Letter to the Editor: Catholics’ moral obligations in voting

Linda MacMonagle, J.D., Contributing Writer

For Catholics, responsible citizenship, which includes voting, is very important. However, certain critical issues have not been addressed or explained adequately to Catholic voters in this election cycle.
Although many Catholics are not single issue voters, please be advised that a political candidate’s position on a single issue may disqualify that candidate from receiving a vote from a faithful Catholic. A “disqualifying issue” pertains to actions of intrinsic moral evil, which are defined as actions which can never at any time or under any circumstances be promoted, committed, or enabled by a faithful Catholic. A disqualifying issue is of such gravity and importance that it is non-negotiable and renders a candidate unacceptable for public office.
For example, a candidate who supports abortion or any other intrinsic moral evil (such as euthanasia) disqualifies herself or himself as a person a Catholic can vote for at the national, state, or local level. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ position paper states that the Catholic must always oppose policies that violate human life or weaken its protection. Human life is sacred, and direct attacks on innocent life are never morally acceptable. Therefore, intrinsic evils such as abortion and euthanasia must be vigorously opposed. A political candidate who supports these policies disqualifies her/himself as a person a Catholic may vote for.
Neither of the presidential candidates is perfectly aligned with Catholic teaching on every issue. What if neither of the presidential candidates is completely pro-life? Then Catholics must make an attempt to limit the evil aspects of abortion, by determining which candidate would cause the less damage. It follows from Saint John Paul II’s encyclical “Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life)” that if neither candidate is completely pro-life, then a voter should cast his ballot for the candidate who will most likely limit the evils of abortion.