Roman Catholic Priest Says Catholics Should Not Be Single-Issue Voters, Cites Church Teachings, Memos

Categories: Election 2012

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"Peace be with you," is a phrase often heard in Catholic churches. But it's election season, and not all Catholics are feeling at peace.

See also: Catholic Conundrum: What's an Anti-Abortion, Pro-Immigrant Voter to Do?
See also: The Mormon Delemma: What About Mormon Latinos?

A New Times story about the conflict that anti-abortion, pro-immigration Catholics face when casting their vote for president ruffled the feathers of the faithful and faithless alike.

One blogger wrote that "there is no conundrum for the faithful Catholic ... if you want to be a Judas, vote for Obama." Another wrote that the issue was "about a religiously motivated group attempting to force their belief system upon everyone else..."

A Roman Catholic priest wanted to weigh in with words -- and valid church teaching -- to ease the minds of those conflicted by their faith and politics.

The anonymous Roman Catholic priest from Arizona wanted the message to speak for itself. He writes:

After reading the article online, I felt deeply for the two women, Cecilia Moreno and Edilia Gonzales, who are conflicted, do not participate fully in the Sunday Eucharist, i.e., do not go to Holy Communion, or do not go to Mass at all because of "their politics." Why should they have to "repent" because they may have decided to vote for President Obama? They have done nothing sinful.

I believe these women might have pangs of guilt, feel sinful, or want to exclude themselves from the church they love, not because they have misinformed consciences, but because a priest from either the pulpit or some other parish setting, or well-intentioned pious lay person, has misinformed their consciences and have unknowingly perpetrated against these women moral and spiritual violence.

To say that you can not vote for President Obama from the pulpit is indeed misleading as we form our consciences. President Obama is not an abortionist, nor does he, or other Democrats, belong to the "party of death."

The priest offers the following excepts from direction handed down from church leaders as evidence that Catholics can be both faithful and independent voters.



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20 comments
prita46
prita46

I also do not believe the assertion the writer is a priest. If he were he would know there are FIVE non-negotiables: Abortion, Embryonic Stem Cell research, Human Cloning, Euthanasia, and Homosexual Marriage. Based on Church teachings, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Encyclicals of the Pope, and issue papers from the Office of the Doctrine of the Faith, these five issues concern actions that are intrinsically evil and must never be promoted by the law. To do is sinful. To not compromise on these positions is not, contrary to what some may assert, to engage in “single issue” politics. Rather, it is to judge all other important issues through a lens of truth and a genuine concern for the “common good” of all. Catholics are free to disagree on war and the death penalty.

dilexisti
dilexisti

It's not at all surprising to read how Catholic conscience has been formed since Vatican II.  Just read the comments posted here.  Is the Catholic Church against the death penalty?  Give me a citation where it says so.

Achison is gravely mislead.  He says, " Abortion should be available for a woman who is raped and to protect the health of the woman.  I say that as a Catholic."  The child conceived in rape may be killed?  What's the difference between this child and the child conceived normally?  And you are Catholic?

Again he says:  "Contraceptives and sterilization procedures allow families to plan when to have children and how many to have so that they can be responsible about bringing into the world those children they can truly care for.  Contraceptives allow us to act like adults.  I say that as a Catholic."   Huh??

I have heard enough.  

George_Kadlec
George_Kadlec

The remark by George Kadlec applies in this case.

George_Kadlec
George_Kadlec

This priest is either stupid, ignorant or a fraud. If he does not understand Catholic doctrine or is incapable of rational thinking he should quit. He would be doing the Catholic Church and himself a favor.

LizEst
LizEst

There is no anonymous Christian, let alone Catholic.  This priest needs to use his real name if he is to be believed.

Atchison
Atchison

God gave us brains to think and hearts to feel love and compassion.  He gave us the Holy Spirit to help us find a path through life that Jesus demonstrated.

 

 Abortion should be available for a woman who is raped and to protect the health of the woman.  I say that as a Catholic. 

 

Contraceptives and sterilization procedures allow families to plan when to have children and how many to have so that they can be responsible about bringing into the world those children they can truly care for.  Contraceptives allow us to act like adults.  I say that as a Catholic.

 

There is a difference between what needs to be within the practices of a faith and the practices of a democratis government founded on the ideals of freedom and equality.  I say that as both a Catholic and a citizen.

 

There was a time when John Kennedy had to defend to the world his ability to be both a citizen and a Catholic.   Is it possible today? 

