Skip to comments.So what is the real story about Cardinal Ratzinger's statement? Can Catholics Vote Pro-Abortion?
Posted on 09/11/2004 10:41:32 AM PDT by Coleus
So what is the real story about Cardinal Ratzinger's statement?
Back in June, the head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sent a letter to the US bishops, offering some guidance on how Church leaders should respond to Catholic politicians who promote abortion. Washington's Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, to whom the letter was addressed, chose not to share it with the other American bishops, and so Cardinal Ratzinger's statement did not come to light for several weeks, until it was leaked to an Italian journalist. (You then probably read about it for the first time right here on CWN.)
The Ratzinger letter is still readily available, and if you read the full text, you'll be left with absolutely no doubt about what the cardinal is saying: that Catholics should not vote for a candidate who supports abortion.
Quoting Pope John Paul II, the cardinal observes that "in the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to 'take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law or vote for it.'"
Is abortion just one among many moral topics that voters should consider? Cardinal Ratzinger answers that question clearly: "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."
At the bottom of his letter, Cardinal Ratzinger inserted one explanatory footnote. And now suddenly this footnote-- rather than the full text of the cardinal's argument-- has become the focus of media attention. So let's take a careful look at it:
When a Catholic does not share a candidates stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.
Take careful note of those last two words: "proportionate reasons." Cardinal Ratzinger, a careful moral theologian, is telling us that a faithful Catholic might vote for a candidate who supported abortion if there were another moral issue as grave and as clear as the abortion issue. But keep in mind that in the text above this footnote, the cardinal made it quite clear that there is no such commensurate issue.
Last week the St. Louis Post-Dispatch asked Archbishop Raymond Burke to comment on the argument in Cardinal Ratzinger's footnote. Archbishop Burke responded with what he clearly thought was a rhetorical question:
The sticking point is this-- and this is the hard part," said Burke. "What is a proportionate reason to justify favoring the taking of an innocent, defenseless human life? And I just leave that to you as a question. That's the question that has to be answered in your conscience. What is the proportionate reason?"
Unfortunately, the Post-Dispatch missed the archbishop's point entirely (and, one suspects, intentionally), and carried a headline suggesting that Archbishop Burke, too, was "softening" his position on the issue. He was not. Like Cardinal Ratzinger before him, Archbishop Burke was trying to be strictly accurate-- trying to educate the interviewer about Catholic moral reasoning-- and his honesty was punished.
In an election year, with political parties ready to exploit any fragmentary statement and drive a truck through any available loophole, it's difficult to educate Catholic voters. But any fair reader should be able to understand Archbishop Burke's point. It would-- theoretically-- be justifiable to vote for a pro-abortion candidate, if the candidate's opponent supported a policy as clearly, gravely wrong as the deliberate slaughter of innocent children. But there is no comparably evil policy-- no proportionate reason to vote for a pro-abortion candidate.
In a statement released on August 11, Bishop Rene Gracida clarified matters:
Since abortion and euthanasia have been defined by the Church as the most serious sins prevalent in our society, what kind of reasons could possibly be considered proportionate enough to justify a Catholic voting for a candidate who is known to be pro-abortion? None of the reasons commonly suggested could even begin to be proportionate enough to justify a Catholic voting for such a candidate. Reasons such as the candidates position on war, or taxes, or the death penalty, or immigration, or a national health plan, or social security, or aids, or homosexuality, or marriage, or any similar burning societal issues of our time are simply lacking in proportionality.
ALL that meeds to be said is:
1. Abortion is a SIN
2. Abortionists are murderers - Murder is a Mortal Sin
3. Promoting abortion is akin to aiding and abetting MURDER and is also a SIN.
4. SILENCE is NOT Golden - especially when silence is taken the same as agreement.
Now - let your concience be your guide - but remember the consequences - If you do not believe in the Church, you do not belong in the Church. PERIOD!
Abortion is murder, and it's a SIN. How he can ignore that is a mystery to me. I'm sure God would like to know too.
Ratzinger did the right thing and McCarrick didn't disseminate the letter to the American bishops as he should have and gave false information to the press. McCarrick was a big Clinton supporter and sat on one of his commissions, so we all know where he stands. He sold his soul down the river for the democrat party.
He sure did. Not only that, but it's going to give Catholic women who want to get an abortion enough wiggle room to justify it.
Thanks for the note. I just found out the local parish is organizing a Pax Christi group. A friend went to the meeting and discovered this group is promoting abortion. To make matters worse the new pastor is going to pay the $150 membership fee out of parish funds for any parishoner who wishes to join.
