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.