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Friday, June 13, 2008

Can A Catholic Vote For Obama?

( - With an election in the United States looming, much is being made of the Catholic vote and what is moral for Catholics as they head to the voting booth. Pope Benedict XVI, just prior to his election to the pontificate, addressed the matter in a doctrinal note to the US Bishops Conference.

Then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, in his capacity as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, intervened in a debate among the US Bishops on the issue of denying communion to pro-abortion politicians in 2004. Simply put, Cardinal Ratzinger said in his letter, titled "Worthiness to receive Holy Communion", that obstinately pro-abortion Catholic politicians, after being duly instructed and warned, "must" be denied Communion.

That same document by the man who is now Pope, suggested in a nota bene at the conclusion of the document that Catholic citizens who vote for politicians who support abortion also make themselves unworthy to receive Communion. "A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate's permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia," he wrote.

The Cardinal added: "When a Catholic does not share a candidate's stand in favour 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."

The key is that in order to vote for a pro-abortion politician and remain in good enough standing with Our Lord to be worthy to receive Him in Holy Communion, one must have "proportionate reasons". But what can be considered proportionate?...

read full story here
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: This is a fabulous article, and I would encourage all my readers to read it fully, bookmark it, print it out, and show it to others.

Before I give my interpretation, I would like to preface it by pointing out that 'The Catholic Knight' is no fan of John McCain. I am not campaigning for him, and I don't particularly like him, and I think he'll make a terrible president. That being said, here is my interpretation of the above article...

Catholics must be extremely careful with their vote in this virulent culture of death. The wrong vote could mean the murder of countless unborn children, the sick and the elderly. As the above author pointed out, the term "proportionate reasons" means simply "the kind of reason we will be able to explain, with a clean heart, to the victims of abortion when we meet them face to face in the next life - which we most certainly will." So whatever reason we each deem as "proportionate," it had better be a damn good one.

Based on the above article, here is what I believe the Catholic options are for election 2008...

Both John McCain and Barack Obama support the culture of death. John McCain supported the Iraq invasion and continues to support further military intervention in the middle east. John McCain also supports the death penalty. But on a much larger issue, far more serious than the above two, John McCain also supports fetal stem-cell research, which the Church considers tantamount to abortion and the U.S. Bishops have just voted to universally condemn in this year's bishops conference. In addition to that, John McCain's supposed "opposition" to regular abortion is weak and dispassionate at best. In short, John McCain is a very weak candidate on the issue of life. He likes to call himself "pro-life" but he has not earned that designation by any stretch of the imagination.

As weak as McCain is on the issue of life, Barack Hussein Obama is far worse. Obama has promised to fight for abortion-on-demand at all costs. He has no legal problem with abortion in the first month of pregnancy, all the way to the ninth month of pregnancy. In short, Obama is an abortion-making machine, who if empowered to do so, will do everything he can to insure that as many abortions as possible take place within this nation. Obama supports public funding of fetal stem-cell research as well. His aggressive posture toward championing the pro-abortion cause is more than enough to offset what little he's done to oppose the war in Iraq, and in the hierarchy of moral truths, he would be far better off if he supported the war and opposed abortion.

So between the two of them we really have a choice between the lesser of two evils. In this case though, it would be morally permissible by means of "proportionate reasons" to vote for John McCain, even though he is less than ideal on the issue of life. This is only because the Democratic alternative (Obama) is such a radical abortion supporter. Still, it's understandable if some Catholic voters cannot stomach the idea of voting for either candidate, and opt for some third-party alternative to stay true to their staunch pro-life principles. 'The Catholic Knight' himself is flirting with this prospect. However, one thing is certain. In this election cycle, a vote for Obama is a vote against the Catholic Church's sacred teachings on life, and a clear act of formal cooperation in the sin of abortion.


dtramontana said...

Catholic Knight,
Very well put. I find myself pondering the same decision as you; should I vote for McCain (the lesser of two evils) or vote for a third option. I feel my decision will be easier to make once McCain picks a running mate, but who knows.

Here are the issues I struggle with:
* Voting for McCain is voting for a much less than ideal candidate.
* Voting for McCain may also send a message that life issues aren’t that important anymore—not good.
* Voting for a third party candidate would help ensure Obama wins—not good.
* Voting for a third party candidate would allow me to vote for a truly pro-life candidate.
* Voting for a third party candidate would send a message that life is important.

nick name said...

