POLITICAL PAPIST COLUUMNIST
In November, I will be able to vote for the first time in my life. It’s never too early in the year to start thinking about the next major event in American history and how we can contribute. (I started thinking about voting way back in 2018, when I was legally old enough!) Maybe now is the best time, since election season has started and we still have time to form our opinions and consciences.
I’ve been lately reflecting on this particular responsibility, mostly because I’ve not paid much attention to the Democratic candidates but also because none of the candidates on either party are morally perfect. As a Catholic, how am I to vote?
Catholics are exhorted, on pastoral and peer levels alike, to examine thoroughly their candidate of choice and measure them against the Five Non-Negotiables: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and homosexual “marriage.”
These issues, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics, are intrinsically evil and should never be supported by the law. In fact, Raymond Cardinal Burke, in his short work “On Our Civic Responsibility for the Common Good,” emphatically exhorts voters to remember that no issue, no matter how good, can justify those non-negotiables.
How does that affect our voting? Who are the potential candidates to watch as Election Day draws nearer?
To begin, let’s examine the Democrats. We have four campaigners who could potentially win nomination: Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren. Their stances on the Five Non-Negotiables are quite dismal.
Sanders: Abortion, yes. Euthanasia, yes. Embryonic stem cell research, yes. Human cloning, no. Homosexual “marriage,” yes.
Biden: Abortion, yes. Euthanasia, no. Embryonic stem cell research, unclear. Human cloning, yes. Homosexual “marriage,” yes.
Buttigieg: Abortion, yes. Euthanasia, yes. Embryonic stem cell research, unclear. Human cloning, unclear. Homosexual “marriage,” yes.
Warren: Abortion, yes. Euthanasia, yes. Embryonic stem cell research, unclear. Human cloning, unclear. Homosexual “marriage,” yes.
None of the candidates are good options. How do they compare, then, to President Trump, who is the first president in the history of America to address, in person, the March for Life, using language that affirmed the sanctity of life?
Trump: Abortion, no (duh). Euthanasia, yes. Embryonic stem cell research, no. Human cloning, no. Homosexual “marriage,” unclear but seems to lean toward no.
Now, when I first learned that President Trump supports euthanasia, I grew concerned. How could any good Catholic vote if all the candidates are morally imperfect and support the things that we are never to vote for? Is the only option to not vote at all? The answer comes best from the hand of Cardinal Burke.
He said, “A Catholic may vote for a candidate who, while he supports an evil action, also supports the limitation of the evil involved, if there is no better candidate.”
He went on to write that Catholics who recognize how evil certain acts are may, without sin, vote for one candidate over a less suitable one.
“This is not a question of choosing the lesser evil, but of limiting all the evil one is able to limit at the time.” He concluded the paragraph thus.
Voting on these life issues with candidates who are all less-than-ideal is not picking the lesser of two evils and thereby supporting an evil act. Instead, it is about choosing the candidate who will do the least damage.
Yes, it is very sad that this is the level to which politics sinks. But I would encourage my fellow voting-age Catholics to keep steady heads during the upcoming election season. We need to keep focus on the key Five Non-Negotiables. All other issues should be secondary to these.
Morality is, on a national scale, declining. Party lines are divided further and further. “The refusal to take sides on great moral issues is,” as Ven. Fulton Sheen says, “itself a decision. It is a silent acquiescence to evil.”
My friends, do not stay silent. Your voice is heard through your vote. Here presented are the guidelines and resources for conscientious Catholic voting. It’s never too early to decide on which side of the great moral issues that take the spotlight in American politics you are.