidate, it is permissible to vote for him even through his pro-life position is not perfect.

Do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

As a voter you have a set of principles for choosing how to vote as elected legislators do.  Think about it this way.  Legislators have to vote on laws.  Some laws are flawed, forbidding some things, but still permitting others that are evil.  However, passing that law is a step in the right direction.  St. Thomas Aquinas taught that we can act to limit possible evil.  In that case, the object of the will is a possible good, not an impossible good (STh I-II q. 13, a5). St. John Paul II taught in Evangelium vitae that it is legitimate for a legislator to vote for a more restrictive law regarding abortion if the alternative is a less restrictive law.

“This does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects, in order to prevent worse legislation from being adopted” (EV 73)

It is not an absolute moral obligation to vote, especially if there is no perfect candidate.  However, in times of serious crisis, I think the obligation is even stronger than in times of relative stability and peace.

St. Augustine teaches correctly that only in heaven will there be vera iustitia… true justice.  He teaches that government is a necessary evil because of the fall of mankind in Original Sin.  Government is a kind of necessary evil.   Most of our social structures are a result of sin.   The fact that they are are inflictions, in a sense, does not dispense us from participation in society.  We must be involved precisely as Catholics striving to live as if we already are citizens of the City of God.   It is our work here to bring Christ to all the corners we are able to influence.  Voting is a way to do that, even though the whole thing is sub-optimal in light of what awaits us in heaven.

We cannot simply opt out.

BTW.. on the issue of homosexual civil unions, I think Pres. Trump’s position is that now we have settled law.  On the other hand, look at the rabid resistance to Trump on the part of the homosexualists.   They don’t like him, which is significant.

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53 Responses to ASK FATHER: Is a vote for “the lesser of two evils” still a vote “for evil”?

  1. rwj says:

    Bravo, Father! Carefully thought out and supported. This should be page one of First Things.

  2. JoelL says:

    “Two weevils crept from the crumbs. ‘You see those weevils, Stephen?’ said Jack solemnly……

  3. Gregg the Obscure says:

    there are also alternatives other than the major party candidates. i cast my vote for such a candidate. one who is uncompromising with various grave evils endorsed by the major party candidates.

  4. WVC says:

    God help us, I truly hope there aren’t that many folks voting for random third party candidates as comments on this site indicate. I honestly didn’t realize there were so many folks unaware of what was actually going on in this election. Are people really that unaware of what’s been going on with the FBI, CIA, the Biden collusion and corruption involving the Ukraine and China and Russia, and all the other mountains of evidence pointing to the Obama/Biden administration being one of the most corrupt in American history? Obama got transgender bathrooms in local schools in his 8 years, and that was in the face of a Republican congress. They don’t understand what Biden/Harris are going to do?

    God, in His wisdom, will give us what we deserve. Donald Trump has been, indisputably, the most Pro-Life President in U.S. History (like it or not, that’s the facts as defined in our post Roe v. Wade world), but given the choice between him and his actual record and those who will do (and publicly brag that they will do) all in their power to promote abortion short of aborting a baby with their own hands . . . and it’s random 3rd party guy with no experience and no chance of winning that gets the vote?

    Seriously, if Biden wins, I hope folks have a great big appetite for crow.

  5. WVC says:

    I’ll also add that Biden recently and without apology endorsed the chemical castration of an 8-year old boy if he thinks he might be “transgendered.” Folks need to seriously think about that and the actual consequences of a Biden/Harris administration before they vote for a third party candidate with zero percent chance of winning. And regardless of how laudable that third party candidate might be (he could be Cardinal Burke himself), that doesn’t change the political reality that there’s a zero percent chance that candidate will win. Zero percent.

  6. Ecclesiae Filius says:

    Hi fellow readers. May I have your thoughts on two questions:

    1. Where may I find magisterial texts that state the preeminence of the life issue? (not the USCCB docs please)

    2. Is the life issue really preeminent in voting? Incontrovertibly, it is preeminent in the current circumstances. However, hypothetically, what if one presidential candidate were pro-life, but promised to desecrate the eucharist each week; and the other candidate were pro-abortion, but protected religion? Wouldn’t sins against God take priority over human sins?

    Thank you.

  7. monstrance says:

    And most homosexuals back abortion rights.
    At least they’re consistent.

  8. Michael says:

    That’s a good explanation, thanks. Looking at the “lesser of two evils” viewpoint, let’s consider the following.

    In days long ago it would have been unthinkable for anyone (politicians included) to consider that any type of abortion was supportable (even for exceptions for rape, etc.) And way back when it was equally unthinkable that anyone would support homosexual marriage and everything that goes with that.

    Then something changed and there became those who were against abortion except for… And then the the gay marriage thing came in and now we are at a place in society where society is always talking about the lesser of two evils.

    Even with Father’s excellent answer and advice, by continuing with our lesser of two evils attitude and the attitude of “not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good”, do we not still perpetuate evil in society with a wink and a nod by saying that one candidate supports evil (abortion) in a big way but the other candidate supports in a little way? [NO! This is not frivolous.]

    In this case, my feeling is that we are “letting the imperfect be the enabler of the evil”.

    [Take it up with Thomas Aquinas. GRRR. I am reminded of something that Card. George remarked in a talk I heard in Rome. American’s are simultaneously hedonistic and puritanical. While on the surface that is true, it is also true that, rooted in an Anglo-American style of law, they have a hard time making distinctions. It takes a Roman. And a Roman Catholic. ]

  9. bookworm says:

    If you had been a committed abolitionist in 1860, and had decided that you could not in good conscience vote for any candidate who did not advocate immediate and total emancipation of all slaves, you would not have voted for Abraham Lincoln–the president who did eventually free the slaves. Lincoln, at that time, merely wanted to prevent slavery from spreading into any new territories, but he was willing to let slavery continue in the existing slave states in the belief that it would eventually die out on its own. He was not “perfect” on that issue, but he was certainly a “lesser evil” than any of the others running (there were three other major candidates that year, among them Stephen Douglas, architect of the infamous Kansas Nebraska Act). My point is that just as the president who freed the slaves was not a 100% consistent abolitionist, the president who ends abortion may not necessarily be a 100% consistent pro lifer.