Ron Paul is the real pro-life candidate.

Neither McCain nor Obama are pro-life. Both are anti-life.

Bush was a fake. He was a wolf in sheep's clothing. He used the pro-life stance to get votes only but in reality he was also anti-life.

God bless America. May God give us a really pro-life leader. Ron Paul for president.

pipandbaby said...

Thank you for writing this. As a Catholic voter, and as a voter in my late 20's, I'm particularly confused.
On one hand, the message Obama delivers speaks to me as someone from my generation who will take us in a new direction. That said, there is the abortion issue. But McCain is no better, with his lackluster opposition to the abortion issue, and his support of the Iraq war. Why do we have to be one issue voters? I really cannot vote for either of these men, but also cannot stay home.

That is why I am determined to vote for Ron Paul. I am for everything he is for anyway, and I don't believe that voting for him is ensuring an Obama presidency - a poll from NBC (I believe) had them tied at 45% each. So it's a toss up for either of them. My concience tells me that writing in Ron Paul will be morally acceptable.

The Catholic Knight said...


Before you discover the futile exercise of "write in" voting, you may want to take a close look at Bob Barr, Libertarian candidate for president. His views and positions are virtually identical to Ron Paul.

Ken said...

Some clarification is in order here: The Catholic Church does not ascribe equal weight to all life issues. Abortion is the most serious, followed generally by embryonic stem cell research (an issue that is almost dead anyway, because of scientific developments in other areas), euthanasia, cloning, and homosexual marriage.

McCain is not ideal, but he's not as bad as described here. His pro-life voting record was at 90% according to NRLC.

Further, the Church has stated that while one can disagree about war, capital punishment, the means to address poverty, etc., one must stand unified on the five issues I mentioned above. For that reason, Obama must absolutely be excluded, as I believe cloning is the only thing he is against.

Eucharist Youth said...

This is why I and many young Catholic are bring turned away from the Catholic faith; religion and politics. I just can't stand it that I stop voting, If I vote for Obama, apparently I am supporting abortion killing kids. If I vote for McCain, I am killing adult, supporting the war. Either way, I vote, apprently I am going to Hell, according to Catholics.

Doesn't the bible say, Don't judge yet ye be judge. Wasn't St. Paul a killer before he converted. Didn't Peter, denied Jesus three times. So what makes, these two people wrong. Even right now, I see stuff that are wrong with our Pope right now, but I am no a person without sin so I will notbe the one to cast the first stone. Look at yourself people, there is good in both, but you just have to look deeper.

Look in our religion, our priest and nuns, bishop and pope. Tell me that they are all saints. Who voted them to become what they are? God? Well, the last time I checked, God didn't choose those who are without sins.

I say, vote for who you want, but believe what you believe, but when someone ask you about abortion or any other topics that isn't right. Tell them it is wrong.

The Catholic Knight said...

Eucharist Youth,

I'm afraid your missing the point on a few things. Jesus came to forgive our sins, not condone them. Jesus had no problem speaking out against sinners when they failed to repent. At the same time, he offered mercy to those who did.

You have to understand that when it comes to voting, we are responsible for our actions, and nothing I've said here on this blog regarding these political issues contradicts the bishops in any way. If anything, it supports what the bishops teach on the matter.

Your objections to the candidacy of John McCain are perfectly legitimate, but then so are your objections to the candidacy of Barack Obama. In these circumstances, the Church urges us to do one of three things.

1. Pick the lesser of the two evils. In this case, that would be John McCain, because the killing of innocent babies through abortion on demand (something Barack Obama supports) is far worse than anything John McCain supports. Nevertheless, both candidates are still "evil" even if one is less so than the other.

2. If your conscience will not allow you to vote for the "lesser of two evils" with the mainstream candidates, there is always a third-party candidate who is Pro-Life. Might I suggest Chuck Baldwin, or Bob Barr, or Alan Keyes. Third party candidates serve as a good "protest vote" when none of the major party candidates are acceptable. It's a way of doing your civic duty to vote, while at the same time preserving your conscience.

3. Don't vote. Yes, the Church advocates not voting for any particular candidate running for a specific office. Catholics may simply skip sections on the ballot, if they so choose, to preserve their conscience.

