I'm not legal to vote yet, but this topic came up in one of my classes...

Are Catholics required to vote for certain canidates based on the views of the canidates and whatnot?


[quote="Flamingo, post:1, topic:216196"]
I'm not legal to vote yet, but this topic came up in one of my classes...

Are Catholics required to vote for certain canidates based on the views of the canidates and whatnot?


You have the freedom to vote however your personal conscience guides you... there's no "requirement" at all...

However, as Catholics there are certain aspects of morality we should keep in mind and we should turn to the Church for guidance on how to discern those issues of morality as they apply to our lives as citizens in a country.

Not only for the purpose of discerning your vote, though... but to keep in mind that when you support candidates who are known to have platforms on immoral issues that you are then, in turn, supporting the progress of that immoral issue.

For example, pro-life issues are very important to Catholics, from conception to natural death. Knowingly voting for someone who has extreme viewpoints that are anti-life should make you think about how you are personally, in turn, supporting that anti-life issue.


[quote="Flamingo, post:1, topic:216196"]
I'm not legal to vote yet, but this topic came up in one of my classes...

Are Catholics required to vote for certain canidates based on the views of the canidates and whatnot?


Catholics are required to form their conscience regarding Church teaching and then apply that as they discern candidates.

There are some teachings of the Church that Catholics may not legitimately have a diversity of opinions on them. These things are intrinsic evils-- such as abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research, same sex "marriage", etc.

For example, abortion. Abortion is murder and voting for candidates who further the legal abortion agenda is wrong. If there are no candidates who are pro-life, a Catholic can choose the least evil among the choices available (for example, the candidate in favor of the most restrictive policy).

Some teachings of the Church allow for legitimate variation in the best way to carry out Church teaching. For example, economics. There are various theories and within those, Catholics can certainly have a variety of opinions on what creates jobs, what is best for a country, etc. So, Catholics can vote for candidates holding a variety of opinions.

This is complex because individual candidates may favor some policies and oppose others that are morally problematic. For example, someone could be against abortion but favor stem cell research. You might not find a "perfect" candidate. Catholics should seek to influence their legislators and work towards just laws in all areas. Catholics *could *vote for a "mixed" record candidate as a least evil choice.

One must strive to apply Catholic teaching to the extent possible.

You can also read Faithful Citizenship at the USCCB website:


This is an excellent post but I would add that we have to dig deeper on certain issues, especially abortion.

In general we would not vote for someone who is not Pro-Life, however as the Church commands we need to understand the entire picture.

For example in the last Presidential election we had 2 Candidates of whom neither fit truly into the “pro-life” category. The candidate who was more closely related, and who stated being pro-life except in cases of rape or incest (it’s life or it’s not right?) was promoting policies that were increasing the number of children murdered each year while the other candidate was extremely pro-choice but was promoting policies that could bring the number of children down. Remember the most drastic decrease in the number of abortions was under Clinton in the 90s who was pro-choice from a legal standpoint.

Once the previous administration got into office the timelyness of abortion reporting went down significantly. During the 2004 election some pro-life groups were still using Clinton era data to promote their candidate. The next year when the data started to come out abortions had stagnated for most groups and by 2006 the numbers were increasing again for young people (23-29). Thus we have a paradox in that we had a stated pro-life leaders who’s actions were causing more babies to be murdered while the previous leader was stated as pro-choice but his actions saved thousands of young lives each year… AND the Pro-Life movement itself grew and provided more and more information to young minds during that time as well.

When you take into account the amount of time the stated pro-life party has been in office since RvW vs the choice party things get even more complicated… twice as long actually with some of the largest increasing of abortion during their time in office.

So the abortion issue is probably the most complicated one… AND the most important one facing us today. It’s not simple enough though to just vote for someone because they SAY they are pro-life, many of those same people are pro-death penalty and do not fall in line the Church’s teachings on the poor, some are even supporting stem cell research now.

To me “gay marriage” isn’t an issue because since 2004 all the candidates for President have had the same stance and eventually the courts will decide anyway…

Remember that the US has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the civilized world, if not THE highest. So while many people state they are pro-life they also didn’t want to provide health care for young pregnant mothers who wanted their children…

The bottom lines is that NEITHER political party in the US is pro-life or pro-choice, you have to go candidate by candidate, what they are running for and what power they will have to effect change.

For instance, I see people in my state with little or no knowledge, or sense for some of them, get elected in certain areas because they are pro-life. What does that matter for a state senator in a small southern state? Nothing… they can’t effect change in regards to that, if they try it will be overruled by the Fed. So I want to know what they are going to do to help the people of the state, what plans do they have for job creation, are they for programs to help education and impoverished children? Things that to me should matter… maybe I’m strange that way though.

My 2 cents,



DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit