Sunday, October 31, 2004

Bishop Paul S. Loverde - Diocese of Arlington

. . . To be a faithful Catholic necessarily means that one is pro-life and not pro-choice. As my brother bishops and I said in our statement "Catholics in Political Life" this past June, "Failing to protect the lives of the innocent and defenseless members of the human race is to sin against justice." To be pro-choice essentially means supporting the right of a woman to terminate the life of her baby, either pre-born or partially born. No Catholic can claim to be a faithful member of the Church while advocating for, or actively supporting, direct attacks on innocent human life. In reality, protecting human life from conception to natural death is more than a Catholic issue. It is an issue of fundamental morality, rooted in both the natural law and the divine law. . . .

. . . In our common life together in society, it is sometimes not possible to avoid entirely all cooperation with evil. This may be the case in electing to office our state and national leaders. In certain circumstances, it is morally permissible to vote for a candidate who supports some immoral practices while opposing other immoral practices. This is called material cooperation with evil. In order for material cooperation to be morally permissible, however, there must be a proportionate reason for such cooperation. Proportionate reason does not mean that each issue carries the same moral weight; intrinsically evil acts such as abortion or research on stem cells taken from human embryos cannot be placed on the same level as debates over war or capital punishment, for example. It is simply not possible to serve and promote the common good of our nation by voting for a candidate who, once in office, will do nothing to limit or restrict the deliberate destruction of innocent human life.

If, however, a candidate supports abortion in a limited number of cases but opposes it otherwise, a Catholic may vote for such a candidate over another, more unsuitable candidate who is unwilling to place any restrictions on abortion. In this case, the voter makes an effort to limit the circumstances in which procured abortion would be deemed legal. This is not a question of choosing a lesser evil, but rather the Catholic, by his or her vote, expresses the intention to limit all the evil that one is able to limit at the time.

"Pre-Election Letter to the People of Arlington" by the Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde, Bishop of Arlington.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Bishop Michael Saltarelli - Diocese of Wilmington

Wilmington, Delaware, October 19, 2004. The bishop of Wilmington Del. has asked Catholics to pray to St. Thomas More for the conversion of pro-abortion "Catholic" politicians. Bishop Michael Saltarelli has composed a litany to St. Thomas More for his intercession to make politicians "courageous and effective in their defense and promotion of the sanctity of human life."

Thomas More, a layman and lawyer, was the Chancellor of England to King Henry VIII. When he refused to ratify the king's divorce from Catherine of Aragon and the king's establishment as head of a new religion, More was beheaded. He was canonized by the Catholic Church for his defense of his faith and in 2000 was declared patron of statesmen and politicians by Pope John Paul II.

The practice of asking for the saints' intercession with God is central to Catholic spiritual practice. "Our hope is to lead our people back to prayer and to the basic tenets of this great nation 'In God We Trust,' 'One Nation Under God,' 'God who is the author of all life,'" Bishop Saltarelli said in the diocesan newspaper. "We will storm heaven with our prayers..."

The prayer has been distributed to parishes and schools in the Wilmington diocese. The bishop has met with dissenting Catholic politicians and asked them not to present themselves for communion in Catholic churches. "Thomas More knew the consequences of his choice. He knew the world would view him as politically incorrect," he said.

Source: Catholic Bishop Prays to Martyred Politician for Kerry Conversion Oct. 19, 2004.

Litany of St. Thomas More, Martyr and Patron Saint of Statesmen, Politicians and Lawyers (PDF file).

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Cardinal Francis George - Diocese of Chicago

. . . that abortion is intrinsically immoral is clear to many and is clearly taught to all Catholics. Some Catholics would argue, however, that not everything immoral need be illegal and that abortion, while always immoral, is so fundamentally ensconced in our American way of life that any attempt to outlaw it now would destroy social peace. It must therefore be tolerated precisely for the common good.

That argument makes its point, however, only if the one making it is working actively to change attitudes toward abortion with a view of eventually coming to protect in law every unborn child. Because it is hard to see how one can make the argument in good conscience while proclaiming abortion a "right" and vowing to protect it all costs, many Catholics have lost patience with politicians who claim to share their faith while piling up a completely "pro-choice" voting record. The U.S. Bishops last June, bringing once again the question of conscience to participation in political life, said that voting to protect legal abortion is a form of cooperating in the evil of abortion itself.

Do all Catholic politicians understand their obligations in conscience? Apparently not, which means that their pastors have to take the time to speak with them personally. A pastoral conversation about the formation of conscience is not an interference in the political process. It is an exercise in pastoral charity, motivated by a desire for a politician's salvation. The politician will someday be asked by the Lord: "What did you do to the least of my brothers and sisters?" And the pastor will be asked by the same Lord: "What did you do to warn them? How did you help them form their conscience?" Like Lazarus, the poor man ignored by the rich man until it was too late for the rich man to be saved (Luke 16: 19-31), those killed in their mother's womb will be at the gates of paradise but unable to come to the assistance of those condemned to hell because they killed unborn children or supported their being killed. . . .

"Catholic participation in political life, revisited" Catholic New World Oct. 10, 2004.