You have to understand that the Church's teachings on life are non negotiable. Might I suggest that your problem on this issue really has nothing to do with the Church's teaching, but rather disappointment in the quality of candidates we've been offered in this election.

Matt said...

The Catholic Knight,

Are we not all equal in God's eyes? What makes the unnecessary death of an unborn child less acceptable than the unnecessary death of an adult or the unnecessary death of a born child. What about the millions of people who die innocently every year of famine and disease who wouldn't die if they had the food and supplies to prevent it. Why are we as Catholics not pushing to support those lives? If a candidate were to offer up a fraction of a percent of our tax dollars to support the cause of those in such dire situations, would we not save the same number of lives. Would we be just as "evil" to not support this cause, or do we not consider those people "innocent" enough to be saved.

I am proud of the fact that I'm pro-life, but pro-life means more than anti-abortion. It means supporting a culture of life. It means that we can't just make abortions illegal without putting the infrastructure, support, and dollars in place to ensure the safety and well-being of all mothers who would have gotten an abortion otherwise. It means setting up proper care for all of the mothers who can't afford to support a child. It means having systems to bring an unwanted child up in as caring and supportive of an environment as possible. It means that we need to admit the fact that we live in a secular society and people will have sex outside of marriage, so we need to provide contraceptives and education ( on both abstinence and otherwise) for those who don't share the same values as others. Because if we had to choose, what would be better: preventing life from happening or destroying life.

I'm not saying any of the candidates are proposing any of the above, but if we want to affectively rid our society from the evils of abortion, those kinds of things need to be in place first.

It's become very apparent that the Catholic Church has a very partisan approach to the issue, and rightfully so. Life is essential to our doctrine. But, it seems to tie in very closely with one candidate, the "pro-life" candidate. However, how much ground have we made up in making abortion illegal when we have had so-called "pro-life" candidates in office and how much ground will me make up with the next one. How much policy change is taking place. If this is the number 1 thing we should be voting on, then shouldn't it be the number 1 issue on the desk of our candidate once they take office?

Finally, as important as it is that we understand the views of the hierarchy of the Church, let's not forget the weight of our personal relationships with Christ in prayer. I've prayed often about this election and will continue to pray on it and the answer has come up time and again for a candidate that doesn't seem to line up with the Church's candidate. Does that mean I'm being misled by my prayers; hearing my own voice and not the voice of God? I suppose that's for God to judge, not you, or the church.

The Catholic Knight said...

Dear Matt,

Thank you for your thoughtful comments. However, I believe you're making some errors in your assumptions about the mission of the Catholic Church and the United States government.

The Catholic Church does care for victims of disease and famine around the world. It also cares for the needs of mothers who choose not to abort their children.

In addition the United States government already provides tens of billions of dollars in foreign aid to developing countries around the world for precisely the same reasons, and mothers who choose not to abort their children, and do not have the means to provide for them on their own, are already eligible for Medicaid, Social Security and Welfare. Working in the healthcare industry, can can attest to this, and it is true that any impoverished mother who wants to keep her child can do so at the expense of the taxpayer. I agree it would be nicer to do even more for these mothers, and we can debate who would do a better job at providing more - whether the church or the state - but that is a matter of debate. I assure you that impoverished mothers in this country already have means available to them, and I can attest that hospital social workers regularly advise them of this and help them through the paperwork. I see it happen literally every day.

When it comes to offering artificial birth control in public schools, we can debate the ethical problems surrounding that all we want. Suffice it to say, it doesn't help teenagers to think twice about sex when you're handing them a condom or a packet of birth-control pills. My siblings have teenagers and they've asked me for advice on what they should tell their kids about birth-control. I say tell them it's a sin to use it, but its a BIGGER sin to have sex before marriage in the first place. Then take them down to the local drug store and show them the isle where it's kept. Advise them if they're going to have sinful sex before marriage, then they can buy the birth control themselves with their own allowance. After all, if they think they're "big enough" to have sinful sex outside of marriage, then they most be "big enough" to suffer the embarrassment of buying birth control at the local drug store. If they can't handle the "pressure" of that, and the sin associated with it, then what makes them think they're "big enough" to handle the pressure and the sin of pre-marital sex in the first place. I'll be giving the same advice to my own children when they're old enough. I recognize that teenagers can have sex no matter what you tell them, and no amount of advice is "enough." However, even if they do make mistakes and get pregnant, it's our responsibility as their parents to help them through the lesson of taking responsibility for their actions. That means providing help for them to care for the child if able, or at least helping them apply for government assistance, and assistance from the Church, if needed. We DON'T teach them how to AVOID RESPONSIBILITY by helping them get an abortion, and consequently teach them that it's okay to MURDER as well.

