Is it a sin to vote for a pro-choice candidate?


Is it a sin to vote for a pro-choice candidate?


It is definitely a sin if you vote for a candidate BECAUSE he/she is pro-choice. Otherwise, as most candidates, no matter what they tell you, are pro-choice in one form or another, it’s a grey area.


While I did vote, “Yes, major [grave] sin” there are some caveats according to the 2004 letter from the then Cardinal Ratzinger to American bishops.

Here is a link to the 2004 letter. This is very important. It is also very short and to the point. Printed, it would only be a page and a half.

Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles

Here is the gist of the letter.

  1. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. 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 repel 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.
  2. Apart from an individuals’s judgement about his worthiness to present himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion may find himself in the situation where he must refuse to distribute Holy Communion to someone, such as in cases of a declared excommunication, a declared interdict, or an obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin (cf. can. 915).
  3. Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.
  4. When “these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible,” and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, “the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it” (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Declaration “Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics” [2002], nos. 3-4). This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgement on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.
    [N.B. 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 favour 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.]

The author of this letter is now the Pope.


I believe there was a followup in 2006 addressing the voting aspect. I’ll see if I can find it.


pro-choice means pro abortion,

pro-life used to mean anti abortion until those that voted for pro choice (pro abortion) candidates changed the meaning (to include other issues) to ease their guilt.


pro choice is not the only reason to vote or not vote for someone.


It requires proportionate reason. Thus it is a major sin unless you can show that he is going to accomplish something that is worth more than the life of numerous babies.


I completely believe it is a sin! I’m sorry, but I feel strongly that no one would have voted for Hitler using the reason that “while mass genocide is regretable, I think he has the right economic policies, and will serve the non-jews better than his candidate, even if he does support abolishing death camps.”

Sometimes I fear that we are all becoming soft on the issue because it is getting more “socially acceptable”


No, that only works if voting against the candidate would save the life of those babies. Voting against a pro-choice candidate in favor of a pro-life candidate will only save lives if

  1. the candidate gets elected
  2. the candidate really tries to do something about abortion; and
  3. there is something that a holder of this particular office at this particular time can do about abortion

I think pretty much everyone agrees that voting for a pro-choice candidate might be legitimate if there were no pro-life candidate available.



Edwin, I have to disagree and use this coming election as an example. I probably won’t get a lot of support for this but here goes…
I feel that the republican parties stance on being pro life is eroding. If the republicans nominate a pro choice candidate (we know the democrats will) I believe that it is better for the long term to take a stance and organize a campaign that would hand a pro choice republican a loss.

The democrats as a party are pro abortion, the republicans as a party are pro life.

I say that we have to make a stance and vote for any pro life candidate…there will be some in some onscure party…and ensure the republicans lose to make that stance. The erosion is going to continue as long as we consider and accept a pro choice candidate for the republican nomination. I am afraid that may happen this election.


I actually think you have a point over against my claim that voting for a prolife candidate who couldn’t be elected wouldn’t save lives (in the long run), but this is a pragmatic question. The main issue in terms of the OP is that if, say, Giuliani runs against Clinton or Obama and these seem like the only possible candidates, then one would be morally justified in voting for a pro-choice candidate. Your suggestion would also be an option. I think this is where one’s agreement or disagreement with other aspects of a party’s platform becomes relevant. On a lot of other issues, the positions favored by the Catholic bishops in this country line up better with Democrats than with Republicans. So arguably Catholics (or orthodox Christians however we define them) could send the Republicans a message by voting Democratic when the Republican candidate was pro-choice. Many Republicans think that the party has gone too far to the “right,” and either forming a third party or voting Democratic would help persuade the party leadership otherwise.

I’m all in favor of breaking the two-party monopoly, by the way!

I recognize that many posters on this board disagree with the leaders of their Church on a number of matters on which they are free to do so (such as the death penalty, the war in Iraq, immigration, welfare, etc.). I am not trying to start an argument about those issues!



I have to disagree with most of what you said that many posters disagree with the leaders of their church on any of the other issues. But I won’t go into that here either.

I disagree to vote democrat, that would just escalate the erosion as it would continue to enable the voters who vote democrat for all the wrong reasons.

I just cannot get over how many politicians… Catholic and other Christian denominations… have sold their soul to the devil for power by “dumbing” down the fact that abortion is murder.


I guess some people feel that the lives of the unborn babies are equal to their pet “pork” projects. Or so it seems.

So I ask:

Is a war that might kill people in the thousands equal to abortion that has killed millions?

Is the POTENTIAL to do wrong equal to the lives of millions of unborn children?

Is the saving of an endangered species of flower or frog the equivalent worth of the millions of unborn babies?

Where does the “abortion is not the only issue” voter draw their line?


I don’t think you can tote up numbers like this. The war in Iraq is a lesser evil not so much because it kills fewer people but because it is less clearly evil in the first place, even if it killed millions. I actually don’t think pulling out of Iraq is the right thing to do now, anyway, though everyone who voted for the war initially should retire from politics for at lest ten years or so as an act of penance!

Having to vote for people who maintain one immoral position in order to defeat those who hold another immoral position is a very difficult choice. I agree entirely that if we can end abortion, we must do so. Beyond that it gets tricky.



Talk to Kathleen, who just described opposition to the war and support of environmentalism as “pork projects,” which is pretty astounding if you ask me!



At least we have the HOPE of change when we vote for the “pro-life” politician.:slight_smile: With the “pro-choice” politician we KNOW we don’t have any hope of this.:mad:

I want to know where every future politician stands in relation to “LIFE” issues. Every politician had to be elected for the first time and this means we need to ask even the dog catcher where he or she stands on the issue.


You misunderstand me. The questions are separate from the PORK. Pet PORK projects tend to make people vote for those that can and will get them the goodies. Just Look at some of the politicians that are reelected time and time again.:mad:


Nope. I don’t.


So we just take the candidate for his word? What about those few candidates that are anti-abortion except for rape and incest? They’re certainly not 100% pro-life. In fact, I know one has been overdeluged with mail because he took a compromising position on his views.


Intent certainly plays a part here…

Let’s say you have a “pro-choice” candidate who, in your opinion, is very likely to be able to do wonders for social justice, help the poor and homeless, etc. and is unlikely to influence abortion.

And, let’s say that the other candidate, while pro-life, has a horrible record of wasting tax dollars, opposing anything that helps the poor and downtrodden, etc., and is very unlikely, in your opinion is unlikely to influence abortion, AND, is likely to get us into a major nuclear war.

What then?

In some cases, it’s difficult to know for sure how your candidate is likely to vote, as in most instances, you can tell when they’re lying when their lips move. :smiley:

Seriously, though, you can’t be held accountable for sin when after doing due dilligence, you’ve weighed the liklihood of all these factors and decided on the lesser of two evil candidates.

Knowingly voting for an openly “pro-choice” candidate, with the intent of advancing the abortion agenda is an entirely different matter.

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