Skip to comments.Catholics Cannot Vote for Pols Who Support Abortion, Except for Morally Grave Reasons: KY Bishops
Posted on 02/17/2008 10:39:37 AM PST by wagglebee
Kentucky, February 15, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Catholics cannot vote for a political candidate that takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion, unless there is a morally grave reason to do so, the Kentucky bishops have instructed the faithful in a pastoral letter released this past January 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
As one would expect, given the release date, the bishops' pastoral letter, entitled Reverence for Life: Conscience and Faithful Citizenship, focuses significantly on the life issues
"Catholic social doctrine is not limited to the defense and promotion of economic and political rights," begins the letter. "Human life issues such as abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, and the violence of war also fall within the scope of social morality."
Indeed, the letter indicates, human life issues ultimately supersede strictly political and economic considerations, since the life issues address the most fundamental human right, the right to life, which underpins all other human rights.
"Consistent with our nation's legal tradition we hold that all human laws must be measured against the natural law engraved in our hearts by the Creator .In particular, respect for human life is numbered among those basic values that underpin the very foundation of civilization. What we profess in defense of the sacredness of unborn human life harmonizes with our historic legal tradition founded on the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
"Abortion on demand," the bishops stress, "does not."
The letter, the release of which is clearly meant to coincide with the looming federal elections, informs Catholics that it would be cooperating with grave evil to vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor an intrinsic evil, such as abortion, unless there is a sufficiently grave reason to vote for the candidate.
"A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter's intent is to support that position. In such cases a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil," explain the bishops.
"There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate's unacceptable moral position may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons." However, the bishops continue, clarifying what might constitute a "grave moral reason", "Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences or to ignore a fundamental moral evil."
In the letter the bishops do not ultimately give a definite guideline for what a Catholic should do when all of the candidates presented for consideration support intrinsic evils. Instead the bishops lay out the underlying principles that a Catholic must consider in such a situation, and leave the final decision up to the conscience of the voter.
"When all candidates hold a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, the conscientious voter faces a dilemma. The voter may decide to take the extraordinary step of not voting for any candidate or, after careful deliberation, may decide to vote for a candidate deemed less likely to advance such a morally flawed position but more likely to pursue other authentic human goods."
Nevertheless, say the bishops, even should a Catholic discern that all of candidates running for office support grave evils, this can never justify indifference towards the political sphere. Instead, the Catholic should consider this unfortunate situation an encouragement to become even more involved, and thereby to introduce Catholic values into the political sphere.
"In unison with our brother bishops throughout the nation, we 'encourage all citizens, particularly Catholics, to embrace their citizenship not merely as a duty and privilege, but as an opportunity meaningfully to participate in building the culture of life. Every voice matters in the public forum.'"
The letter also reserves strong words for Catholics and politicians who claim a personal opposition to intrinsic moral evils, but who do not act on those supposed personal convictions in the personal sphere. "No Catholic voter or politician can hide behind the evasion - 'Personally I oppose abortion, but I cannot impose my religious beliefs (or my morality) on others.' It is a moral contradiction. Living the faith in the context of democratic pluralism cannot justify such self-deception."
"No one can be exempted from the logical step to translate moral opposition into effective strategies. If there is a lack of public consensus to effect full legal protection, no one can be excused from working toward creating consensus as a first step."
To read the full document Reverence for Life: Conscience and Faithful Citizenship, see:
http://www.ccky.org/ (Scroll down to January 28, and click on the link for the PDF)
Pity. I wish your prior post suggested this wealth of knowledge.
I suggest that the Pope and prior popes were wrong, both as a matter of faith and as a matter of fact.
You have the right to suggest that all you'd like. I would defend (and have defended) your ability to exercise that right.
Whether or not they're excommunicated, they're still in office. The problem is that many Catholics voted FOR those pols to put them into office. This is why the Bishops' message is important. It is hoped that more Catholics will start to listen to them and not support the pro-abortion candidates anymore.
You obviously have a problem with the Church, and you are free to not listen to the Pope or any other teachers within the Church. At the same time, the Pope is free to offer his opinions, and distribute his teachings based on decades of study of the Scriptures and the works of the early Church Fathers, to believers within the Catholic Church.
Maybe you should check around prior to engaging your .... Lurking
Heretics fall into two classes formal and material.
Both groups hold opinions contrary to the Catholic Churches teaching as defined by the Pope speaking ex Cathedra to all the Catholics around the world in matters of faith and morals.
One heretical group does not know they are in opposition to the churches teaching and have to be made aware of the correct teaching.
If they persist in their contrary views then they get ex communicated.
The Church would do better to make no bones about abortion and tell the pols if they persist in supporting it they are ex communicated. So far the Catholic Church has done little, until lately about this subject. That is why so many Catholic pols have disregarded the Church.- tom
There is no Catholic doctrine governing the use of the death penalty.
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1 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion,
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2 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A
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2 From its conception, the child has the right to life. Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a "criminal" practice (GS 27 § 3),
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gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent
There is no need for a public excommunication because it’s done once the politician takes the position.
I disagree in that the same politicians will take a public pro-abortion position time after time in front of millions of people with no VISIBLE response from the church... It appears as if their position is being condoned,, it is this repeated appearance of going along so as not to rock the boat that must be ended.
Well, thank you, epow! Reading this stuff in context is really interesting.
This is correct, CWW. However I would hazard that the vast majority of Catholics don’t know this much less the term “Latae sententiae excommunication”. The Bishops need to teach.
So as a Christian are you pro-life and against abortion? Because I am confused by some peoples comments,it is not about if you like the Catholic church,it’s Christians who support pro-abortion candidates. Too many people on here lately are so arrogant,between the Mormon bashing and the Catholic bashing,I’m surprised Christians can united against anything that’s evil.We have a candidate who calls himself a Christian and he is soooo pro-abortion it makes me sick. But yet for political reasons you have Christians supporting these candidates with their votes and their money.That is what is wrong not a personal opinion of what you think of the Catholic church or of any other faith. If we as Christians can’t stand each other long enough to unite against evil, such as abortion,homosexuality,then we don’t have a right to call ourselves Christians. For crying out loud Jesus talked of loving your enemy but yet here lately it seems more about pride and arrogance than anything to do with love.