There are a lot of things I could say in trying to make the case that a Roman Catholic can, in good conscience, vote for Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States.
I could do as many have, and point out that Church Doctrine maintains that a Catholic is not forbidden from voting for a pro-choice candidate, as long as they’re not doing it for that reason specifically.
I could remind you, as Fr. Paul Surlis did in a letter to the editors of the Torch last week, that there’s more to being “pro-life” than just being anti-abortion; that both George W. Bush and John McCain have shown a lack of consistency on that front by supporting an unnecessary preemptive attack on Iraq that’s already cost thousands of innocent lives (a decision that was publicly rebuked by Pope John Paul II) and by supporting the death penalty, even working to prevent appeals for death row inmates.
I could bring up a point made by Torch Editor-in-Chief Gregory Leporati in his column several weeks ago warning against single issue voting: that it’s quite possible that Barack Obama’s policies will do more to lower the abortion rate in this country than John McCain could.
And I could talk about the Catholic social teachings that we’re all called to follow, the ones that were a primary reason for Catholics being almost exclusively associated with the Democratic party up until the 1970’s and the ones that are far more in line with Barack Obama’s platform than John McCain’s.
All are valid points, and you can look them all up online, on Web sites like romancatholicsforobama.com.
You can also find a whole lot of people ready to argue the other side just as vehemently, and there’s probably not a whole lot that I can add to an issue that’s been beaten to death for the past three months.
But here’s one thing that I’d like you to consider: The issue of abortion is without a doubt one of the most important ones to consider as a Catholic voter. But if our national economy fails, if our few remaining true foreign allies turn against us, and if we allow millions of Americans to go on living without decent health insurance, that issue will pale in significance compared to the problems that will face our nation. Under McCain, these are very real possibilities.
A 106-year-old American nun living in Rome was recently interviewed by several major US networks about the upcoming election. As one of the oldest voters anywhere to be participating in the election, and a representative of the Roman Catholic Church, she made headlines by announcing that she would be casting her vote for Obama.
Sister Cecilia’s reason for choosing the Democrat? She believes that the United States needs a strong, honest leader with a real plan to bring peace to Iraq.
Barack Obama may or may not be that man for you. But whether he is or not, Sister Cecilia sets a good example for American Catholic voters.
She’s voting for the person she believes in her heart to be the best candidate, and not by relying on a single issue to make that determination for her.