 

Our Church is not perfect, as history has shown repeatedly.  It makes mistakes, sometimes horrendous mistakes, that kill people, destroy cultures.  The Church needs the voices of those who speak up in the face of Church mistakes.  There are millions of us who are doing that.  The Church is wrong on a flat denial of abortion in all cases, wrong on gay marriage, wrong on forbidding contraceptives and sterilizations. 

 

Be careful.  The Catholic Church hierarchy has made an idol out of the Church itself.  Do not worship the Church, but God.   

Marie
Marie

The anonymous Arizona priest was being disingenous in quoting form the Cdl Ratzinger CDF memo to Cdl McCarrick.  The correct interpretation below is provided by Bishop Rene Henry Gracida of Corpus Christi:

It is never permissible for a Catholic to vote for a pro-abortion candidate     because the candidate is pro-abortion. Such a vote would be formal cooperation     in the serious sin of the candidate who, upon being elected, would vote for     legislation making possible the taking of innocent human life through procured     abortion.  

When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor 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 strictly defined.  

Since abortion and euthanasia have been defined by the Church as the most serious     sins prevalent in our society, what kind of reasons could possibly be considered     proportionate enough to justify a Catholic voting for a candidate who is known     to be pro-abortion? None of the reasons commonly suggested could even begin     to be proportionate enough to justify a Catholic voting for such a candidate.     Reasons such as the candidate’s position on war, or taxes, or the death     penalty, or immigration, or a national health plan, or social security, or aids,     or homosexuality, or marriage, or any similar burning societal issues of our     time are simply lacking in proportionality.  

There is only one thing that could be considered proportionate enough to justify     a Catholic voting for a candidate who is known to be pro-abortion, and that     is the protection of innocent human life. That may seem to be contradictory,     but it is not.  

Consider the case of a Catholic voter who must choose between three candidates:     candidate (A, Kerry) who is completely for abortion-on-demand, candidate (B,     Bush) who is in favor of very limited abortion, i.e., in favor of greatly restricting     abortion and candidate (C, Peroutka), a candidate who is completely against     abortion but who is universally recognized as being unelectable.  

The Catholic voter cannot vote for candidate (A, Kerry) because that would     be formal cooperation in the sin of abortion if that candidate were to be elected     and assist in passing legislation, which would remove restrictions on, abortion-on-demand.    

The Catholic can vote for candidate (C, Peroutka) but that will probably only     help ensure the election of candidate (A, Kerry).  

Therefore the Catholic voter has a proportionate reason to vote for candidate     (B, Bush) since his vote may help to ensure the defeat of candidate (A, Kerry)     and may result in the saving of some innocent human lives if candidate (B, Bush)     is elected and votes for legislation restricting abortion-on-demand. In such     a case, the Catholic voter would have chosen the lesser of two evils which is     morally permissible under these circumstances.  

Of course, the Catholic voter could choose not to vote. But that would be a     serious abdication of the Catholic voter’s civic and moral obligation     to participate in the election. By not voting the Catholic voter could well     be assisting in the election of candidate (A, Kerry) and while that would not     carry the same guilt as formal participation in candidate (A, Kerry’s)     support of abortion-on-demand it would still be sinful, even if only a sin of     omission.  

Those Catholic voters who love moral absolutes would have no choice but to     vote for candidate (C, Peroutka), but those Catholics who recognize that in     the real world it is sometimes necessary to choose the lesser of two evils in     order to prevent greater harm – in this case harm to innocent unborn children     would vote for candidate (B, Bush).  

+Rene Henry Gracida     Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi 

 

Hlyghst
Hlyghst

This is a good example of faith without reason.  You need both to make a morally correct decision.  Quoting a few of the church's teachings without taking into consideration the severity of the sin, and the Fr Spitzer's ten universal principles leads one to falsely conclude that supporting an abortion candidate is ok if that candidate is for social justice (i.e. help for the poor).  The point being missed is that abortion and the homosexual lifestyle are mortal sins, and violate the natural laws of social justice. We, in good conscience, cannot support any mortal sin.  So to support Obama because he wants to improve the quality of life of the poor (which he hasn't done because he hasn't taught the poor "how to fish") while supporting abortion and gay marriage which harms the unborn and children is not reasonable.

dilexisti
dilexisti

No wonder Obama gets elected because of misguided cafeteria Catholics like Atchison are there to vote him in.  There are nine ways to be an accessory to sin and voting for Obama one can commit not one but several (go check it out).  If you vote for Obama, go ahead and listen to this priest but refrain from going to holy Communion.  You are desecrating the Body and Blood of Christ.