  10. WVC says:

    @Michael – Politics, both now and throughout history, is a messy, imperfect affair at best (Avignon Papacy, anybody? How about Italian politics in and around the Vatican from the early 300s through, well, today?) The idea that politics has ever been played on a morally sound field is naive at best. To debate, given the current situation in the United States, whether supporting Trump and not voting for some sort of Don Quixote type third party who is morally virtuous but has ZERO percent chance of winning is the best option is sort of like debating whether or not the drapes should match the sofa in a house that is being engulfed in a raging fire.

  11. TonyO says:

    Wow, Fr. Z, two at-bats and two home runs. Next at-bat should be a grand slam, right?

    Ecclesia Filius above asks:

    1. Where may I find magisterial texts that state the preeminence of the life issue? (not the USCCB docs please)

    2. Is the life issue really preeminent in voting?

    I don’t have perfect answers to this, but I have a bit to offer. First, the Church has teaching texts saying that we should act according to the hierarchy of good. (I don’t have the texts at hand, but will look for them.) Higher, and more-pervasive goods (such as “the common good”) take precedence over lower or more narrow goods, in proper order. For political decisions, then, higher and more-pervasive ASPECTS OF the common good take precedence over lower or narrow ones. Given that, goods that relate more closely to the very foundations of the social order are “more pervasive” and more critical to the common good than goods that relate to narrower or more particular aspects of the common good. So, for example, a candidate or party that strongly promotes insurrection and civil strife along with favoring federal money for Catholic hospitals is worse than a candidate or party that promotes civil order but does not favor federal money for for Catholic hospitals,(all other things being equal) because civil order is vastly more foundational and essential to the common good than federal dollars for Catholic hospitals.

    On that score, the federal Constitution, the formation of the sates, the very legal structure of the state, and laws that protect basic human rights, are more foundational and have a more-pervasive impact on the common good than most other laws. Hence laws that defend humans from murder are more critical to the common good than laws that set forth just pricing of imported clothing. Abortion might not be, intrinsically, THE preeminent issue for all purposes and times – e.g. when a state is facing annihilation by civil war or conquest, abortion might take second fiddle. But after the issues of the very existence of the state itself, and its basic the goods that get at the very definition of “human good” and form the sine qua non of other goods must be very close to the top of the hierarchy. Since life itself is a good that is a preeminent sine qua non of all other goods, it cannot be a mere also ran among many competing goods in terms of state priorities.

    At the same time, it is not merely the law itself that must be judged, but also the good that this politician can affect in this given situation by his acts that also must be judged. A state legislator who intends to propose a law to outlaw all abortion directly contrary to Roe v Wade (but which will never get enough votes to pass, or will be struck down immediately by federal courts) is not automatically preferable to a state legislator who is willing propose a bill to outlaw abortions in the third trimester; given our current situation, the latter might actually survive court review. In addition to having his will set toward the good properly understood, the better candidate should also have prudence about achieving the good that is possible.

  12. NOCatholic says:

    For those who are worried about others who choose to vote for third-party candidates, there are good arguments (whether you accept them personally nor not) for not voting for Donald Trump simply based on his issues stance. A good set of arguments (from a pro-life conservative) can be found here: https://www.nationalreview.com/the-tuesday/hell-no/

    That doesn’t mean not to vote. The down-ballot races are important. The House is important. The Senate is critically important.

    And I don’t see how not voting at all, is morally defensible,

  13. Fr. Kelly says:

    Ecclesiae filius, I am in some doubt about the sincerity of your question. Since the Church’s teaching is so constant and pervasive on the sanctity of human life. But here goes:
    1 Scripture — throughout, beginning with God’s words to Cain after the killing of Abel as well as the account of Cain’s descendants. Also God’s instructions to Noah after the flood. Scripture is filled with such references. Murder of the innocent is the first of the “sins that cry out to God for vengeance”
    2 Pope St. John Paul II makes this point in the body of Evangelium Vitae ( cf. Especially N. 57 where he formally condemns murder of the innocent)

    3 The Didache condemns the killing of infants before and after birth.

    Etc.

    It would be be easy to go on. The requirement to defend human life as sacred is pretty central to our faith

  14. WVC says:

    @NOCatholic – National Review has been, is, and apparently will always be a virulent anti-Trump rag. The piece you linked to is basically just a wild “Trump is the worst” type of screed, attributing all of his successes to “accidents or his inattention” and then attributing real and made up problems to him with reckless abandon. Do a Ctrl-F word search. Do you see the words “Pro-Life” in the article? Do you see the word “abortion” in the article? Nope. And this from a “Pro-Life” Christian? You seem to have entirely formed your opinion of Trump exclusively from anti-Trump sources.

    Honestly, if Trump, who is the most Pro-Life President since Roe V. Wade (and who is the first President since Herbert Hoover to NOT start a new war or invade a new country during his term in office), does not get the “Pro-Life” vote, then the Pro-Life movement is absolutely, utterly, and unquestionably doomed. Pro-Life supporters who oppose Trump seem like they actually PREFER the old school Republican (like G.W. Bush, Mitt Romney, or John McCain) who are all talk but hardly any action to Trump who actually puts his money where is very large mouth is over and over and over again.

