Catholic voters can abstain from voting in a particular race

Lincoln, Neb., Sep 30, 2016 / 03:33 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Catholics who can’t in good conscience vote for either major presidential candidate are well within their rights to pick a third option, says Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska.

Voters need to discern whether there is a candidate in each race who can “advance human dignity, the right to life and the common good,” he said in his Sept. 30 column for the Southern Nebraska Register.

“When there is, we should feel free to vote for that candidate – whether they are a member of a major party or not,” he said. “No Catholic should feel obliged to vote for one candidate just to prevent the election of another.”

The bishop advised a prudent course that avoids dangerous forms of “blind partisanship” and misleading political rhetoric and media alarmism.

He acknowledged the possibility that “in extraordinary circumstances” some Catholics may decide there is no suitable candidate for a race and abstain from voting in that particular race.


Common sense.

Indeed. And more. I found the Bishop’s points quite well expressed.

And as I am sure you are aware, Deacon, the position enunciated by the Bishop is also articulated well in the document promulgated by your country’s Bishops collectively: Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. This is a document that deserves the highest praise for the richness of its content and composition. I hope it is widely read and studied.

On the other hand, if Catholics abstain from voting, a large portion of the population goes unrepresented, and therefore (in this world, at least) ignored. How does that make it better than voting? At least when we vote we can attempt to PREVENT one of the evils, despite therefore endorsing the other, so to speak.

It is not a question of “Catholics” abstaining from voting that both this individual bishop and the bishops of the United States collectively are addressing. The issue is the decisions a voter, guided by a well-formed conscience, may legitimately arrive at in a variety of permutations. The conscience, in the end, is not speculative. What is more, a person’s conscience guides them in their personal, individuated moral decision making.

Easy, if you are not a Bishop* Is there one of the candidates who has consistently opposed the core principles of the Church? Is either candidate amenable to the illumination of Catholic thought? Is either candidate demonstrating a career path of political ambition? Is either on the receiving end of massive foreign contributions to a foundation or other non-profit, thus beholden to those same foreign powers? Does a cloud of criminal suspicion hang over either one? Has either demonstrated habitual pattern of compromising national security? Has either one been given a pass by the US Attorney General? Are jobs for the working class class a priority or sublimated to more radical social concerns? Are trade agreements as they stand currently beneficial to America, or profiting potential enemies? Does either have a radical progressive agenda to fundamentally alter the DNA of the United States (hint: Catholics were fooled in 2008 and 2012)?

Finally: Is your conscience well-formed? How do you know?

*The Church is essentially bound and gagged by the tax laws of the IRS, and thus cannot speak with more clarity.

Hallelujah! So glad this was said! :slight_smile:

Now if only I could get those pesky persons who say if I don’t vote for Trump that I’m pro-choice and a Hillary supporter off of my case we’d be doing great! :thumbsup:

What’s changed? I thought this was always the case.

There’s a lot of pressure from the laity to vote one way or another,

E.g., “If your conscience is well-formed and you had proper formation, you know that abortion trumps all other considerations, and you know a vote for anyone other than Trump is a vote for Hillary and quite possibly sinful”

but the Church has been clear all along. The Church doesn’t tell us who to vote for.

Voting history shows in the long run, it doesn’t matter, because the Catholic vote splits pretty evenly. Only on social media sites such as CAF does there appear to be a wide split.

Already a thread here

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