Finally, that brings me to the last point. Abortion is MURDER - plain and simple. It's worse than slavery. It's worse than racial segregation. It's morally equal to terrorism and the holocaust. The problem we have in America today is we have politicians who are publicly supporting an act that is morally equal to terrorism and the holocaust. Would you vote for a politician who seemed to have all the answers, by publicly supported the "right to choose" terrorism as a legal means of solving problems? Would you vote for a politician who seems to have all the answers, but publicly supported killing of Jews?

I certainly hope your answer was "no" to the above questions. If so, why would you support a politician who claims to have all the answers and publicly supports an act that is morally equal to these things?

Your prayers are a private matter between you and God, however, you should be advised that God does not contradict himself. He's not going to tell the pope and bishops of the Catholic Church one thing, then turn around and tell you something completely opposite. There is no doubt what the pope and bishops are telling us. The message they have received from GOD HIMSELF is that politicians who support abortion are no different that politicians who supported slavery, segregation and the Holocaust. That means the pope and the bishops cannot, and do not, support Barack Obama. They've publicly rebuked Joe Biden for heresy and denied him communion (a defacto excommunication) for his "pro-choice" views on abortion. I don't know what you think you're hearing from God in your prayers, but if it doesn't agree with the message of the pope and bishops on this matter, then it's not from God. It either comes from yourself, or from another source. If it comes from another source, it's a dark spirit, and I certainly don't think you want to be listening to one of those.

That being said, if you're a Catholic, then you're obligated to vote for a candidate who is pro-life at least in principle, and does not support abortion-on-demand. This would exclude Barack Obama and Joe Biden entirely. If you're really a Catholic, then here are your options on election day...

1. McCain/Palin - Republican
2. Baldwin/Castle - Constitutionalist
3. Barr/Root - Libertarian
4. Keyes/Rohrbough - Independent

If you're a Catholic, you can vote for any one of these in the above list because they agree with the pro-life principles of the Catholic Church either fully or in part. None of them openly oppose the teachings of the Church on the matter of human life. Sorry, those are just the facts. I advise that you don't put yourself in a position of having to choose between your politics and your faith, because that is what Barrack Obama and Joe Biden do. If you vote for them, you have chosen you politics over your faith and have therefore abandoned Catholicism entirely. It's a mortal sin my friend. Don't go there.

Matt said...

I can tell there's no sense in debating you. From here on out, everything I say will be wrong because it isn't from the mouth of a priest, a bishop, or the pope. To you, I don't have a personal relationship with God and everything that I hear in prayer is out of my own head or worse.

Also, I'll send you my knights of columbus card so you can tear it up. Apparently my voice doesn't matter anyway.

The Catholic Knight said...

Dear Brother Knight,

A 'Knight of Columbus' serves the pope and the bishops, not the voices in his head.

I dare not judge your personal relationship with God. I will only tell you that a Catholic's personal relationship with God is NEVER a private one. A Catholic's personal relationship with God is 100% public, and there is no part of it that is done in secret. Even in private prayer, a Catholic always prays in unity with the Church, and that includes the intentions of the pope and the bishops.

I've walked with the Protestants before. I've lived on there side of the fence. The way you speak sounds very much like them. They have no leader, no unifying voice, nothing to guide them except the feelings and thoughts they get while in prayer. Those "voices" lead them to chaos, disunity and schism. They've made their Christian witness in the world almost impotent - divided and conquered. If you've attained your second and third degrees you know of what I speak. What kind of cord is not easily broken? This is what it means to be Catholic.

A Catholic is supposed to walk in unity with the pope and bishops, and that is ESPECIALLY TRUE for a Catholic Knight. A Knight's first duty is to defend the Faith of the Church, and that means defending the teachings of our pope and bishops. If you won't do that, then you're not a knight, and I don't need to "tear up your membership card." Effectively, you've already done it.

After the shock of my words wears off, please consider what I've said carefully.

In His Majesty's Service,

The Catholic Knight