    I do have an earnest question for you and for anyone else (especially the “vote for a 3rd Party Virtue Signallers”). This is the question:

    Do you want Trump or Biden to win the election?

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  16. bartlep says:

    I am in total agreement with WVC!! There are so many good resources that are in agreement with Catholic values, NCR not being one of them. Check out Fr. Altman’s video on “You Cannot Be Catholic and Democrat. Period.” We have never had a better candidate than Trump for advancing religious liberty and pro-life. On these two issues, Trump is more “Catholic” than Pope Francis!

    Taking the moral high ground and voting for a third party candidate, in this election especially, is moronic.

  17. NOCatholic says:

    @WVC: I’ve explained my Trump views before, which you rejected, so I won’t rehash here. NR is if anything leaning toward Trump as the “lesser evil”. I could have chosen other articles but that was a recent one with a decent summary which I agree with. But you have rejected any outside source I have presented, and would reject any other. Clearly you reject any criticism of Trump.

    The real issue is that there are many people who would like to vote for Trump but have difficulty doing so. That is why Father Z was asked the question that led to this article. That is reflected in several reader posts here and elsewhere on this site. Donald Trump makes it difficult, and he can be fairly characterized as, at best, the “lesser evil.”

    And given that Trump was able to name 3 good Supreme Court justices and get them confirmed, the pro-life movement has already had a major victory, which a Biden win is unlikely to undo, given that Biden seems to be reluctant to pack the Court. And if this Court doesn’t overturn or severely weaken Roe/Casey at an early opportunity, then pro-lifers have a much bigger problem than who is in the White House.

    “Do you want Trump or Biden to win the election?”

    I can’t answer that, otherwise my vote would not have been a third party write-in (not “virtue-signalling” but a principled abstention). I don’t know which is the lesser evil and I am unable to predict which is the worse choice. If you can, then cast your vote accordingly. Otherwise, we just disagree.

    Peace.

  18. WVC says:

    @NOCatholic – I’ve offered my own criticism of Trump in these very comment threads, so it’s disingenuous for you to pretend I’m some sort of Trump groupie. I’m just earnestly perplexed by folks who look at Biden and his campaign and his rhetoric and his record and his corruption and his endorsement of transgenderism for 8 year-olds and his rabidly pro-abortion stance and his close ties with China and his role in the corruption of the Intelligence agencies under Obama and his tax plans and his pushing to end the Oil industry and his indication that he wants to pack the Supreme Court and his support for lawless rioting and looting and his stance against gun rights . . . etc. and still suspect Biden/Harris might be the “lesser” of “two evils.” It’s a serious mystery to me.

    At any rate, I thought I posed a simple question. The reality is either Biden or Trump will win. There is no other possible outcome (albeit it might take quite a while and/or struggle to reach that outcome). I’m just curious if folks who refuse to vote for Trump are going to be happy when Biden/Harris are sworn in.

  19. bartlep says:

    I read this article this morning by Austin Ruse (C-FAM — UN)

    https://www.crisismagazine.com/2020/trump-still-wins-the-personality-contest?mc_cid=cb61ed0d3e&mc_eid=661f86554c

    and I guess I might characterize myself now as a”groupie”, as WVC mentioned. Aside from Trump’s personality, which many don’t like, it is still imperative to look at all the positive things he has done in his first term. No other president has accomplished so much and I think it is largely due to his business acumen. Throwing away a vote and the potential for a Socialist to get elected is irresponsible. Several years ago, at a TLM, the priest said voting for a candidate who is pro-abortion is a mortal sin and thus relationship with God is severed. (This was prior to the 2012 election). Biden is even worse than Obama, not to mention Kamala Harris!! Biden is a (c)atholic who is 100% NARAL approved, has performed a “marriage” between two men, is for abortion up until birth and is a scandal to all.

    This morning I overheard an older lady leaving Mass and telling a friend that she was a liberal. She said she was “voting her conscience”. Her response to my abortion comment was that “people weren’t being forced to have abortions…”. She said there was no use arguing because her mind was made up. Amazing how many daily communicants think like this. But, no mention of Catholic doctrine from the pulpit leads to uninformed consciences.

    Finally, Fr. Z, I was a little surprised that you didn’t come out a little stronger in your response.

    [I could have written that, if you vote for dems, you are short-sighted, selfish and darn close to self-abusive. In short, you are probably not very bright and mired in bad things. I could have written that.]

  20. VARoman says:

    I am a life-long republican and a trad Catholic. I have already cast my vote for Joe Biden.

    Donald Trump is the biblical exemplar of lust, greed, gluttony and bearing false witness, at the very least.

    When looking at the “lesser of two evils”, we should not discount the inherent evil of one of the candidates simply because he is pro-life and pro-family.

    In 2016, I wrote in Paul Ryan for President because I could not, in good conscience, vote for Clinton or Trump.

    This year, I had to be more definitive in my opposition to Trump.

    I am ardently pro-life, pro-traditional family and a financial contributor to the FSSP. I voted for Joe Biden and my conscience is clear. God-willing, Trump and his acolytes will be purged from the GOP and we have genuine moral leaders again.

  21. WVC says:

    @VARoman
    “I am ardently pro-life, pro-traditional family . . .” and showed it by voting for the most pro-abortion, anti-traditional family candidate in American history? (and that’s a pretty high bar to begin with!)

    Also, you think Mitt Romney and John McCain and Jeb Bush are genuine moral leaders? You think there are ANY politicians that have run for President over the last 20 years that WEREN’T exemplars of lust, greed, and bearing false witness? (gluttony is a hit or miss, I’ll grant) Suddenly, when things are actually at the tipping point, NOW people develop an overly fragile sense of virtue that demands they only vote for the pure and the holy? It’s like the news media suddenly discovering they must validate and re-validate all of their news sources right when the Hunter Biden and Joe Biden corruption news goes viral. I think I’ve been seriously underestimating how truly powerful is the mass media’s brainwashing and influence.

