Sunday, August 03, 2008

Deciding how to vote

In a Commonweal article headlined “Yes You Can: Why Catholics Don’t Have to Vote Republican,” Gerald J. Beyer writes,
As an institution, the Roman Catholic Church does not tell believers for whom or against whom they must vote, despite what some politicians, pundits, and pastors suggest. Rather, as the U.S. bishops write in Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship [PDF] (2007), “the responsibility to make choices in political life rests with each individual in light of a properly formed conscience.” Certainly Catholics must seriously consider any candidate’s stance on “intrinsic evils” such as abortion, racism, and torture. Catholics may not vote for a candidate who supports an intrinsic evil “if the voter’s intent is to support that position.” Yet Catholics may choose a candidate who does not unequivocally condemn an intrinsic evil for other “truly grave moral reasons.” Catholics ought to choose the candidate who is least likely to promote intrinsic evils and the most likely to promote “other authentic human goods.” So the question becomes: Are there “grave moral reasons” that permit Catholics to vote for Obama, or any other candidate, despite his or her prochoice stance, or would such a vote be “intellectually careless or downright disingenuous,” . . .?

. . . during this election season Catholic voters should not be duped into believing that the matter is already perfectly clear: Vote for McCain or be a bad Catholic! They ought to take their obligation to vote according to their consciences more seriously than that.

The rest of the article is here. As always, Albany Catholic notes that the final choice is up to you.