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Faithful Citizenship: “Catholic Vote” is very sought after ^ | Mickey Addison

Posted on 06/11/2008 6:48:38 PM PDT by Salvation

Faithful Citizenship

June 11th, 2008 by Mickey Addison

There are roughly 77 million people in the USA who identify themselves as Catholics.  The much vaunted “Catholic Vote” is very sought after with politicians trying to use the words of our bishops as implicit endorsements.  This is a twisting of our bishops’ teaching, since as Cardinal George said in response to the public scandal of a “zealously” political priest in his archdiocese, “The Catholic Church does not endorse political candidates.”

Every four years for the past thirty, our bishops have issued a teaching document to assist Catholic voters as they approach the general elections.  In “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship”, this year’s United States Council of Catholic Bishops’ teaching document, the bishops are very clear on two points: (1) Catholics must consider a wide range of issues when voting, and (2) life issues have precedence over all other issues.

“Faithful Citizenship” makes the case that no other issues have the same weight as life issues do.  This is not to say that other issues, say economic justice or national security policy, are not important but it does mean that some issues have greater moral weight than others:

“Human life is sacred.  The dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society.  Direct attacks on innocent persons are never morally acceptable, at any stage or in any condition.  In our society, human life is especially under direct attack from abortion.  Other direct threats to the sanctity of human life include euthanasia, human cloning, and the destruction of human embryos for research” (#44, emphasis mine).

There are some things we must never do, as individuals or as a society, because they are always incompatible with love of God and neighbor.  Such actions are so deeply flawed that they are always opposed to the authentic good of persons.  These are called “intrinsically evil” actions.  They must always be rejected and opposed and must never be supported or condoned.  A prime example is the intentional taking of innocent human life, as in abortion and euthanasia.  In our nation, “abortion and euthanasia have become preeminent threats to human dignity because they directly attack life itself, the most fundamental human good and the condition for all others” (Living the Gospel of Life, no. 5).  It is a mistake with grave moral consequences to treat the destruction of innocent human life merely as a matter of individual choice. A legal system that violates the basic right to life on the grounds of choice is fundamentally flawed” (#22, emphasis mine).

Each level of government makes decisions on our behalf, and those decisions, whether they be about the defense of human life or social programs to help the poor must start with the basic proposition that human life is sacred from the moment God “formed you in your mother’s womb.”  While safeguarding the rights and dignity of the poor is of vital importance, those issues do not rise to the level of preserving human life in its most vulnerable forms (children in the womb, for example).

Some people are quick to point out that the bishops teach that “Catholics are not single issue voters” (#42), and, while true, that doesn’t mean that Catholics may ignore the hierarchy of issues and fail to prioritize them accordingly.  While some use the bishops’ entreaty not to vote on a single issue only as an “escape clause” to vote for a pro-abortion candidate whom they like for other reasons, true social justice demands that the most basic right must take priority over all others.  Furthermore, while Catholics shouldn’t vote for a candidate based on a single issue, Catholics may use a single issue to disqualify a candidate from receiving their vote.  “Yet a candidate’s position on a single issue that involves an intrinsic evil, such as support for legal abortion or the promotion of racism, may legitimately lead a voter to disqualify a candidate from receiving support” (#42).

You see, if a person doesn’t have the God-given right to live, then all other rights are meaningless.  It is impossible to establish authentic social justice when 1 in 4 children are murdered in the womb.  Universal healthcare is useless if hospitals become abortion mills and push contraceptives.  Opposition to any war rings hollow when millions of our own citizens are killed because they are inconvenient or the wrong sex.

We must, therefore, distinguish between important issues, like care for the poor and immigration policy, with foundational issues, like abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic experimentation.  If we allow ourselves to elect judges, executives, and legislators who have demonstrated their hostility to the sanctity of life over and over, then we condemn future generations to the tyranny of dehumanization. 

Disregard for the poor is a travesty, disregard for human life is an abomination.

The choices we face this November are difficult, there is no “Catholic Party, USA,” so we must navigate the issues and the candidates carefully.  If we can’t choose the perfect candidates, then at least we should choose those who will least harm the weakest among us.

Mickey Addison is a career military officer, and has been a catechist at the parish level since 2000. He and his wife have been married for 20 years and they have two children. He can be reached at

This article was previously published on the
Rosary Army website and is used by permission.

TOPICS: Catholic; Evangelical Christian; Mainline Protestant; Moral Issues; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: catholic; elections; prolife
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To: hunter112; MHGinTN

Please do not use potty language or references to potty language on the Religion Forum.

21 posted on 06/11/2008 9:19:53 PM PDT by Religion Moderator
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To: Religion Moderator
Please do not use potty language or references to potty language on the Religion Forum.

