CNS on proportionate reasons

CNS on proportionate reasons

The Catholic News Service’s story on Ratzinger’s letter to US bishops on Communion for pro-abort pols takes Cardinal McCarrick’s stance that it doesn’t really contradict anything decided by the bishops or that McCarrick reported. Really? All anyone has to do is read the two statements to see the differences. But the article’s own interpretations are faulty too.

“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,” he said. In other words, if a Catholic thinks a candidate’s positions on other issues outweigh the difference on abortion, a vote for that candidate would not be considered sinful.

The quote is accurate, but what follows after “in other words” is wrong. That is not what Ratzinger is saying. What the article does is ignore the meaning of “proportionate reasons.” It doesn’t mean moral equivalency. If we were to follow the CNS line, we would be weighing murder of the unborn on a scale with their positions on farm policy, welfare, et al. That is not at all what “proportionate reasons” means.

As I’ve said before, proportionate reasons are those which entail things like “what if both candidates are pro-abortion”? I’ve linked to a much better explanation of this issue in this entry.