How should Catholics vote?

How should Catholics vote?

Fr. Roger Landry, of the diocese of Fall River, Mass., is editor of the diocesan newspaper, The Anchor, and he is an orthodox priest who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. (Fr. Landry wrote this homily in 2002 that made the Internet just as the Scandal was breaking in Boston. It’s still one of the best takes on the situation I’ve seen.)

In his editorial for this Friday’s edition of the newspaper, he addresses the question of how a Catholic should vote. Unlike some who would counsel the approach of “let your (ill-formed) conscience be your guide and if you don’t go the way the Church wants, so be it,” Fr. Landry stands strong and says that a Catholic must search for the Truth, a Truth which Christ promised the Holy Spirit would keep in the Church’s teachings, and follow it.

He praises those voters’ guides that take the latter approach, but he calls out the wolves in sheep’s clothing of those seeking to undermine Church teaching.

As the importance of Catholics’ voting according to their faith in recent national elections has notably grown, and Catholics became much more sensitive to secularists-in-Catholic-clothing manipulating their baptismal status for political gain, it was only a matter of time until the “personally opposed… but” crowd sought to craft another strategy or slogan. They think they’ve found it, in a new organization and a new deceptive voters’ guide. But Catholics should not be fooled.

Voting for the Common Good: A Practical Guide for Conscientious Catholics published by Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good — which is led by former advisors to Senators John Kerry and Hillary Clinton — is nothing other than a well-funded attempt to try to persuade Catholics that it is morally okay to continue to vote for the “personally opposed” pro-choice candidates who have swindled them in the past.

Taking Ratzinger out of context

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  • Paul,

    All of the Mass. governor candidates are pro-abortion, pro-embryonic stem cell research. I may vote for Healey as the least odious choice because at least we share values in some few areas. Deval Patrick is just so far left, there’s no commonality.

  • Yes, Mihous is quite liberal.  I have no idea why he was in the Republican party but you could say that about many of the Republicans in this state.  I am reluctantly going to vote for Healy because we can’t afford a Dukasis clone.  We’re still living with the judges and hacks he appointed.

  • Kerry “Muffy” Healy is the only candidate of the three who does not back “same-sex marriage.”

    What a choice, sheesh. It’s so much like last time. I voted for Mitt to keep Shannon O’Brien out.

    And ironies of ironies…I really had misgivings when Romney chose Healy for his running mate!

    But Deval is out o’ the question.

  • Eric:

    Abortion=killing innocent children
    Net neutrality=you have to pay to get to a web site

    If you can’t see the difference, then you need to get a copy of the various good voters’ guides.

  • I think maybe Louis E. missed the title o’ this blog: <b>How Should Catholics Vote.</i>

    I also think it’s pretty much impossible to translate his third paragraph. Into English, I mean.

  • If someone is opposed to abortion in cases of rape and incest but would be okay with doctors performing surgeries that will definitely take the baby’s life but save the mother’s life is that pro-life or pro-choice?

    (What a euphemism. What is being chosen? Pro-abortion is more accurate. Pro-legalized-abortion is probably most accurate but unwieldy.)

    Anyway, what say you to the situation I propose above?

  • Jason: I don’t mean medical ethics. I’m aware of the principle of the unintended consequence.

    I mean within the law. If I’m a politican and I say that I’m against abortion except when the life of the mother is on the line, am I pro-life or pro-choice?

    Lynne: I’ve been bothered by Catholic Online’s ( slide in that direction over time.

  • Jason: When I say “within the law”, I mean in your view can a politician support a restriction on abortion except to save the life of the mother? Without parsing it, is a politician were to make that part of his campaign pledge, would he be pro-life or pro-choice?

    Eric: I know what net neutrality is. But, as the Church has taught us, there are issues which are fundamental to the right ordering of society—right to life being one of them and freedom to worship God is another. While net neutrality is very important, it does not even begin to approach the importance of abortion.

    Likewise, federal energy policy has a massive impact on the quality of life of every American. Still not even close to abortion.

    If you don’t have the right to life, then the rest of it is pointless. And if the government declares a person doesn’t have a right to life simply based on their age, that’s a problem.

  • Well, Jason, in that case any Catholic politician who is abiding by the Church’s teaching would be pro-choice according to your criteria.

    The Church does not oppose a formulation of the law that does not outlaw actions by a doctor that result in the death of baby in the course of saving the life of the mother.

    Sometimes we can be so rigorist that we end up more Catholic than the Pope.

  • But a politician, much less a non-Catholic politician, is not going to put some theological and philosophical definition in a speech or campaign literature.

    He’s going to say “I support a restriction on abortion except to save the life of the mother.”

    The point is that our job as laypeople in the public square is to translate the technical theological language into something most people can grasp and that the labels we use are important and have to be careful to confuse people by them.

  • I didn’t say anything about Bush. I think he’s wrong to back a rape and incest exception, although I’m willing to let it slide until we get to the point where that’s all we have to worry about.

    I just think we have to be careful how we phrase things so as not to turn people away before they’ve heard what we have to say.