“I do not see how a Catholic could, in conscience, vote for an individual expressing him or herself as favoring abortion.” (John Cardinal O’Connor)
Performing an abortion is intrinsically evil. Legislators, executives and judges supporting or maintaining the legalization or funding of abortions, and individuals voting for a referendum that legalizes or funds abortion cooperate in an intrinsic evil.
But is voting for a candidate who supports abortion cooperating in an intrinsic evil?
While some bishops have basically said yes to that question, the body of bishops (USCCB) in America has never directly addressed it.
The Vatican has filled this void.
In July, 2004, in a document sent to Cardinal McCarrick (who chaired a committee dealing with Catholic pro-abortion politicians and Communion), Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, provided moral guidance:
“A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. 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” (“Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles”).
The proportionate reasons principle is included because the Church has over 2000 years of experience with leaders of countries throughout the world, and knows there have been crimes equal to or greater than the million legal abortions annually in America (Adolf Hitler being only one example).
The principle of course does not apply to our America.
We do not have nor would our legislative, executive and judicial branches of government permit the killing annually of a million citizens through starvation or freezing. Nor do we have candidates advocating an unjust war that would involve a first-strike nuclear attack on millions of innocent persons.
“There are no ‘truly grave moral’ or ‘proportionate’ reasons, singularly or combined, that could outweigh the millions of innocent human lives that are directly killed by legal abortion.” (Archbishop Joseph Naumann)
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Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., has asked each of us to look at proportionality from a personal perspective:
“A proportionate reason for voting for a pro- abortion candidate has to be a reason we could, with an honest heart, expect the unborn victims of abortion to accept when we meet them and need to explain our decision, as we someday will.”
In this day and age, a Catholic cannot, with a good and well-formed conscience, vote for a candidate who favors abortion.
LifeNews Note: Deacon Mark Gallagher is a deacon of the Archdiocese of Washington and Government Liaison Office at the USCCB, representing the Catholic Bishops before Congress, in behalf of the unborn and the poor.