    Seriously, I simply cannot understand the way some folks think. In order to salve their own (apparently very confused) conscience, they are willing to take actions that will endanger everything they hold dear, including the supposed thing their conscience is so motivated by. If it didn’t also directly jeopardize me and my family, I wouldn’t mind so much, but when they outlaw homeschooling and mandate transgender/queer theory in preschool . . .

    Deuteronomy 30:15 – I used to make fun of the Israelites and think to myself, “what kind of a fool would mess up that kind of a choice?” I sure owe them an apology . . .

    VARoman – you didn’t actually answer my questions. Are you going to be happy if Biden wins?

    Also, can I ask another simple question for the Never Trumpers? How many of you believe he called White Supremacists and Neo-Nazis “very fine people” at Charlottesville?

  22. NOCatholic says:

    @bartlep: “I read this article this morning by Austin Ruse (C-FAM — UN).”

    Thanks for the link to Austin Ruse’s article. I found it very informative. At the same time, Trump’s persona, his shtick at rallies, factored hardly at all in my own decision to withhold my vote for Trump. Objecting to his personality is minor. Character is much, much more important. VARoman hits that better (although I don’t follow his solution).

    Anyone who can in good conscience discern the lesser evil out of this mess of an election, may certainly do so. Those like myself who cannot, should not feel bad in voting third-party and letting the chips fall where they may (that is, as God wills). But do please vote. That is our Christian duty.

  23. WVC says:

    I do want to add, since Trump’s character is so disparaged by some, that there has never been any person in all of American political history that has been under more scrutiny than Donald Trump. What I have been most surprised by was the complete lack of scandal surrounding him. Armies of investigators have been unable to find a single thing to wrap their hangman’s noose around. No shady business dealings. No collusion with Russia. Nothing untoward with the Ukraine. Certainly no scandals in the White House, and absolutely no evidence of any kind of lascivious behavior since he’s become President. There’s no sign of greed – in fact, if many of the reports are to be believed Trump has lost money by becoming President. No sign of sloth – he’s been the busiest, most active, most engaged President in quite a long while (certainly way more than Obama) and has fulfilled his duties with gusto – just look at how many judges he’s appointed aside from international peace deals and the like. Aside from disgruntled ex employees or family members with a beef (who wrote books by which they made money trashing Trump) there’s simply no evidence to support these slanders against Trump’s character (and most of those books are just “I think he’s unstable” kind of gossip).

    People, I believe, influenced by the media or not, are imagining what they think Trump is and then condemning him for it. Because as far as proof goes – and trust me there are ARMIES of anti-Trumpers looking for ANYTHING – there isn’t any.

    Now compare that with the “respectable” politician Joe Biden. There’s plenty of actual evidence of him groping women and girls inappropriately and even one who is still accusing him of sexual assault. There’s Hunter Biden’s laptop from Hell with confirmed pictures of underage girls (including a relative) and a whole lot of illegal drug use (to go into any additional details would be unsuitable for this blog – it’s really that bad). There’s lots of evidence that has come out about crooked deals with China and Russia by which the Bidens made millions (this is including the testimony of a former business associate who has included documents that have been verified to be authentic). Heck, just look at Joe Biden, the man whose been a politician his entire career and somehow became incredibly wealthy by being a “public servant.” There are also many, many, many cases of Biden caught lying with video clips to prove it. I mean, if someone wanted to rail against the sins of greed, lust, and bearing false witness, I sure don’t see how voting for Biden accomplishes that goal.

    I still stand by my opinion that Trump is actually better than we deserve, flaws and all. That he can’t seem to get support from ardent Catholics and Pro-Lifers more or less validates my opinion. As far as I can tell, folks are weighing the known reality of evil (Biden/Harris) against a completely conjectured possibility of an evil (Trump’s allegedly bad character) and then saying “I just can’t figure it out I’m gonna vote for Beaver Cleaver and be done with it.”

  24. SKAY says:

    VARoman said:

    “I am a life-long republican and a trad Catholic. I have already cast my vote for Joe Biden.”

    Well Planned Parenthood is backing pro abortion Joe Biden/Kamala Harris so they will be very happy with your pro abortion vote. I hope you are aware they also sell aborted body parts –absolutely horrible.
    The former head of Planned Parenthood, Democrat Cecile Richards, said that the happiest day of her life was when Obamacare forced pro life advocates to pay for abortions. That is what the Little Sisters of the Poor evil Obamacare (Obama/Biden administration) fiasco was all about . What was done to them was disgusting and Biden was part of that . Thank goodness President Trump came to the rescue of the Little Sisters of the Poor when he was elected.
    We now know that the CCP has Biden and the Democrat Party in their pocked. They like to buy
    people.

    I am a Republican Traditional pro life Catholic and I will be voting for Donald Trump and Mike Pence “and my conscience is clear.”

    “his acolytes will be purged from the GOP and we have genuine moral leaders again.” I see the
    kind of “moral character” that you voted for —so that is an interesting comment.
    Perhaps you need to look at who is funding some of those who you consider ” genuine moral leaders”.

  25. VARoman says:

    WVC,

    I am just as perplexed at your mental and spiritual calculus as you seem to be with mine.

    To directly answer your question:

    1. No, I will not be happy if Biden wins, EXCEPT, that it will mean Trump has lost. Trump isn’t a true conservative. If he could win by becoming a democrat tomorrow, he would do so. He has absolutely no moral compass and is, to be blunt, an existential threat to the Republic.

