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October 1st, 2008

Catholic in the Voting Booth

A BustedHalo® Guide to Being a Faithful Citizen

 
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This is the first of Busted Halo’s ® weekly features in our Googling God section. There’s no better place to start at this time in history than with the 2008 election and moreover, the issues that Catholics are most concerned about. Catholics are never single-issue voters and this guide will help Catholics in forming their consciences during election season to make the best possible choice they can make keeping their faith in mind alongside their political decisions.

 
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The Author : A Googling God Feature

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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Bill

    We need to look at all the issues at stake here. Some people will say look at abortion, and I agree that is extemely important, but as a conservative, I think we seel ourseves short on other issues. The bishops advocate clean energy, and JM supports nuclear power, which is clean where emmissions are concerned and able to provide more power, when compared to other forms of energy. BO doesn’t support nuclear energy. JM supports increasing jobs through energy including oil and nuclear. These jobs are important for everyone especially in hard times, like today. Both JM and BO support using embryonic stem cells for research, but BO would create embryos for that purpose, while JM would use ones that were going to be destroyed. Neither is right, but one is better. BO also supports cloning human beings as long as the embryo is not implanted in the womb. BO does not support the Defense of Marriage Act, JM does.

    When I weigh the options I support John McCain.

  • Meg

    Listen to the Bishops. That’s all I can say. They have been so clear as to the priorities Catholics need to have this election. I pray that we all vote according to our informed consciences.

  • L Robertson

    I am not catholic but christian and am watching a tv show priest talking about this website. I am truly open minded and here I am checking out how you all feel about this very important vote. I am in agreement with Michigan Guy, Obama, Pelosi and Reid could do irreversable damage in their supreme court appointments. The liberal dems starting w/Jimmy Carter had set a course for financial disaster with Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac. We the American People have not been represented in Washington but used to the extent of financial ruin for the middle class. I can see from my study of other world cultures that Obama can support abortion. I know that Obama is a cousin to Raila Odingo and supported his violent acts for the presidency of Kenya. Odingo even had Dick Morris (Clinton) as a free Campaign Manager. It is not even known if his name is Barack Hussein Obama or Barry Soerla who registered at Columbia as an Indonesian Muslim. If the catholic faith believes in a socialist society, then you vote obama. If you want to bring US back to jobs and God and self sufficient finances, vote for McCain.

  • Michigan Guy

    Obama voted 3 or 4 times AGAINST the Born Alive Infant Protection Act as an Illinois State Senator. This act would have provided medical assistance to babies who survived an abortion. Rather, he supported letting them die, such as at Christ Hospital (irnoic name), Chicago, in dirty linen rooms. Nurse Jill Stanek has youtube videos documenting Obama’s crass acts. Obama also said he sould sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) into law if elected. This law would strike down all state bans on partial-birth abortion, waiting periods, and minors’ notification of parents. Obama also said he would appoint pro-abort justices to the Supreme Court. Google these facts yourself. Obama is the darling of Planned Parenthood! Incidentally, 4,000 babies a year are killed by abortion. At least with Bush, whom I personally do not care for, he signed into law the partial-birth abortion ban & appointed 2 pro-life Supreme Court justices: Alito & Roberts. He also denied US taxpayer dollars to abortion providers overseas. GOOD!

  • Sister Rose

    I am firmly against abortion, but I look at this issue pragmatically. What policies will lead to fewer abortions? Overturning Roe vs Wade will not make abortion illegal; overturning Roe vs Wade will move the issue back to the states. Nor will overturning Roe vs Wade prevent future illegal abortions. Europe (where abortion is legal) has a much lower percentage of abortions than many African countries where abortion is illegal. What is the difference? Social and economic supports including universal access to health care and paid maternity leave are widely available in European countries; they are not available in most African countries. If we apply this to the USA, obviously social and economic supports for women and children will decrease abortions. One study suggests that social and economic supports will decrease the number of abortions far more than overturning Roe vs Wade. And maybe in the USA, if pro-life people strongly advocated for these social and economic supports, then we could do more to change the hearts and minds of people so that in the future when abortion is made illegal, abortion won’t go underground again.

