In continuing the ‘Note’ on voting, it is necessary for a voter to weigh issues properly. Sanctity of Life, Sanctity of Marriage and Religious Liberty are pre-eminent in the order given as Pope Benedict wrote in 2012 (Sacramentum Caritatis). The first four principles in last week’s column encompassed these three moral truths. (I mistakenly spoke in last week’s column that democratic principles are one of these fundamental moral truths.)
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) wrote in a letter in July 2004:
Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. . . . While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repeal an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia. (Letter to Cardinal McCarrick, No. 3)
When we vote it is good to have a crucifix in hand so as to remind ourselves that we must be loyal to Jesus first. There is nothing wrong with being loyal to a candidate or to a political party. But, there is something very wrong if one’s loyalty to either is stronger than one’s loyalty to Jesus Christ. If a candidate or party contradicts the platform of the Gospel and the moral law (i.e. abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, same sex marriage), a person should have the inner freedom to depart from personal, family or community tradition and vote instead for the candidate and party that best reflect God’s law.
What if there is no candidate who is totally pro-life and pro-moral law? Pope John Paul II spoke of this scenario in his encyclical, The Gospel of Life. In such a situation one should ask another question: which of the candidates will do less harm to unborn children and the aged if elected? Which would ban partial-birth abortion? Which would require parental notification? Which would stop embryonic stem cell research?
In this case, it is morally acceptable to vote for the candidate who will do less harm. This is not ‘choosing the lesser of two evils.’ We may never choose evil. But in choosing to limit an evil, one is choosing a good – with regard to abortion, it is saving some babies’ lives that would have been killed.
As we cast our votes on November 2nd, may our Faith guide our votes that we may not betray the Crucified Lord in one hand with the vote we make with our other hand.