Such a shame. I am glad I am at a church that is on more solid footing.
The situation is worse than Catholics simply misunderstanding Church teaching. Many simply don't care.
You only read the headline, right?
That is my reading, anyway and being in California this isn't an uncommon situation.
This suggests California Catholics should've voted for McClintock, for example, not Arnold over Grey.
I can't believe this would even be a question.
Here's a question...if the Pope came out and said abortion was ok, would you be for it?
Not if someone makes a lot of trouble about it.
Just a question, I am not a catholic but have or had many catholics friends. Out of the roughly sixty-million catholics in this country, if the church say excommunicated all the cafeteria ones, how many would be left? From my small sample that I have known I would estimate less than 40%.
I've had dealings with Pax Christi in the past; they are very rude, sanctimonious, arrogant, and very unmerciful, they hate republicans and vote for democrats and for abortion. NONE were seen when Clinton bombed Kosovo; Iraq; and Khartoum, Sudan (the aspirin factory); Nor where there any demonstrations while the millions of black African Christians were slaughtered by militant Muslims in Sudan, Rwanda and Somalia.
Were they seen when Clinton started HIS pre-emptive war in Kosovo and elsewhere? NO WAY, they are hypocrites and democrat ideologues who hate republicans in general and president Bush and couldn't care less about the war in Iraq, they just want Bush out.
If they were true to their cause -- world peace, they would have participated and made protests against Clinton and his pre-emptive attacks. They did not and are nothing more than hypocrites.
I was recently attacked by a woman at a counter demonstration who was wearing a Pax Christi tee-shirt. The police almost took this hysterical democrat away in handcuffs.
I have yet to see anyone from Pax Christi pray or protest at abortion clinics or do sidewalk counseling. The war in the womb is ok with them. It must be since it's a platform of the Democrat Party.
Pretty strong stuff and not entirely fair. I was local president of a Pax Christi group for a while, but I will no longer pay dues to the national organization because of their unwillingness to stand up to the pro-abortion left. Still, I know that we demonstrated against Kosovo because I personally led demonstrations against it. We drew 50 to 75 people here in Atlanta, and at one point we actually conducted a "prayer for peace" service prepared by the national Pax Christi organization.
I visited the website last night. All I could find on abortion was a document from 1991 stating the group adhered to the seamless garment philosophy in opposition to abortion. Yet at the end of the article there was a loophole implying a woman's conscience was the deciding factor in an abortion. I was left unclear as to the group's official position.
The woman who attended the recent local meeting came away with the idea the group was pro-abortion. I don't know exactly what was said as I wasn't there. She was told that parish funds would be used to pay the dues for any parishoner who wished to join. That is highly inappropriate IMO.
The national leaders of Pax Christi are "NCR Catholics," and that is their loophole on everything--primacy of conscience. I suggest you research what happened to stop the Pax Christi national convention in Memphis in the summer of 2001. That gives you a pretty good idea where the group stands on abortion.
Who really cares what another fallible mortal said or didn't say.
Why not undersatnd God's nature, which does not change and use that as your guide?
A vote for abortion will have to be explained at the pearly gates. And I don't think you're going to get a pass from Saint Peter.
"Here's a question...if the Pope came out and said abortion was ok, would you be for it?"
NO. I don't base my belief on what another man says. I have a mind of my own. I believe abortion is wrong. I believe fetal stem cell research is wrong. Free will, don't ya know.
I'm glad some people are true to their word and in deed. I bet they didn't carry signs of the three stooges and dumbo with Clinton's picture as they did with President Bush. And I bet no republican tried to assualt your group. It's getting really nasty. Up here we saw no protests during the Clinton administration.
Here's what I do. In the Republican primary, I will always vote for the pro-life candidate.
If that candidate loses the primary, I will vote for the GOP candidate if the race is a legislative one, figuring that having a GOP majority in the legislative body will advance the pro-life cause, no matter what my representative says.
If the race, for example, is for governor, I will vote 3rd party or not vote at all for that position, figuring that an executive has a lot more power to hurt the pro-life cause than a legislator does. It's better to be the loyal opposition than to have your own representative stabbing you in the back.
A Voter's Guide: Pro-choice candidates and church teaching
Wall Street Journal ^ | Friday, September 17, 2004 12:01 a.m. EDT | Archbishop John J. Myers
The direct killing of innocent human beings at any stage of development, including the embryonic and fetal, is homicidal, gravely sinful and always profoundly wrong.
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