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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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Comment #41 Removed by Moderator

To: Salvation

Regarding the issue of life, on a scale of A to F, Mr. McCain is, at best, a D+ candidate.

But on a scale of A to F, regarding the issue of life, Snob-ama is a G.

42 posted on 06/12/2008 1:28:55 PM PDT by sitetest (If Roe is not overturned, no unborn child will ever be protected in law.)
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To: C19fan
"This whole “Catholic vote” is a myth."

You have a point. If it were not so, there would be more Catholics on the top of tickets. The GOP has never nominated a Catholic for President and the Democrat's selections have been a stretch.

The GOP is becoming more and more 'pro-choice', since Giuliani was early leading the pack. Even the SC nominations had Harriet Myers in the middle. As abortion becomes more and more a missing subject at Sunday Mass [also shacking up], the younger infrequent attendees are not attuned to pro-life as the elders.

Other issues [economy, war] have the voter's attendance because of their urgent mention in the media while voting pro-life has to be more than a 4 year cicada never mentioned in interim elections.

43 posted on 06/12/2008 1:31:16 PM PDT by ex-snook ("Above all things, truth beareth away the victory.")
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To: Salvation
Dear Salvation,

“When one looks at the Catechism of the Catholic Church and sees that anyone who even assists (in any way) with an abortion is tries my brains to try to figure out why these Catholics can’t see the truth.”

That would be persons whose assistance is formal and proximate.

Remember that in Catholic canon law, punishments are applied narrowly, benefits more broadly.

The penalty of excommunication, latae sententiae, for participating in the crime of abortion likely does not extend to politicians who support the legality of abortion.


44 posted on 06/12/2008 1:33:31 PM PDT by sitetest (If Roe is not overturned, no unborn child will ever be protected in law.)
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It was in reference to your post #6 the nickname for Harkin.

45 posted on 06/12/2008 1:59:35 PM PDT by Religion Moderator
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To: baa39

**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.**

Great explanation. Thanks.

46 posted on 06/12/2008 6:32:48 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Sun

**wrote editor’s letters to Catholic newspapers to remind readers that they must vote for LIFE!**

Good idea.

Your own local Catholic newspaper!

47 posted on 06/12/2008 6:33:46 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: DieHard the Hunter

I will send you a link for the death penalty. Check your FReepmail.

48 posted on 06/12/2008 6:34:39 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: OpusatFR

**Against Obambi.**

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

Those two statements needed to be repeated.

49 posted on 06/12/2008 6:38:46 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: ChurtleDawg

I will vote for McCain because he is pro-life. Send him a message that we do not approve of his stand on embryonic stem cell research.

I sincerely believe he will change his mind.

50 posted on 06/12/2008 6:41:12 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: sitetest

Agree — the nurses, the people who pay for the abortions, the people who drive them there and drop them off such as Mike Erickson did in Oregon.

(Don’t ask me how he won the Republican spot for my district. Ugh!)

51 posted on 06/12/2008 6:43:43 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

> I will send you a link for the death penalty. Check your FReepmail.

Cheers for that — thanks!

52 posted on 06/12/2008 11:36:35 PM PDT by DieHard the Hunter (Is mise an ceann-cinnidh. Cha ghéill mi do dhuine. Fàg am bealach.)
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To: hunter112
OMG! You obviously didn't move to Manhattan! What kind of guido hellhole did you move to? Nassau or Suffolk County?

BTW: Remember that many people in NY call themselves "Catholic" or "Jewish" but ask them about their faith and they will be clueless. Also keep in mind that in the more sophisticated regions of New York, folks DO NOT refer to themselves by ethnicity (except if they are Jewish or Asian). This is a blue collar/white trash thing IMHO.

53 posted on 06/12/2008 11:43:14 PM PDT by Clemenza (No Comment)
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To: Clemenza
Moved to Rockland County, but my lady's family is in Monmouth County, in NJ, so I see plenty of drivers between here and there. I've been upstate as far as the Catskills, folks are pretty decent up there, for what I've seen.

She wants us to retire in SC or someplace like that, as long as we can figure out how to spend the summer months on the WA coast, I'm OK with that.

54 posted on 06/13/2008 4:32:08 AM PDT by hunter112 (The 'straight talk express' gets the straight finger express from me.)
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