    2. No, I don’t believe Trump meant to say neo-nazis are good people. His temper, insanely short fuse and lack of any kind of mental discipline means he says moronic things all the time. Watch him speak is like reading his tweets: non-sensical, quite often untrue, and utterly self-serving.

    I will take four years of Biden so that new, genuine republican leaders can emerge.

    Every politician ever is and was flawed, many very deeply. But never, in my life (and I worked for Republicans on Capitol Hill for years), have I seen so corrupting a force as Donald Trump

  26. VARoman says:

    SKAY,

    I don’t believe Joe Biden to be moral leader. But he isn’t Donald Trump. I will not be joyous or give prayers of thanks if Joe Biden wins. In fact, I will be praying for his return to the Faith.

    But I most certainly will be offering prayers of thanks and joy if we and the world are spared four more years of Trump.

  27. The Masked Chicken says:

    Ecclesiae Filius wrote,

    “Where may I find magisterial texts that state the preeminence of the life issue? (not the USCCB docs please)

    2. Is the life issue really preeminent in voting? Incontrovertibly, it is preeminent in the current circumstances. However, hypothetically, what if one presidential candidate were pro-life, but promised to desecrate the eucharist each week; and the other candidate were pro-abortion, but protected religion? Wouldn’t sins against God take priority over human sins?”

    1. Evangelium Vitae is a very good document. As Fr. Kelly points out, there are many documents on the subject. An historical review may be found, here:

    https://scholarship.law.nd.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1125&context=nd_naturallaw_forum

    and here:

    https://www.hli.org/resources/has-the-catholic-church-always-condemned-abortion/

    2. As for this question, there is no historical example of this hypothetical and it simply does not apply at this time. In any case, while there is a hierarchy of goods, the Church does not have to give the Eucharist to anyone but the priest in an absolute sense for the Mass to be validly celebrated, so that, in theory, even if a politician wanted to desecrate the Eucharist, the Church could prevent that by limiting the Eucharist to real-time confection at the Mass for only the priest or even suspend Mass, altogether. On the other hand, abortion pre-supposes a conception has already taken place and it is the couple, not the politician who is ending it. There is no parity, here, because you are pitting a remote attack against the Church by a politician to a proximate attack against a foetus by its own parents. The Church has options that the foetus does not have.

    Your hypothetical might be made a bit more symmetric if a situation existed like China in the 1980’s where there was a government agency that forced both abortions and the persecution of the underground Church. Even if one party, however, favored a government agency to force abortions while the other party favored a government agency to commit sacrilege against the Eucharist, the Church still has independent options to protect the Eucharist (spiritual Communion, for example) , but the foetus is totally dependent on the parents to protect it. The two situations are not equivalent in terms of agency. The Church does not need to confect the Eucharist for the Church to exist, but humanity need pregnancies for humanity to go on.

    In any case, if the two parties could propose genuinely equivalent evils, one would have a perplexed moral situation and then one should not vote for either party, because one is not absolutely required to vote. In a truly perplexed situation where one must act, the position of moralists is the one may do as one thinks best.

    The Chicken

  28. Semper Gumby says:

    VARoman wrote:

    “He [Trump] has absolutely no moral compass and is, to be blunt, an existential threat to the Republic.”

    Calumny.

    “His temper, insanely short fuse and lack of any kind of mental discipline means he says moronic things all the time.”

    Calumny.

    Then you voted for a racist baby-killer. For such a deed, one wonders if you are offering your “prayers of thanks and joy” to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, or to Moloch. Cheers.

  29. Semper Gumby says:

    VARoman: For your edification:

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-people-poland/

    [I remember watching that speech. It was, as I recall, enthusiastically received by the Poles.]

  30. Semper Gumby says:

    George Weigel at the First Things blog yesterday:

    “What is the thoughtful Catholic voter, who understands that the Church’s social doctrine cannot be confined in any partisan box, to do in this election cycle?”

    Well, first, the “thoughtful Catholic voter” will make distinctions between Trump and Harris-Biden. There’s more distinctions than one can shake a stick at. And “partisan box” is a strawman, particularly given the problematic nature of “the Church’s social doctrine” these days.

    “There are two deeply flawed candidates for president, either of whose election portends more trouble.”

    Again, making distinctions is helpful here. For example, Pres. Trump is opposed to critical race theory indoctrination at nuclear weapons labs, Harris-Biden support it. Then there is the matter of babies…

    “As the House will certainly have a Democratic majority in 2021-2022, prudence dictates maintaining a Republican Senate, irrespective of who is elected president.”

    Here Weigel should take a greater interest in the Executive Branch. More specifically: SCOTUS nominations, SecDef, SecState, Attorney General, DHS, JCS, executive orders, and executive appointees to lead various Federal agencies. Mr. Weigel is an intelligent man and is certainly capable of grasping this important point. Cheers.

  31. VARoman says:

    Calumny only if it isn’t true. Your unwillingness to see Trump as he really is makes your last paragraph moot because it pre-supposed Trump is a better person than Biden.

  32. VARoman says:

    Why, pray tell, have you posted a speech delivered in Poland? All it demonstrates is that Trump has mediocre speech writers and the Polish desk at State has a grasp of history.

    [Remember that he was giving a speech in another country, where many have studies English, but those who have English have it only as a second language. That changes things. But people were chanting his name. When was the last speech you gave during which people interrupted to chant your name?   o{];¬)   ]

  33. VARoman says:

    You over-inflate the importance and authority of the Executive. Should Trump win, and the dems take the Senate, he will not be able to appoint a single Federalist Society judge, let alone appoint Senior Executives to various agencies.

    [Am I mistaken or is that the way you want it to be? In fact you would like the dems to have control over the federal bench? Agencies? Please tell me that I misread that.]