Atchison
Atchison

Good heavens.  The rare priest I really do agree with.

 

I am a Catholic who believes that Obama's policies will help more poor people, will actually save lives with food stamps and welfare payments, will provide health care to milliions who not otherwise have it.  I do not like abortion, but the way to reduce abortions is to make contraceptives widely available, to promote real sex education, and to promote equality for women, so that young girls learn how to say NO. 

 

Romney/Ryan, on the other hand, will cut taxes that will do no better on job creation than it has in the past (Bush tax cuts are still in effect, where are the jobs????)  And, other than tax cuts, what will they do but cut swathes through the progress that has been made in womens health care, womens equality in the work place, and women's equality before the law.  Republicans are dismanteling 50 years of progress that women have made in laws that created real opportunity for them . 

 

The bishops insistence on Catholics not using their minds and hearts, their conscience, is a great wrong.  So be it.  Bishops are also humans who make mistakes.  This return to authoritarianism in the Church is not a good idea, because it encourages people to act like sheet instead of adults.. 

realspoiled
realspoiled

@RomanCatholic36 we shouldn't be BUMPS IN THE ROAD EITHER!

fairymagic13
fairymagic13

 @prita46 Oh, yeah - I remember those Commandments: Thou Shalt not marry Gay; Thou Shalt Not Assist the Dying; Thou Shalt Not Experiment on Stem Cells; Thou Shall not Have an Abortion; Thou Shall Not Clone a Human - I hope you remember this one "Thou Shalt Not Kill" - you know the one that Catholics are free to disagree on.

fObean
fObean

 @George_Kadlec

 Okay--so Obama is "pro-choice."  But, Romney is "pro-death penalty." The Catholic Church is against both, remember? GW Bush as a governor signed into law the "Futile Care" act which permits hospitals to withdraw care even against the wishes of the patient and the family and allow someone to die. Politicians in Virginia did the same thing. Newt Gingrich is a serial adulterer and repeatedly remarried. I could go on.

 

You will not find a single candidate out there whose platform is completely in agreement with that of the Catholic Church--even Santorum is in favor of the death penalty--and the hierarchy very conveniently supports one party over the other not because it is in agreement, but because it had few members who acted on the behalf of the small children raped by Catholic priests.

 

The church is presently at war against nuns--remember nuns?  The lovely ladies who believed the little children who had been raped and encouraged the parents to file charges and testified against said priests. The church laid low for a little while, but they are now trying to clamp down on the nuns to prevent a re-occurance. They have no intention of actually doing anything about the clergy who actually did these things--they just are doing a faux gesture by excluding gay men (though gay men weren't the rapists--a pedophile isn't gay or straight . . . he is a pedophile).

 

No--by focusing on the issue of abortion and ignoring everything else, the Catholic Church hierarchy seeks to serve itself, and itself alone. Some priests fight against this--and they rely on the long history of the church which did not play such callous and hypocritical games. The Catholic Church has a long history of moving from being a group of faithful people committed to helping the poor and spreading the word of Christ to a political faction that seeks riches, power, and serves itself.  Sadly, it's in the latter stage right now.

 

The true faithful won't help--they are committed to God, not to a handful of self-serving twits in high office. Even senior clerics at the Vatican will tell you this--one died recently.  When he knew he had but a few days left, and couldn't be killed in retaliation fast enough, he went ahead and said it aloud.  It's a nasty thing, the Catholic Church hierarchy. I hope it comes tumbling down quite soon so that the faithful priests can take over.

BlueCollarWorker
BlueCollarWorker

 @Atchison 

 

You don't get it and I am afraid you are near to losing your soul.  You imagine that men can tell the Holy Church, one that is guided by the Holy Spirit, what is true and what is not.  You don't need a Church, for you have become a god.

 

You cannot champion women's health and in the same voice call abortion health care.  It is not, it never will be and that argument is illogical.  Murder of the innocent for the health and well being of another. 

 

Contraceptives and sterilization to limit family sizes?  Don't be fooled into the same ideals of eugenics that Margaret Sanger so championed.  Contraceptives and sterilization are not responsible birth control, they are a harmful and selfish means of controlling the populace.  Believe it or not, many forms of contraception are only a type of chemical abortifacient.  Do you really wish for families to limit their size by having the women kill their unborn children?