  • MJCIV

    The difficulty, of course, is that one candidate–Senator Obama–is much more in line with Catholic social teachings in almost all areas…with the exception of the most important one (which, according to our Church, is abortion). Senator McCain’s positions are almost all out of synch with the Church’s teachings…except for abortion. So we are in a pickle: vote for Obama, who supports the Church’s vision of the ‘Common Good,’ but is very, very pro-choice, or McCain, who will do little to promote the ‘Common Good’…but who will try to appoint judges to overturn Roe v. Wade and increase adoptions. Not an easy place to find ourselves, my fellow Catholics.

  • Michigan Guy

    Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, in paragraphs 34-37, addresses the question of whether it is morally permissible for a Catholic to vote for a candidate who supports an intrinsic evil ‚Äì even when the voter does not agree with the candidate’s position on that evil. The only moral possibilities for a Catholic to be able to vote in good conscience for a candidate who supports this intrinsic evil are the following:

    a. If both candidates running for office support abortion or “abortion rights,” a Catholic would be forced to then look at the other important issues and through their vote try to limit the evil done; or,

    b. If another intrinsic evil outweighs the evil of abortion. While this is sound moral reasoning, there are no “truly grave moral” or “proportionate” reasons, singularly or combined, that could outweigh the millions of innocent human lives that are directly killed by legal abortion each year.

    To vote for a candidate who supports the intrinsic evil of abortion or “abortion rights” when there is a morally acceptable alternative would be to cooperate in the evil ‚Äì and, therefore, morally impermissible.

    6. In conclusion, as stated in Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, the decisions we make on these political and moral issues affect not only the general peace and prosperity of society at large, but also may affect each individual’s salvation. As Catholics, we must treat our political choices with appropriate moral gravity and in doing so, realize our continuing and unavoidable obligation to be a voice for the voiceless unborn, whose destruction by legal abortion is the preeminent intrinsic evil of our day. With knowledge of the Church’s teaching on these grave matters, it is incumbent upon each of us as Catholics to educate ourselves on where the candidates running for office stand on these issues, particularly those involving intrinsic evils. May God bless you.

    Faithfully in Christ,

    Most Reverend Kevin J. Farrell
    Bishop of Dallas

    Most Reverend Kevin W. Vann
    Bishop of Fort Worth

    October 2008

  • Erica

    A very good introductory video on voting as a Catholic! Thank you!

  • Malibu Mike Murphy

    the ONLY official Catholic Church statement on voting is Forming a Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.
    “Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics” is NOT issued by the Catholic Church! This is important enough that it bears repeating: “Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics” is NOT issued by the Catholic Church!

    Catholics can vote for pro-choice candidates if they vote for them despite — not because of — their ‘pro-choice’ views. After faithful thought and prayer, I have arrived at the conclusion that Senator Obama is the candidate whose views are most compatible with the Catholic outlook, and I will vote for him because of that — and because of his other outstanding qualities — despite our disagreements with him in specific areas.

  • Meg

    Yes, thank God that will probably not happen because people are beginning to take seriously our call to care for the Earth! Actually, what’s pretty cool is that Pope Benedict XVI has written several letters regarding our need to address the environmental issue seriously. Have you gotten to read any? It’s pretty cool.

    So I understand what you’re saying-certainly if the earth became inhabitable, the loss of life would be about 6 billion, which would certainly dwarf the casualties of abortion. But I think we need to look at this with a personalistic worldview. Truthfully, there is no reason to think that we’ll all die if we don’t start taking care of the earth now-while it is important, it does not pose the same threat to the dignity of the person, created in God’s image. There is a more immediate grave situation on our hands: that of the willful murder of the weakest among us (the unborn, embryos and the elderly). Of course, we need to take care of the environment, but it is objectively not as important as our call to take care of those who are the weakest among us.

    I’d also like to point out that, yes, I do believe and follow everything the Church teaches, however, I do not do so as a “lemming” or a blind follower. I read and think critically and am able to articulate my beliefs, as guided by the Christ and the Church.

