Thursday, October 2, 2008

When voting is cooperation in a moral evil

To vote for a pro-abortion candidate for elected office is prohibited for Catholic Christians by the law of God because it is a cooperation in a moral evil.

This is so when a vote cast for one candidate is a rejection of the pro-life alternative in a particular election.

God is the highest lawgiver, therefore God’s law is the highest law. God has decreed in the Ten Commandments, “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” Procured abortion, the direct intention to take the most innocent of human lives, that of the child in the womb, is a violation of this law of God, because it is intentional murder.

But the truth about the dignity of human life is not a purely “religious” issue. Although we know through divine Revelation that God prohibits murder, the truth about the defense of every human life is accessible to every human person through the use of reason alone.

A candidate for elected office does not get “off the hook” by saying: “I am personally opposed to abortion, but cannot impose my opinions upon others.” This is so for the reason that the dignity of human life is not based upon anyone’s opinion but upon a fact that is accessible to every reasoning human being: If any human life is good, then all human lives are good and worth defending, from the moment of conception.

In this campaign 2008, religion is being used as a scapegoat on the part of cowards to avoid taking personal responsibility for their decisions. To take cover under the mantle of religious faith by arguing for a diversity of views under the umbrella
of separation of Church and state is either ignorance or disingenuousness.

Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap., of Denver is taking great steps to eradicate ignorance and uncover disingenuousness with the publication of his best-selling tome, Render Unto Caesar (available at, or check with your local bookseller). One of the first places to which Archbishop Chaput points his readers in their quest for a good guide to Catholic citizenship is the 1998 pastoral statement by the U.S. bishops, Living the Gospel of Life. The archbishop calls this document “the best tool anywhere for understanding the American Catholic political vocation.” He commends it for its “clarity, coherence, and force.”

For readers who wish to read the letter, it can be found at Perhaps quoting part of the document here will help to spark interest in a study of the document as a whole.

“6) In a special way, we call on U.S. Catholics, especially those in positions of leadership — whether cultural, economic, or political — to recover their identity as followers of Jesus Christ and to be leaders in the renewal of American respect for the sanctity of life. ‘Citizenship’ in the work of the Gospel is also a sure guarantee of responsible citizenship in American civic affairs. Every
Catholic, without exception, should remember that he or she is called by our Lord to proclaim. His message. Some proclaim it by word, some by action and all by example.

“But every believer shares responsibility for the Gospel. Every Catholic is a missionary of the Good News of human dignity redeemed through the cross. While our personal vocation may determine the form and style of our witness, Jesus calls each
of us to be a leaven in society, and we will be judged by our actions. No one, least of all someone who exercises leadership in society, can rightfully claim to share fully and practically the Catholic faith and yet act publicly in a way contrary
to that faith.

“7) Our attitude toward the sanctity of life in these closing years of the ‘American century’ will say volumes about our true character as a nation. It will also shape the discourse about the sanctity of human life in the next century, because what
happens here, in our nation, will have global consequences. It is primarily U.S. technology, U.S. microchips, U.S. fiber-optics, U.S. satellites, U.S. habits of thought and entertainment, which are building the neural network of the new global mentality.

“What America has indelibly imprinted on the emerging global culture is its spirit. And the ambiguity of that spirit is why the Pope appealed so passionately to the American people in 1995. ‘It is vital for the human family,’ he said, ‘that in continuing to seek advancement in many different fields — science, business, education, and art, and wherever else your creativity leads you — America keeps compassion, generosity, and concern for others at the very heart of its efforts.’ That will be no easy task.”

The task begins this fall with every vote cast for human life in all its stages and conditions, from conception until natural death.

(Father Cusick's weekly column appears in The Wanderer Catholic newspaper.)

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