...So what does the leader of the Catholic Church think about all of this faith-based political activism? Pope Benedict XVI, like Pope John Paul II before him, has publicly criticized the Bush administration’s decision to wage war in Iraq. But both also have condemned abortion, euthanasia, embryonic-stem-cell research, cloning, and same-sex marriage. And both clearly distinguished between acts that are considered intrinsically evil (such as abortion) and those which must be judged according to circumstances (such as individual military conflicts). As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict) wrote to Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in 2004: “Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. …While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. 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.”
A war may meet the Church’s just-war criteria or it may not, but much to the chagrin of Catholic pacifists, the act of taking up arms has never been denounced by the Catholic Church as always and everywhere wrong. The same applies to a politician’s refusal to raise the minimum wage, allow unlimited immigration, or repudiate the death penalty in the case of a dangerous criminal who poses a danger to society. Policies and decisions must be evaluated in light of Christian principles, but the Catechism of the Catholic Church does not give the same unqualified answers to such questions as it does to questions about abortion or euthanasia. As Pope John Paul explained in his 1988 encyclical, The Lay Members of Christ’s Faithful People, “Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights — for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture — is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.”
Those comments would seem to resolve the question about which issues Pope Benedict and his predecessor considered most foundational to the creation of a culture of life, and thus, of paramount importance in the political process. Of course, Church teaching clearly exhorts Catholics to work to alleviate poverty, promote peace between nations, and work toward a just society, as Benedict reaffirmed last year in his first encyclical, God Is Love. But Benedict warned Catholic activists against adopting a materialist worldview wedded to the welfare state or to utopian visions of social justice, neither of which can substitute for the authentic, person-to-person charity that is the Church’s direct concern and every Christian’s obligation....
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THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Well, it looks like the pope is telling us to vote conservative (mostly Republican) this November. This doesn't mean the pope is endorsing a political party mind you. He's just telling us that Catholics need to be conservative in their values and voting habbits. These days that would mean voting Republican, or mostly Republican, as long as far-left moonbats (like Howard Dean) are running the Democratic Party. I personally believe that Catholics should hold no allegiance to any political party. But at the same time, I'm in good company with the pope, when I say that Catholics should always vote conservative.