  34. Semper Gumby says:

    VARoman wrote:

    “Calumny only if it isn’t true.”

    You never established the truth of your opinion. Calumny stands.

    “Your unwillingness to see Trump as he really is…”

    Translation: all must agree with VARoman’s opinion, and that’s a fact.

    “…makes your last paragraph moot because it pre-supposed Trump is a better person than Biden.”

    You’re avoiding the issue. There is ample evidence of “racist baby-killer.”

    “Why, pray tell, have you posted a speech delivered in Poland?”

    Read it and find out, the joy of discovery awaits.

    “All it demonstrates is that Trump has mediocre speech writers and the Polish desk at State has a grasp of history.”

    See my “Read it and…” remark above. There’s gold in them thar hills. Cheers.

  35. Semper Gumby says:

    VARoman wrote:

    “You over-inflate the importance and authority of the Executive. Should Trump win, and the dems take the Senate, he will not be able to appoint a single Federalist Society judge, let alone appoint Senior Executives to various agencies.”

    Nope. Pointing out a weakness in an argument, note the distinction. Take a closer look at vacancies, appointments, acting directors, partisan resistance to appointments and recess appointments. While we’re at it, let’s add the Solicitor General, OMB, OPM and DNI. Cheers.

  36. VARoman says:

    You will never agree, but so vacuously disparage my position as to resort to petty generalities equivalent to, “the mean MSM is out to get me”

    The speech, which I read in full, was not good. Frankly, it should worry you that the President can only find a warm reception in a country that applauded their president’s push to strip the judiciary of its independence.

  37. VARoman says:

    Nope, you have failed to cogently defend your point. OMB, OPM, etc are powerless to implement policy without Congress and/or Senate confirmed leadership in the various agencies.

    Trump would be unable to run the government with recess or temporary appointments.

    In four years with a republican Senate, Trump has only been able to fill judicial seats (the one accomplishment in an otherwise empty ledger sheet). Without a collaborative Senate he would fail in this too.

    [If you are going to respond, consolidate your comments, please and – always – ADDRESS them to someone. Thanks.]

  38. Semper Gumby says:

    VARoman wrote:

    “You will never agree, but so vacuously disparage my position as to resort to petty generalities equivalent to, “the mean MSM is out to get me””

    A curious furball of a sentence.

    “The speech, which I read in full, was not good.”

    Ah, but your calumny was: “he says moronic things all the time.” So, excellent, we’re making progress here.

    “Frankly, it should worry you that the President can only find a warm reception in a country that applauded their president’s push to strip the judiciary of its independence.”

    It appears you are unaware of the “warm reception” that Pres. Trump receives at his rallies, and in smaller venues. As for what I “should worry about,” there’s enough things in this crazy mixed-up world to worry about, ‘Mericans enjoying an evening with their President ain’t one of them.

    “Nope, you have failed to cogently defend your point.”

    Like clockwork, you’re wrong: Note how I pointed out a weakness in an argument and then advised you to take a closer look. As for your next several paragraphs: Nope, take a closer look. This time I’ll give you a hint: the Chad Wolf is not on the Endangered Species List. Cheers.

  39. WVC says:

    VARoman wrote: “I worked for Republicans on Capitol Hill for years”

    Thanks! I get it now! You’re part of the Sore Losers club. The most virulent anti-Trump folks tend to be lunatic liberals, but the close second goes to establishment Republicans (i.e. National Review, the Lincoln Project . . .etc.) who simply cannot stand that this uncouth lout of a New Yorker beat all their pristine, well coiffed candidates. It’s lead you into hysterics. “Existential threat to the Republic” – this is just nonsense talk. Go ahead and throw in a “He’s destroying the WHOLE WORLD because of Climate Change” while you’re at it? Consider, if he really is as big a moron as you claim he is, then how did he beat the pants off all those many, many, many establishment Republicans who ran against him in the primary? Many of them also joined the Sore Losers club (e.g. Kasich and Fiorina).

    I’m beginning to see that the folks who disparage Trump’s character see Trump the way Jack Chic reading Protestant zealots see the Catholic Church. They hate this completely imaginary image they’ve created with such intensity it’s become more real than any facts presented that contradict that image. Most of these anti-Trump folks don’t even see Trump when they watch Trump – they just see a mistake he made and then wait for him to make another mistake and then say all he does is make mistakes because they can’t see any of the parts in between. This is actual cognitive dissonance. It’s also why all of his many jokes fall so flat to them that they then turn around and try to use his jokes against him as if he was being serious (which he obviously wasn’t.)

    Y’all see some sort of monstrous demon, but the rest of us, we just see a man. Sure, he has flaws, and yes, he’s made mistakes, but he’s not the source and summit of all evil and stupidity in the world. That’s Joe Biden. (Kidding! Kidding! . . . well, sort of . . . ;-P )

    Oh, and to VARoman – as pretty much everyone who’s taken a minute to look into the matter knows, the correct answer is Trump did NOT say that White Supremacists and Neo Nazis were very fine people. In fact, he condemned them completely:
    https://youtu.be/JmaZR8E12bs?t=115

    And remember, Joe Biden has said repeatedly that the reason he decided to run for President is when he heard Trump say “White Supremacists” were very fine people at Charlottesville:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQn4dQtRYFQ

    So, VARoman, to show you were against Trump, who you say lies, you voted for Biden? You should maybe think that one over.

  40. Semper Gumby says:

    WVC wrote: “Sure, [Trump] has flaws, and yes, he’s made mistakes, but he’s not the source and summit of all evil and stupidity in the world. That’s Joe Biden.”

    You tell ’em, WVC.

    A vote for Donald Trump is a vote for a chicken in every pot, a Top Gun flight jacket in every closet, and a Rosary standard issue in every orphanage.

