Catholics cannot vote for pro-choice candidates

Remarks by Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal-elect Raymond Burke in recent days have caught the attention of media outlets as … Continued

Remarks by Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal-elect Raymond Burke in recent days have caught the attention of media outlets as we approach Election Day in the United States. Essentially, these Church leaders have told the faithful that the position of a candidate on abortion matters more than other issues, and that they cannot vote for those who support abortion without betraying the very nature of democracy.

Perhaps the first thing to be said about these statements is that they say nothing new. They reflect teachings of the Church as found in Pope John Paul II’s encyclical The Gospel of Life (1995), and in the documents of the Second Vatican Council. If these statements seem new, it’s probably because they aren’t spoken as clearly and frequently as they should be.

And that is often due to fear of partisanship. But the Church is not partisan, and the test of that is simple: If the major political parties or the candidates in any race were to suddenly swap their positions on abortion, not one word of the Church’s message about voting and abortion would change. The message stays the same. What candidate or party that message helps or hurts depends on the position the candidate or party chooses to take.

The reason a vote for a supporter of legal abortion betrays the foundation of democracy is that such a foundation consists of a society where all are safe, all are welcome, and the rights of all are recognized as beyond the governing power to take away or transgress. Roe vs. Wade violated that principle by pretending that the government could determine the circumstances or stages at which one’s life does nor does not require protection. In the view of the Church, no human authority – secular or religious – has the power to make such determinations or distinctions. Every human being is to be treated as a person, at every stage of development, and law is meant to protect every person. To fail to protect life is to take away the very foundation for every other right. Hence, in the view of the Church, it isn’t that other issues don’t matter; rather, to champion other rights while holding the right to life as negotiable is to contradict oneself and undermine the progress of those other rights as well.

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  • david6

    This is why the Catholic Church needs to have leaders who are men and women, married or unmarried. People who have children. Right now, the Church is led by people who are completely out of touch with their members and with life. These leaders have betrayed the teachings of the past and have chosen to side with an American political party that has no compassion for the poor, the aged or the infirm.

  • RustyS

    This makes so much sense. Pro life is not Dem. Rep, Ind. or anything else. If the candidate changes from pro life to pro choice, not mater what party, we don’t vote for him/her. My stand all along, but said very well in your article.Thank you Father

  • david6

    Rustys,Why do the supposedly pro-life candidates always talk a good game but do absolutely nothing to back up their words? Are they just trying to con the religious folks who think this is important? Why would I believe that someone who votes to cut spending on the welfare of children, the poor, the infirm and the elderly really cares about life? Why should I not assume that they are just mouthing empty promises because those promises can get certain religious folks to vote for them?In short, it appears to me that the Roman Catholic bishops are being played by the GOP. Why should I think otherwise?

  • LeticiaVelasquez

    David6 Still making the same unsubstantiated claims about the Church?

  • Rich50

    Amazing all the good things happening in the Catholic church. An active Pro Life message, Thank You Father Pavone! GOOD WORK!

  • CRR1030

    The Pro-Life stance goes all the way back to God creating life. People who claim that the Church is “out of touch” with the needs of people today are themselves out of touch with God’s law. The whole sexual revolution was about pleasure without consequences, and women rebelling for the sake of self-interest. If the Church bowed to every cultural whim, she would no longer be in line with the teachings of Christ. The Church has updated some of its explanations of the faith to better relate to today’s issues, such as voting for Pro-Life candidates, but the main doctrine was always in place and always will be. Also, if people are going to not vote for a candidate because they may be lying about their Pro-Life stance, then what’s the point of believing anything they say, or voting at all, if their platforms are all phony? Catholic voters aren’t held accountable for a candidate relinquishing his or her proclaimed values after election day, we are simply obligated to vote for the candidate(s) that exhibit the most Pro-Life platforms. I seriously doubt that there’s an overall Republican “conspiracy” to trick Pro-Lifers into voting for them.

  • GSeeker

    Even if Roe vs. Wade stands forever, pro-life people are vilified forever, some (fortunately not all) politicians use the pro-life movement for their own ends and people still abort babies left and right, as Catholics we still must obey our God implanted conscience and defend innocent human life with whatever strength and means we’ve got. On account that one day we’ll meet our Creator and answer him. Is a matter of elementary justice.

  • jforsini

    It is amazing how the liberal pro-dead babies are making up facts. Conservatives are not against the poor. They are on the contrary much more on the side of the poor as they support the safety net for hardship cases and trust them to make their own decisions because there is their true Dignity. A dignity that is denied them in the liberals plantations where all decisions are made by the anointed ones.

  • fugmanp

    When need to respect the unborn as Catholics!