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Friday, September 19, 2008

When Voting is a Mortal Sin

The promotion of the culture of life should be the highest priority in our societies... If the right to life is not defended decisively as a condition for all other rights of the person, all other references to human rights remain deceitful and illusory.
~Pope John Paul II

A well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals.
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Doctrinal Notes On Some Questions Regarding The Participation Of Catholics In Political Life

[A]bortion and euthanasia are crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to ‘take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it.
Pope John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, #73

[C]ooperation [in evil] occurs when an action, either by its very nature or by the form it takes in a concrete situation, can be defined as a direct participation in an act against innocent human life or a sharing in the immoral intention of the person committing it. This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it. Each individual in fact has moral responsibility for the acts which he personally performs; no one can be exempted from this responsibility, and on the basis of it everyone will be judged by God himself. (cf. Rom 2:6; 14:12).
Pope John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, #74

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. 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.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion

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.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion

When we were working on the document 'Faithful Citizenship', and the issue of whether or not a person's adamant pro-abortion position was a disqualifying condition, the general sense was 'yes that is a disqualifying condition'.
Bishop Vasa, Diocese of Baker, Oregon, describing US bishops’ deliberations

We are blessed in the 21st century with crystal-clear photographs and action films of the living realities within their pregnant mothers. No one with the slightest measure of integrity or honor could fail to know what these marvelous beings manifestly, clearly, and obviously are, as they smile and wave into the world outside the womb. In simplest terms, they are human beings with an inalienable right to live, a right that the Speaker of the House of Representatives is bound to defend at all costs for the most basic of ethical reasons. They are not parts of their mothers, and what they are depends not at all upon the opinions of theologians of any faith. Anyone who dares to defend that they may be legitimately killed because another human being “chooses” to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name.
Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York, Statement on Nancy Pelosi

Personal opposition to evil cannot be reconciled with willing cooperation in its acts… The purpose of civil law is to defend the common good; the common good cannot be defended by legislating what is evil. To defend the legality of abortion, one must either deny – in the face of divine revelation, the consistent teaching of the Church, the natural law, and scientific evidence – that abortion is an evil, or admit to cooperating with the evil it represents.
Bishop Walker Nickless, Diocese of Sioux City, Statement on Senator Joseph Biden

Proportionate Reasons

Any politics of human dignity must seriously address issues of racism, poverty, hunger, employment, education, housing, and health care. Therefore, Catholics should eagerly involve themselves as advocates for the weak and marginalized in all these areas... But being 'right' in such matters can never excuse a wrong choice regarding attacks on innocent human life. Indeed, the failure to protect life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the 'rightness' of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community.
US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Living the Gospel of Life, #23(emphasis in the original)

Certainly policies on welfare, national security, the war in Iraq, Social Security or taxes, taken singly or in any combination, do not provide a proportionate reason to vote for a pro-abortion candidate.
Archbishop John J Myer, A Voter's Guide

When we have someone who [supports legal abortion] then the other issues, in many ways, do not matter because they are already wrong on that absolutely fundamental issue. [Perhaps] If we had a candidate in favor of a war in Iraq in which we decimate the entire population and we kill as many civilians to impose as much terror on everybody as possible to make sure . . . but we don't have that issue with capital punishment, with the war in Iraq, [or] with the present Administration.
Bishop Vasa, Diocese of Baker, Oregon, describing US bishops’ deliberations

Abortion is a foundational issue; it is not an issue like housing policy or the price of foreign oil. It always involves the intentional killing of an innocent life, and it is always, grievously wrong. If, as Sen. Biden said, "I'm prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception," then he is not merely wrong about the science of new life; he also fails to defend the innocent life he already knows is there…. his strong support for the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade and the false "right" to abortion it enshrines, can't be excused by any serious Catholic.
Archbishop Charles Chaput, Archdiocese of Denver and Auxiliary Bishop James D. Conley, Archdiocese of Denver, Correcting Senator Biden

Could a voter’s preference for the candidate’s positions on the pursuit of peace, economic policies benefiting the poor, support for universal health care, a more just immigration policy, etc. overcome a candidate’s support for legalized abortion? In such a case, the Catholic voter must ask and answer the question: What could possibly be a proportionate reason for the more than 45 million children killed by abortion in the past 35 years? Personally, we cannot conceive of such a proportionate reason.
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Kansas City, KS; Bishop Robert Flinn of Kansas City, MO, On Moral Responsibility

MORTAL SIN Due to Action

For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose (1) object is grave matter and which is also committed with (2) full knowledge and (3) deliberate consent."
Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1857 (emphasis in the original document).

[M]an can never obey a law which is in itself immoral, and such is the case of a law which would admit in principle the liceity of abortion. Nor can he take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it.
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on Procured Abortion, #22

[I]t is a correct judgment of conscience that we would commit moral evil if we were to vote for a candidate who takes a permissive stand on those actions that are intrinsically evil when there is a morally-acceptable alternative.
Kansas Catholic Conference of Bishops, Moral Principles for Catholic Voters

In the United States in 2008, abortion is an acceptable form of homicide… If you vote this way [for a candidate that supports or promotes abortion], are you cooperating in evil? And if you know you are cooperating in evil, should you go to confession? The answer is yes…
Archbishop Charles Chaput, Group of Bishops Opposed to Kerry

Senator Joseph Biden has been told not to approach the Eucharist in the Archdiocese of Denver and the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania because of his stance on life issues. Subsequently, fifty-five (55) United States Catholic Bishops have publicly denounced Vice Presidential Candidate Senator Joseph Biden for his anti-life stance.

Catholics who support pro-abortion candidates participate in a grave evil. They must show a change of heart and be sacramentally reconciled or refrain from receiving Holy Communion.
Archbishop Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, Pastoral Letter to Address Church Teachings on Voting

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