    And just consider what this man has done for our country:

    BETHESDA, MD—Having absorbed and defeated COVID-19, President Trump then charged into the viral research lab at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland to challenge more viruses to mess with him. “The doctors and nurses here are just excellent, raaahh!” Trump shouted as he ran through the halls. “Give me any plague! I’ll beat the [expletive] out of it!”

    https://babylonbee.com/news/trump-injects-self-with-ebola-so-he-can-defeat-that-next

    To the polls, we march at dawn!

  41. bartlep says:

    VARoman wrote: “I worked for Republicans on Capitol Hill for years”. When I read this statement I finally understood VARoman — he is part of the Deep State!

    WVC expounded on this and wrote a far more eloquent response than I could have. Well done.

    I’m bowing out of this thread. NOCatholic and VARoman have exposed themselves to be site crashers. All other commenters on this blog seem to be “true Catholics” and thus I am dismayed by these two commenters. I will be praying for both of you that you are able to inform your consciences to those teachings of our Church.

  42. VARoman says:

    WVC,

    I weep and will pray for you. There is nothing more to be said. You have been indoctrinated.

    Good luck

  43. The Masked Chicken says:

    Semper Gumby wrote:

    “ A vote for Donald Trump is a vote for a chicken in every pot…”

    This indiscriminate killing of chickens has got to stop, I say! This is gallicide. This is systemic speciesism. This reveals the depths of Trump’s depravity! I mean, I’m sure that Biden would never stoop to this monstrous level. Surely, he would have the human decency to put algae in every pot. It is a good source of protein; it reduces inflammation compared to beef; it would trap carbon and slow climate change. See, Biden is truly enlightened.

    I’ve heard a rumor that Biden supports the killing of his own kind, but surely, this is only a rumor. I mean, how can anyone who supports his species’s delicate climate fail to support a delicate human baby? Anyone who supports the killing of chickens, now they are capable of anything!

    The Chicken

    P. S. A note for the humor impaired: yes, this is sarcasm.

  44. WVC says:

    @The Chicken

    And I even hear that Trump is planning Cabinet-level appointments for the Chick-Fil-A cows during his second term! The man is a monster!

    Incidentally, there’s been all the hub-bub (mostly died down, from what I see) of trying to make fake beef from plant stuff. I never saw any hub-bub about making fake chicken with plant stuff. Which is more insulting? The idea that chicken can be replaced with odds and ends from plants? Or the idea that chickens aren’t even worth trying to replace with plants?

  45. WVC says:

    @VARoman – thanks! I always need prayers!

  46. NOCatholic says:

    Some final thoughts:

    Beware of becoming so “invested” into a candidate, particularly if he is on the right side of a paramount moral issue like abortion, that you are blinded to his faults. Trump’s faults should be obvious to anyone who watches him (and I don’t mean his rallies, I mean anytime he talks in public unscripted). If I really have to elaborate, then you don’t get it and probably won’t. If this puzzles you, pray about it. And Trump supporters here who attack Trump non-supporters in sarcastic terms are clearly invested in Trump and won’t get it.

    The same would apply to hardcore Biden supporters as well, were any such on this forum. VARoman, who seems to view Biden as the lesser evil, does not fall into that category. However, I disagree with him that is necessary to “go nuclear” and vote for a pro-abortion candidate just to oppose Trump.

    Since it seems everyone posting here has voted or firmly plans to vote, I will simply say I have been praying and will continue to pray for our country. And I will pray for you all. Please pray for me. We all ought to be in agreement over that.

    Peace,
    NOCatholic

  47. WVC says:

    @VARoman – oh, and you should pray for Trump, too! I prayed for Obama every night for 8 years. And I pray for my terrible excuse of a Governor every night as well.

    @NOCatholic – You sound almost gnostic in your prescription – “you must be able to see all the faults I see because if you don’t you don’t have the special knowledge!” Consider that your own vision may be the one that’s clouded – especially considering that all the “invested in Trump” folks here have put forward actual facts to support their position and you and others have only appealed either to “gossip” or “it’s just so obvious I can’t explain it” types of arguments. I continue to insist that you and others have a PERSONAL problem with Trump. I believe that very PERSONAL animosity makes you see something that doesn’t exist – just like anti-Catholic Protestants hate what they think is the Catholic Church.

    And when you seem to be losing the argument you resort to “y’all are going ‘nuclear’ on those who oppose you and there’s no reason to discuss it because your mind is made up.” I know I haven’t resorted to name-calling or any such stuff like that, and I’d hardly say any of my comments have been “nuclear.” And, I repeat, I consistently see Trump’s flaws and criticize him for his mistakes and understand he’s by no stretch of anyone’s imagination a perfect candidate. That’s YOU imagining what MY position is.

    My hope is to help folks see the Truth when possible. The Truth is that Trump is quite obviously the lesser of “two evils” in this particular situation. One doesn’t have to like Trump or be “invested” in him or even expect all that much from him (again, I only expect 4 more years of breathing room – anything after that is gravy) to recognize the Truth of the matter. Until you let go of whatever grudge you are holding against Trump or Trump supporters who have offended you, I’m afraid you won’t be able to do proper justice to the man or to those of us who reasonably hope he wins the election.

    And I’m happy to pray for you and your intentions.

  48. Semper Gumby says:

    Fr. Z: That is true, Pres. Trump’s speech in Warsaw was well-received by the Poles. CNN, the Clinton News Network, called it a speech for “white Americans”- apparently CNN has yet to invest in a map of the world. Here’s a primer for our slower brothers and sisters at CNN:

    1. Purchase map, Open map
    2. Find Atlantic Ocean, Look at it
    3. Look to left, That’s North America
    4. Look to right, That’s Europe
    5. Close map, Resist urge to refresh yourself after that mental exertion with soy products.