Yes! Stop using potty language! Hateful language towards Catholics is the only potty language allowed. Ya got that!

22 posted on 06/11/2008 9:49:51 PM PDT by notaliberal (Christ Our Hope!)
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To: notaliberal
This is an open thread. Thin-skinned posters are disruptors on open threads.

Leave the thread.

23 posted on 06/11/2008 9:51:38 PM PDT by Religion Moderator
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Comment #24 Removed by Moderator

To: fetal heart beats by 21st day

Sounds like the catchy-sounding “seamless garment theory,” which is morally and theologically unsound, although still promoted by a few priests and bishops, moreso in universities.

Some people are legitimately confused because unorthodox groups like Voice of the Faithful put out “voter guides” that claim equivalency on issues like abortion and death penalty or poverty or defense policy. Even the USCCB statement is so long and convoluted it’s not a clear (or possibly even accurate) explanation of Church teaching on voting obligations.

I’m glad to see so many Catholics on FR have the story straight and hope we can “evangelize” our less well-informed fellow Catholics out there.

I tried explaining this to my Mom, and when it was on a theoretical plane she did not agree with me. Then I said, “Mom, you realize if you vote for a pro-abortion candidate, more abortions will occur, and you personally are an accessory to those abortions. Your vote played a part in allowing them to happen.” She was stunned and then agreed with me.

25 posted on 06/11/2008 9:58:01 PM PDT by baa39
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To: Salvation

Maybe it wouldn’t hurt if we wrote editor’s letters to Catholic newspapers to remind readers that they must vote for LIFE!

The Clintons would not have been elected without the Catholic vote, but part of that might have been because they didn’t know how pro-abortion the Clintons are.

26 posted on 06/11/2008 9:58:14 PM PDT by Sun (Pray that God sends us good leaders. Please say a prayer now.)
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To: Salvation

I have a question: I generally agree that Human Life is sacred, and I certainly agree that Abortion is Evil.

I am studying to be Catholic, and I understand that the above beliefs are consistent with Catholic doctrine.

Does this mean that Catholics oppose the Death Penalty? If all life is sacred, then it follows that the Death Penalty is therefore contrary to...?

Speaking personally, I am in favor of the Death Penalty for the most heinous of crimes, and would Volunteer to carry out sentence the likes of Osama bin Laden, for example (tho’ I’d probably have to stand in a long line of Volunteers for that one!) Or Saddam Hussein, or the moron in charge of Iran.

How to reconcile this?

27 posted on 06/11/2008 10:48:27 PM PDT by DieHard the Hunter (Is mise an ceann-cinnidh. Cha ghéill mi do dhuine. Fàg am bealach.)
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To: Soliton
Women used to be the moral conscience of not only our church, but also our country. It was during the ‘60s that this changed, and women came to view the feminist agenda and all it's tentacles as more important than the teachings of Catholicism or the traditional role of the woman. For the Millennium, Time magazine crowned “The Pill” as the single most important achievement of the 20th century. It's a pretty sad comment on how much women have lost in only two generations. Any women who backs a pro-abortion candidate should find a devout priest and get involved in a discussion with him. I'd bet that in less than 5 mins., a competent priest could put her straight.
28 posted on 06/12/2008 3:14:12 AM PDT by ishabibble (ALL-AMERICAN INFIDEL)
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To: Sun

Clinton, who did not receive a majority in either 92 or 96, only a plurality, wouldn’t have been elected were it not for Ross Perot.

29 posted on 06/12/2008 4:20:55 AM PDT by A.A. Cunningham
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To: DieHard the Hunter
Does this mean that Catholics oppose the Death Penalty?

Some do, some don't. The teaching of the Church is that the state has the right to impose the death penalty but that it should be rarely utilized.

2267 The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.
"If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.
"Today, in fact, given the means at the State's disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender 'today ... are very rare, if not practically non-existent.'[John Paul II, Evangelium vitae 56.]

30 posted on 06/12/2008 4:25:23 AM PDT by A.A. Cunningham
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To: Salvation

“How will you vote?”

Against Obambi.

Too many negatives from his collectivist, Marxist worldview, his economic advisors who are living in 1978, Ziggie Brezinski his architect, George Soros, his backer and his associates from the communist left.

He and his associates are materialists and that, alone, is antithetical to Catholic theology.

The most dam**ng problem is his adherence to the secular religion of infanticide and abortion.

31 posted on 06/12/2008 4:35:02 AM PDT by OpusatFR
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To: Salvation

How will I vote? Either the Constitution Party or very, very, very reluctantly for McCain - holding my nose as Snobama-messiah is even worse than Juan McAmnesty. It’ll depend on whether Virgina is a battleground state or not. It will take an awful lot to get me to vote for McCain, as his position on amnesty for illegals alone turns me off to him. But Snobama-messiah is totally pro-abortion, and McCain/McAmnesty is at least some degree pro-life.