 

I only have this to say about John F. Kennedy as a catholic roll model.  Seriously, the Kennedy's!?!

 

You mentioned you family not being allowed health insurance for various reasons.  I do not disagree that the Medical Insurance industry needs reform.  It is a for profit industry that grows by not paying out coverage.  CEO's and bean counters make money by allowing people to die rather than affording them the proper health care they deserve as humans.  The whole idea of health insurance is a foolish one. " I will promise you health care if you pay me money but, if I deem your need to great I will pay nothing".  It is set up from the beginning as a Win-Lose proposition with the insurance companies  being the winners.

 

The argument still remains:  Is the cost of health care the govts. responsibility or is it incumbent upon us as a society to care for ourselves and our families?

LizEst
LizEst

@Atchison   You're not a true Catholic if you believe in sins that are always intrinsically wrong.  You are a Catholic in name only.  You read Scripture as you please and what you don't like you throw out.  "If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself" (St. Augustine).  There is still time to return to the Lord, who is rich in mercy.  May God give you the grace to do so. 

 

Hlyghst
Hlyghst

 @Atchison I think you're relying too much on reason and not enough on faith.  You can say that you disagree with the Church, but the Church's teachings against abortion and gay marriage are inspired by the Holy Spirit, and come directly from God.   Scripture is very clear and logical on this.   Each unborn child is unique, and made in the image and likeness of God, and is therefore sacred. There's no  such thing as a liberal or progressive Catholic. 

 

Today, people want Truth to justify their behavior, and reject anything that doesn't agree with their life style instead of allowing the Truth to mold one's self. The devil is very good at getting us to rationalize abortion or homosexual behavior by appealing to our love of self  rather than the love of God or our neighbor.  If you empty your soul of self, and turn yourself  over to God, then your faith becomes much stronger as well as your love of God.

PenAndInk
PenAndInk

 @Atchison "I do not like abortion, but the way to reduce abortions is to make contraceptives widely available".   WHERE IN THE WORLD HAVE YOU BEEN the past almost 40 years? Contraceptives have become more and more widely available and abortions  have gone through the roof!!!  As contraceptive use goes up, abortion numbers have gone up. More and more murdered babies. The last numbers from the Guttmacher Institute are from 2008. Then, it was 3322 abortions PER DAY in the U.S. alone. I don't know what it is now, but I would bet my life that it's much more. All the while contraceptive use has risen. 

BlueCollarWorker
BlueCollarWorker

 @Atchison 

Who is being denied health care in America?  This is the big lie.  If anybody in America is injured, sick or in need of medical assistance it has always been and always will be available to you.  I haven't seen to many sick, dead or injured laying in the streets of the nations cities.  Who is not getting health care?

 

Is it the cost that prohibits individuals from getting health care? I don't live in a million dollar mansion but really really want to.  Does that mean that the govt. should provide it for me even though I can't really afford it myself?  I can't have the expensive sports cars or dine in fancy restaurants, should the govt. pay for those too?  I want my kids to go to the Ivy League schools should the govt. pay for that too?  Where does it stop?

 

You state that you are a Catholic but believe that reducing the number of abortions is by making contraceptives more widely available?  How about sticking with the teachings of the Church and push for abstinence?

 

Your last paragraph is most revealing.  You bring out the big hammer and really lay into the Magisterium of the Church. Please, quit lying to yourself and misrepresenting what the Church is and what it teaches.

 

If you wish to redistribute the wealth in America then put your money where your mouth is and sell all you have and give it to the poor.  I don't care for Uncle Sam trying to put his hand in my pocket or telling me how it's going to spend my money.  If you really think about it, the US has to find $16 trillion dollars before it can even consider itself to be broke.  We don't need another govt. handout.  We need people to live up to their potential and rely on themselves not the govt.

 

Atchison
Atchison

 @BlueCollarWorker

 BlueCollar, there are people who cannot buy prescriptions drugs, cannot go to the doctors office because they cannot pay.  Colds and flu go untreated until they become pneumonia, and then the person can go to the hospital.  But, when released, that person still cannot afford the meds that doctors prescribe. Poor people with high blood pressure or high cholesterol cannot afford their meds.

 

The affordable care act made a big difference for my sister and her two kids, who would have aged out of coverage.  One of them is disabled and had been turned down repeatedly for health insurance. 

 

You are evidently willing to just let people die from treatable illnesses.  I think we can actually be the Christians we claim to be and do better than that. 

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