    When Pres. Reagan delivered his “Evil Empire” speech there was wailing and gnashing of teeth by Dems, and a few Republicans were shocked, shocked by such uncouthness. Though, many regular folks behind the Iron Curtain, who lived the realities of socialism every day, were heartened by Reagan’s speech.

    True, some experience anxiety from blunt rhetoric by the President. But that anxiety is preferable to WW III.

  49. Semper Gumby says:

    Masked Chicken: Good point. Just chickens in the pot is tyranny and offensive to God. For those who don’t want a chicken in their pot they can have beefsteak, beefloaf or beefsoup.

    VARoman wrote to WVC: “There is nothing more to be said. You have been indoctrinated.”

    One of us. One of us.

    NOCatholic wrote:

    “Beware of becoming so “invested” into a candidate, particularly if he is on the right side of a paramount moral issue like abortion, that you are blinded to his faults.”

    After years of being lectured as racist, sexist, capitalist pigs or whatever by malicious ignoramuses who want to destroy this country for the greater glory of Karl Marx and Moloch, we say: Donald J. Trump is the Terrible Swift Sword of the Lord hand-crafted in the depths of eternity, before space and time were knit together by Nature and Nature’s God, to wreak havoc on the Soy-Intellectual Complex and return to us, the oppressed peasantry, our God-given right to chug 64-ounce sodas, pound our Bible and fly our flag when we da*n please, and not have our kindergarten children brainwashed about sex by creatures from a Star Trek episode.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, my buddies and me have to stuff ourselves with haggis, paint our faces blue, don bearskins, strike up the bagpipes and march to the polls. Feel free to follow us, we’ll leave a trail of empty Scotch bottles to mark our trail. God bless everyone, even the Libs.

  50. SKAY says:

    VARoman saod:

    “But I most certainly will be offering prayers of thanks and joy if we and the world are spared four more years of Trump.”

    Yes-your joy will be celebrated along with the domestic Democrat USCP, the CCP with financial ties to the Biden’s and Kamala and her husband, other Democrats(like pro abortion “catholic”Pelosi) and unfortunately some longtime DC swamp dwellers that want to remain hidden. You will also happily be in the company of Iran and
    Putin who WILL l be very happy when the (AOC) Green New Deal is forced on our country by the
    Democrat Harris/Biden administration . Russia and Iran will benefit greatly from that and so will those in our own country who, like the Biden crime family, will happily take bribes(selling our country out for their own monetary gain). Biden voters are not worried about the devastation the loony Green New Deal will actually cause to this country and its citizens.

    Of course the very LARGE elephant in the living room that is being ignored by the Pravda Media and Biden voters IS that Biden has dementia so your vote is actually going to someone else
    much more nefarious than even he is when he is lucid. Follow the money.

    I do remember his and Ted Kennedy’s despicable pro abortion performances during the Clarence Thomas SCOTUS nomination. Do you?

  51. SKAY says:

    Biden is promising to get rid of religious freedom:

    “Joe Biden made no bones about it: If he wins the presidential election, he will gut religious freedom protections that allow faith-based homeless shelters, charities, and small business owners to act according to their consciences. Specifically, he will shove LGBT ideology down the throats of religious Americans in the name of fighting “discrimination.”

    On Wednesday, the Democratic nominee told Philadelphia Gay News that President Donald Trump has given “hate” a “safe harbor” by protecting religious freedom and enabling what Biden condemned as “discrimination.”

    Transgenderism will be one of the main things he will push in the government. What he
    is saying is hate is actually common sense. This will affect Catholic adoption agencies.

  52. Semper Gumby says:

    SKAY: Good point about Harris-Biden and their religious persecution agenda.

    Speaking of religious persecution, an opinion piece appeared yesterday at the New York Post: “The Vatican’s just-renewed agreement with China follows an ancient pattern.” The pro-Agreement piece is authored by two professors, Gladden Pappin and Adrian Vermeule, with Sohrab Ahmari as editor. All three are Integralist (the Vatican should have primacy over legitimate governments) “intellectuals.”

    The NY Post piece coos that “The key here is that the agreement is sharply limited in scope. It primarily addresses the appointment of bishops, the very composition of the church herself.” Given time, according to this piece, all will be well, because “Americans should also consider what the church sees when she looks to China with eyes ultimately fixed on transcendent, theological horizons.”

    However, Pappin, Vermeule and Ahmari failed to address:

    1. The secret details of the Agreement.

    2. Francis’ refusal to meet recently with Cardinal Zen.

    3. Francis’ recent refusal to meet with Secretary of State Pompeo. Here is a brief article by Sec. Pompeo, “China’s Catholics and the Church’s Moral Witness”:

    https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2020/09/chinas-catholics-and-the-churchs-moral-witness

    4. Communist China’s cyberattack on the Vatican this summer leading up to the renewal of the Agreement.

    5. Credible allegations of Chinese Communist payments to the Vatican.

    6. “Xi Jinping Portraits Replace Catholic Symbols in Churches”

    https://bitterwinter.org/xi-jinping-portraits-replace-catholic-symbols/

    7. “Father Yo from Shandong called the guidelines “strange.” “How can people have a good life when they don’t even have the natural right to freedom of religion? If we do not even have the most basic human rights, how can we be good?””

    https://www.christianpost.com/news/china-censors-film-production-with-christian-content-including-miracles-healing.html

    Poorly done by these three “Integralist intellectuals,” poorly done indeed.

  53. TonyO says:

    Masked Chicken, that was a great comment. Thanks for the laughs! (Is the connection of gallicide and Frenchmen a bonus two-fer?)

    Tony

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