Bishop Olmsted’s voter guide

Bishop Olmsted’s voter guide

It’s always good to see bishops doing the work of helping their people form their consciences instead of leaving it up to various lay groups through which one has to sift. In this case, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix has written a Catholic voters’ guide to be distributed in his diocese. In the guide, he makes the point that a well-formed Catholic conscience can only have a single viewpoint on certain issues and that this stance is non-negotiable.

Olmsted’s booklet lists three principles as not negotiable for Catholic voters “because they involve matters that are intrinsically evil.” Those principles are the protection of life from conception until natural death; the recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage; and the protection of the rights of parents to educate their children.

Interestingly, Bishop Gerald Kicanas of neighboring Tucson says he’s not aware of the booklet and recommends either the Arizona Catholic Conference’s voting guide or the USCCB’s “Faithful Citizenship” guide, neither of which refer to any doctrine as non-negotiable. I suspect Bishop Olmsted thought he needed a guide specifically for his people because of that wishy-washy deficiency.

Though Olmsted stressed his booklet is nonpartisan and not intended to endorse any candidate, Catholics adhering to it would have little choice in some of the political races in the upcoming Nov. 7 general election, including that of Arizona governor. Of the two frontrunners, incumbent Gov. Janet Napolitano , a Democrat, supports legal abortion while her Republican opponent, Len Munsil, is anti-abortion.

And whose fault is that? If the Democrats weren’t so unyieldingly welded to support for abortion always and everywhere perhaps there might be a way for a Catholic to vote for them in good conscience. Certainly, if they weren’t so bad on the non-negotiables, there are plenty of areas in which some Catholics could vote for them in good conscience. They fairly drive us into the arms of the Republicans, who often take such support for granted.

If you don’t live in Phoenix, you can also get the booklet from Basilica Press.

Update: Just to clarify, I’m told that the Arizona Catholic Conference document is more of a candidate questionnaire response, not a voter’s guide and is unlike both the bishop’s voter’s guide and “Faithful Citizenship.”

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  • Yes, the AZ Catholic Conference Voter’s Guide is a series of 12 questions, but the non-negotiable intrinsically evils are asked about in the questions, and, coupled with Bishop Olmstead’s teaching, it should delineate those candidates who chose to respond ( over 20 including Governor Napolitano,incumbent didn’t respond, underscoring their belief that the Catholic vote is insignificant) who do or do not support policieys and procedures containing intrinsic evils.
    Yet, as we were informed by Bishop K, “There are many ‘voters’ guides’ out there but only the USCCB and AZ Catholic Conference materials are permitted in Tucson.

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