I wish there would be a box on the ballot called Do-Over!

32 posted on 06/12/2008 4:55:31 AM PDT by Convert from ECUSA ("When I was a boy, America was a better place" - Dennis Prager)
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To: Salvation

“How will you vote?” Very selectively and for many offices, not at all. I’m coming to believe that heartfelt Prayer is, in the long run, the best way to strengthen the Church and in so strengthening the Church we can bring more people into the fold. I would never vote for a pro-abortion candidtate, nor do I vote for those who equivicate on the issue. But, should the evil win the day in November I’d believe the best defense is prayer.

33 posted on 06/12/2008 5:20:18 AM PDT by glide625 (Protest Election '08, Neither Free nor Fair)
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To: baa39

Yes, they view abortion as just one issue-alla Bernardin’s seamless garment theory.

They put abortion on one side of a scale, and count it as just one “issue” alongside many others, like social security solvency or poverty, or their personal opposition to capital punishment or war.

Yet, all the other “issues” combined, that can be solved politically, cannot possibly add up to thousands of lost souls, deprived of their right to baptism and their God-given right to exist-not to mention the wounded souls of their parents.

Add embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, the death sentences being handed out to innocent disabled persons, and the number of souls anchoring the scales of justice to the pits of hell, to the mix.

The scale can never be lifted by a politician’s claim to otherwise good intentions.

34 posted on 06/12/2008 5:20:35 AM PDT by fetal heart beats by 21st day (Defending human life is not a federalist issue. It is the business of all of humanity.)
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To: DieHard the Hunter; Salvation
Does this mean that Catholics oppose the Death Penalty? If all life is sacred, then it follows that the Death Penalty is therefore contrary to...?

Given some of the explanations given by Pope John Paul II, especially in Evangelium Vitae, it might seem that the death penalty could not be permissible. However, in the Catholic tradition no blanket condemnation has existed, nor does it exist today. St. Thomas Aquinas explains how the death penalty might be permissible:

Certainly, what the Church seems to be saying today is that if other suitable means to deal with criminals can be utilized, they should be used before the death penalty should be an option. Being neither an ethicist nor a theologian, I certainly can't speak with moral certitude on the matter one way or the other.

For what it's worth, the Summa Theologica (where I linked to) will give you many good solid answers on a great number of questions.

May God continue to bless you!

35 posted on 06/12/2008 5:32:26 AM PDT by GCC Catholic (Sour grapes make terrible whine.)
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To: DieHard the Hunter

Catholic teaching does not equate abortion and capital punishment.

Abortion is intrinsically evil, and always wrong.

There is one exception to the rule, though, which might sound like a technicality.

When the mother will certainly die if the baby remains, as is normally the case with ectopic pregnancies, the baby may be removed from the fallopian tubes, and efforts to save the baby’s life must be taken.

With capital punishment,we are dealing with predators on society.

The Church teaches that we may defend ourselves, and the Church’s position is that the state has a right to defend itself via capital punishment.

Because of the value of each and every soul, we are never to be gleeful about someone’s death.

So, the Church encourages us to pursue other alternatives to capital punishment in the hope that the person has time to repent of his crime, and turn to God before death.

I hope that helps.

Welcome to the Church! As you will discover, there are many Catholics at Free Republic who feel immensely blessed to have been blessed with the gift of our Catholic faith.

36 posted on 06/12/2008 5:33:02 AM PDT by fetal heart beats by 21st day (Defending human life is not a federalist issue. It is the business of all of humanity.)
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To: Religion Moderator; greyfoxx39; colorcountry; Elsie; Godzilla; Colofornian; Revelation 911; ...

Explain for me when ‘dittos’ became potty language. You pinged me for posting dittos ... what’s next, ban me for addressing that?

37 posted on 06/12/2008 11:47:53 AM PDT by MHGinTN (Believing they cannot be deceived, they cannot be convinced when they are deceived.)
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To: Religion Moderator

Perhaps you could point out for me what was potty language in the post to which I offered a dittos, #14.

38 posted on 06/12/2008 11:52:31 AM PDT by MHGinTN (Believing they cannot be deceived, they cannot be convinced when they are deceived.)
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i think it was in reference to this guy

39 posted on 06/12/2008 12:48:27 PM PDT by Revelation 911
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To: Salvation

then we couldn’t vote for republicans either....

of all the major candidates, only Ron Paul could pass the Catholic test as being acceptable as far as “pro-life” issues go, but he fails horrible on “social justice”.

40 posted on 06/12/2008 12:55:12 PM PDT by ChurtleDawg (voting only encourages them)
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