  • Polly

    I respect your staunch adherence to however the Church tells you how to think but I think most of the issues can (arguably) cause a greater sum of damage than abortion. For example, if we choose to focus solely on abortion at the cost of the environment, how many causalities will it cause if this planet becomes an inhospitable wasteland? Perhaps a tad bit more than the 50 million you quoted (on abortion.) Granted this will probably not happen because people are finally realizing how important this issue is and thank God for that!

  • Meg

    Polly,
    I certainly didn’t intend to minimize the sacrifices and honor of our soldiers by putting the issue of war below the issues of abortion, euthanasia and the destruction of embryos. I wasn’t referring specifically to any war or any situation-I was simply speaking about the issues facing us in general and looking at them from a Catholic moral perspective.

    One might think that I’m following everything the Church states to the T (which flatters me actually, because the Church does have the Truth as promised by Christ), however what I stated really comes down to following the natural logical consequences of one of the basic truths of our faith: that man and woman are created in the image and likeness of God and that we have an inherent dignity. The “order of importance” that I proposed, based on reading many documents of the Church, applies directly to that truth. If you disagree with the logical consequence of this truth, perhaps you disagree with the truth itself, which is one of our most important teachings.

    I don’t propose that we don’t care for the environment; I would consider myself an environmentalist. However, certain issues take priority over others. Abortion does top the list since it is the direct cause of the willful murder of almost 50 million people in the US alone since 1973. No war or environmental crisis has cost such a dear price.

  • Polly

    The reason I visit Busted Halo on a regular basis is the fact that you guys are not just regurgitating doctrine from the Catholic Church but presenting them in new and interesting ways to get people thinking. This piece is a perfect example of that. With all due respect to Meg (the latest poster) I think taking everything the Church teaches as fact and following it to a T is a dangerous and ignorant way of going through life. I think many US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan would take umbrage to your claim that the cause they are fighting (and dying for) is way down on your list. You can hem and haw about abortion all your life but the point will become moot if we don’t change the way we treat this planet in present and future.

  • Meg

    While in the beginning of this video it does state that issues pertaining directly to the human person take precedence, the rest of it does imply that the issues mentioned are equally weighted.

    (this is not “Megan” from earlier posts, just fyi)

    It should be duly noted that the issues of abortion, euthanasia and the destruction of embryos all have a greater moral weight than immigration laws, health care, and war. And immigration, health care and war trump the environment. If you disagree with me, just look at the pastoral letters of several of our bishops that try to help voters form their consciences for this election.

  • Mike Hayes

    Stephen gets the idea we were after here. But what I’d like to encourage is that while the video states the church’s stance on all the issues flowing from that pro-human being stance that we continue to discuss those issues here. We’re really open to continuing that conversation.

  • Stephen

    Michael, the video does not imply that all the issues are equally rated. It states firmly in the opening slide that being pro-human being is the over-arching element that all the other issues must conform to. So that means being pro-human being on the abortion question, the environment, economics, etc.

    I like the fact that Busted Halo didn’t hit us over the head with abortion as the first issue after seriously making that statement off the top.

    I also think that spiritual seekers don’t know all the issues in ANY depth–so this introduction would serve the Busted Halo readership well and get them to think about the issues in greater depth. Don’t we have a responsibility to take these seeds and let them germinate and find out more information on our own? Or are we all about being spoon-fed?

  • Gil

    Of course it does Megan, if they went into detail the piece would be 2 hours long! They can’t do the work for you, it’s meant to get people thinking about these issues and deciding for themselves.

  • Dexter

    I agree Michael, the environment is more important because without it we wouldn’t even be here!

  • Michael

    It would seem that this video implies that all issues are equally weighted. This is an incorrect view. You cannot put human life on the same level as the environment.

  • Megan

    I think this is a great start to understanding the issues that Catholics should be considering when deciding how to vote. These issues are very complex, and since the video can’t cover everything (books and books and books have been written on any one of these issues alone!), I would just encourage anyone undecided, or even just generally unfamiliar of any of the issues, to prayerfully and carefully research them in more depth. A great intro, though.

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