Catholics Should Not Vote for Pro-Abortion Politicians, Top Vatican Official Says

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 11, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholics Should Not Vote for Pro-Abortion Politicians, Top Vatican Official Says

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 11
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Catholic voters have no reason to vote for a pro-abortion political candidate such as President Barack Obama, a top Vatican official said during Friday’s national Catholic prayer breakfast. Archbishop Raymond Burke, who heads the Catholic Church’s highest court, held firmly to the pro-life-only position.

Burke, the prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, told the audience at the Friday prayer breakfast that voting for a pro-abortion candidate, despite their good positions on other issues, is never justified.

“An important part of our moral reflection must include a clear understanding of the principles regarding cooperation in evil, especially by the act of voting,” Burke said.

Burke countered one objection some Catholic voters give to not always voting for pro-life candidates.

“Too often, in our time, our inability to accomplish all that we should for the sake of the defense of the right to life and of the protection of the integrity of the family is used to justify the direct choice of a political leader who espouses a position or positions in violation of the natural moral law,” he explained.

Burke also talked about the Catholic Church’s support for lawmakers and legislation that may limit abortion but not eliminate it completely. He cited Pope John Paul II and his Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae, which allows this.

“He offers as an example the case of a legislator who has the possibility of voting for a law which would restrict the evil of procured abortion, even though it would not eradicate it completely," Burke explained.

Burke continued:“In an analogous manner, as voters, we are often faced with a choice among candidates who do not fully oppose unjust laws. In such a case, we must choose the candidate who will most limit the evil effects of unjust laws."

"But, there is no element of the common good, no morally good practice, which a candidate may promote and to which a voter may be dedicated, which could justify voting for a candidate who also endorses and supports the deliberate killing of the unborn, [or] euthanasia," he explained.

"The respect for the inviolable dignity of innocent human life" is "so fundamental to the common good" that it cannot be subordinated to any other cause, no matter how good it may be.”

Burke laid out the kind of attitude Catholic voters should and shouldn’t have.

“In a nation set so firmly on a path of violation of the most fundamental moral norms, Catholics and others who adhere to the natural moral law are pressured to think that their religious commitment to the moral law as the way of seeking the good of all is a merely confessional matter which cannot have any application in public life,” Burke said.

“Apparently, a number of Catholics in public life have been so convinced,” he observed.

“How often do we hear Catholic legislators who vote in favor of anti-life and anti-family legislation claim that they are personally opposed to what the legislation protects and fosters, but that they as public officials may not allow religious beliefs to affect their support of such legislation?” he asked.

“How often do we hear fellow Catholics supporting candidates for office, who are anti-life and anti-family, because of political-party loyalties or for reasons of other policies and programs supported by the candidate, which they deem to be good?” he asked.

“How often is such thinking justified by the claim that religious faith is a purely private matter and has no place in the public forum?” Burke continued. “On the contrary, the common good depends upon the active engagement of religious faith in the public forum.”

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