In an interview with Archbishop Chaput
by John Allen Jr. he gives the
best definition of proportionate reasons ever in regards to voting for
a pro-abortion politician (via Rich Leonardi).
[I]t means a reason we could
confidently explain to the Lord Jesus and
the victims of abortion when we meet them at the end of our lives, and
we will meet them. … That’s the only criterion.
Of course this is really only the only
criterion in all of our moral
as Deal Hudson see the new
Faithful Citizenship document as more of the same.
The document contains the same
conscience-trumps-principle loophole that has bedeviled Catholic moral
theology since Vatican II:
“In the end this is a decision to be made by each individual Catholic
guided by a conscience formed by Catholic moral teaching.”
Though I wouldn’t go that far.
I think a conscience formed by Catholic moral teaching to be
a fairly decent phrase and better address to the issue of the
conscience than seen in previous years when this document is produced.
The document in the introduction talks about a “properly
formed conscience” and contains a section on a well-formed conscience
that goes on to quote the Catechism.
Sure people can find loopholes, but
they do the same with Holy Scripture and somebody that just wants an
excuse to vote for a pro-abortion Culture of Death Eater and the
candidates that must not be named, they will find one.
In many ways this document is an
improvement on the same document issued in years past. Though
is is not without problems. For one it is way too long and
wordy and repeats itself over and over on the same topic. This document
does handle moral issues that are intrinsically evil much better and it
is also much clearer what they are compared to other issues.
The pro-life focus is quite evident throughout. It
was of course mentioned in previous years, but there was much more
confusion in regards to lesser moral issues. Last
time around they even mentioned supporting Affirmative Action which I
don’t see is consistent in Catholic teaching by correcting one evil by
using the same evil to racially discriminate against others.
The first section of the document is fairly decent, but it
demonstrates why documents written by committee are seldom very good.
The last third though made me think that someone I had
accidentally clicked onto a link and landed on a Democratic Party
talking points page. All problems seemed to have a government
solution (and Federal at that) and while subsidiarity is mentioned at
the front of the document it is noticeably missing in essence in the
rest of it. While many of the responses to these issues are prudential
ones they are consistently ones championed by Democrats except perhaps
on school choice.
The real question though is does the
document really matter? What was the last time to saw any
Bishop’s document at your parish and how likely will it be that many if
they saw this semi-large document would read through it in the first
place. The Bishop’s conference wrote some quite good
documents last year on subjects such as contraception, but does anybody
think this has had any impact on the life of the Church. I
get the feeling that the only people who are likely to read these
voting guides are people that likely don’t need them in the first place
or have already made up their mind anyway. It seems to me
that pundits and those already active within the church are much more
likely to read them (and comment on them) than Joe six-pack in the pews.
You can read the PDF version of this document on the Bishop’s site.
Deal Hudson has revised his opinion of the document here. He was nice enough to leave a comment on thius post crediting me for this.
If pastors aren’t using them as guides in the parish, they are dead letters.
Fr. Philip, OP
I’ve never had a pastor who used any of these letters as a guide. But the letters do tell of the current thinking of the bishops, which, in the long run tells us the type of seminaries we’ll have, which, in the long run tells us the types of priests we’ll have, which, in the long run, shapes the Church!
Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church in Seekonk, MA, provides parishioners and visitors with voting guides and urges people to read them. They also have a social justice group that meets regularly to study papal encyclicals in addition to promoting social and political actions that conform to Church teaching.
This group is one of the many fruits of their parish perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, I’m told. I believe it.
I have taken back some of my harsh comments about the bishops new document, “Forming Citizens for Political Participation.” Your remarks were helpful in pushing me to rethink my position. Thank you.
We get the two-page summary in the bulletin every four years. That said, we have a new, gutsy pastor, so perhaps we can expect more.
Thanks for your posts Jeff. Maybe one way to get Joe Six-pack to get the gist is to write a letter to the local paper, and sound-bite the message for him. One local newspaper had an awful headline announcing the document — time for a response…using your posts helps…
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