I am a fan of Catholic Answers. And almost all the time I find the treatment of hard questions - or any questions, really - in the Ask an Apologist Forum to be refreshing and responsible.
But I’m disturbed at this incorrect response given by an official Catholic apologist for all the world to see. It’s a scandal and a disservice to potentially lead someone astray about Catholic teachings on morality.
Specifically, the answer states without any clarification that it is “absolutely” right to state that a Catholic cannot “vote for a candidate advocating intrinsic evil … such as homosexuality, abortion, euthenasia.”
But I’m really disturbed by the fact that, well, that’s a falsehood. Pope Benedict XVI, while still Cardinal Ratzinger and the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, explained:
[quote=then-Cardinal Ratzinger]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.
He says what’s really a no-brainer to anyone who has a clue about the standard and accepted Catholic moral principle of double effect: namely, that as long as a person is voting for such a candidate in spite of his or her support for intrinsic evil, said voter is engaging only in remote material cooperation with evil rather than more direct material cooperation or formal cooperation with evil, and that voting this way can therefore be justified in certain circumstances, the determining of which is a matter for prudential judgment.
Why, then, do otherwise solid Catholic organizations like Catholic Answers feel the need to communicate outright falsehoods and, in effect, deceive people?
PLEASE NOTE, I am well aware that some ideologue numbskulls with slavish and merely instinctive devotion to the Democratic Party in the United States use the above prinicples to justify their morally nebulous habit of consistently voting for pro-abortion politicians like President Obama, et al. I AM NOT ONE OF THEM. Do NOT accuse my post here of being a smokescreen for justifying a vote for Obama or his allies. IT IS NOT.
I did not vote for Obama in 2008, I voted for McCain. And I’m voting for Romney this time around, and I certainly acknowledge the rather obvious fact that in most cases, there really isn’t proportionate reason to justify voting for a candidate who supports an intrinsic evil like abortion.
So if all you have to contribute to the discussion is the equally slavish, Republican-leaning, false dichotomy-pushing, drone-like, reactionary impulse to say, “Grrrrr STOP SAYING IT’S OK 4 PEEPUL 2 VOTE 4 DIRTY BABY-KILLING SOCIALISTS,” then just please go away now.
Let me repeat this so that no one has any excuse to derail this thread with unfounded accusations: I HAVE NOT and WILL NOT vote for Obama. I DO NOT SUPPORT HIM. If I have my way, the term he is finishing will be his last. NOR DO I BELIEVE THERE ARE PROPORTIONATE REASONS THAT JUSTIFY VOTING FOR HIM.
Got it? Good.
Now that that’s out of the way, what I really do want to hear about, and don’t understand, and am disturbed by, is why otherwise accurate Catholic sources like Catholic Answers feel the need to communicate falsehoods about this matter. Does the mere awareness that many lax Catholics are ideologically bankrupt and desensitized to the absolutely critical importance of violations of the dignity of human life really justify lying to people?
Why is politics the only area this happens? Shouldn’t we put the truth before all practical considerations, even if we know people will deliberately twist our words to make morally dubious voting choices?
I will close by offering this fine reflection by Catholic blogger Mark Shea:
He refuses to vote for a candidate who espouses approval of any intrinsic evil and thus ends up voting third-party most of the time. In this article and in the comments he exposes the absurdity of the charge against him that his actions constitute tacit support for President Obama and his allies. I wish more Catholics thought with his clarity, nuance, and brutal honesty.