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Post by Benedict John-Paul on Sun Jun 08, 2008 3:07 pm

Dear Group, OK well now the race is set and the nomoniees are chosen. Being this far out from the November race, I wish to espress some thoughts about my thought process concerning the course that our country is taking in regaurds to the political structures in both the executive and legeslative branches. I think it is no secret that (after eight years of the Bush administration) America is getting to the point where we are tired of the economy as well as the jobless rates. In addition we are getting to the point that we are tired of the war in Iraq and the high gas prices, In short, we are in this spiral of what seems like an endless maze of wanting things to change and having them stay either the same or getting worse. It seems like everyday we wake up wondering if things will get better. Personally, I wake up everyday thinking if my neice and two nephews will have a better life as they grow up into young adults. In terms of the war, I think that we should be actively seeking Bin Lauden, period end of paragraph. We shiould pull out of Iraq, and if they still need more "help" we should turn them over to the UN peace- keeping toups. We should use more of our troups in Afganistan and leave it at that. If there are any other threats to our country then we should deal with it as they come. If the oil rich nations do not lower their prices, we need to cut their funding and consentrate on natural sources. In fact, I think we need to take care of more domestic issues rather than reaching out globaly. This may sound cruel, and if it does then I am sorry, but let's fact it-our nation is broken and it needs fixing! Speaking of domestic issues, and this is where I may be unpopular, I think that these outward apperance issues need to be consentrated on more than the inward apperance. Now, up front I must state that like all Catholics I am pro life in every sence of the word. As a Catholic, I stand behind the teaching of paragraphs 2270-2296 in the Catechism. However, I canot in good conscience see something that is hurt. Our coutry is hurting. We are seeing gas prices sky rocket, we are seeing our troups copming and going to and from Iraq when they should be at home or Afganistan. Now, at some point when our nation takes more pride in these outward apperances it will then be the time for the iward apperances. Now, please do not get me wrong, I am not saying that I am placing the Abortion issue (or life issues in general) on the back burnner. I will still be in the forefront in my prayers and my thoughts, and I will also do my best in encouraging civil authorities in respecting life in all areas. We cannot stand back and let all the other areas of our nation go unaddressed while we do our best to make sure that the "life issues" are our primary responabilities.
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Post by Cindy on Sun Jun 08, 2008 9:33 pm

Benedict John-Paul wrote:We cannot stand back and let all the other areas of our nation go unaddressed while we do our best to make sure that the "life issues" are our primary responabilities.

The right to life is our primary responsibility. Pope John Paul II said, it is "the first right, on which all the others are based, and which cannot be recuperated once it is lost" (Evangelium Vitae).
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Post by Mary1973 on Sun Jun 08, 2008 10:03 pm

Benedict,

All issues branch out from respect for life.

You seem to be very disatisfied with the way the country is going. I think most people agree that the war in Iraq has been mis-managed. However, there were many reasons for going in there in the first place and I still think that was the right decision.

Technically, we are not in a recession. Things are a bit dicey now but we are nowhere near the bad conditions we have been in the past. I don't know how old you are but the 1970's were pretty awful. I know gas prices are high but at least we have gas. There is already talk that the gas price bubble will burst. The high prices are caused by speculators and the low value of the dollar. If we could drill for our own oil and build new refineries, we would have plenty of our own oil. Also, we need to use nuclear power.

Do you think that the government should be taking care of all of our needs or should people be self-reliant? I prefer to take care of myself. I think the government pretty much messes most everything it gets involved in.

I don't know where you get your news but remember that the mainstream media is biased. At least if you listen to conservative talk radio, you know that what you are hearing is biased and you can look for the opposite arguments and make up your mind yourself.

Finally, if you are leaning to supporting Sen. Obama, remember that he is against saving babies who survive abortion.
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Post by Cindy on Sun Jun 08, 2008 10:26 pm

An article by Father Paul Ward:

Upcoming Elections and Moral Obligations of Catholic Civil Responsibility

"I just wish to remind all present that to give political power to any person to commit abortion is matter of mortal sin. It is not an option for a Catholic. Take your consciences to the election poll, for you will be judged by God after your death for what you do in private: for punishment or for merit. But nothing, absolutely nothing, ever can or ever has or ever will justify the murder of a baby in his mother's womb. This isn't one issue, it is all the issues, for if a child is aborted, every other private or civil good is forfeit...

Fr. Paul Ward: Catholics May NOT Vote For Pro-Abortion Politicians
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Post by Benedict John-Paul on Mon Jun 09, 2008 12:49 am

OK I am currently undecided, but I am waving very heavily toward McCain. I all but threw my primary vote away because at the time I was leaning toward a Democrat. I checked out both McCain's website as well as Obama's, and as I have said earlier I believe that stand behind the teachings of the Church as written in 2270-2296. The thing we must remember is that this world of ours is not pefect. Now, I guess the thing that I get somewhat mad about is that it sounds as though it is the mission of Catholics to make it a perfect world.

Another thing also is that regardless of who our country chooses in any of the November races, we have the duty as well as the right to express our concerns on any topic. That also means, I believe, that we should try to eduacate the elected officials with whatever means we can. So many times I hear Christains say that we should stay away from this party or that party as if they had blinders on- they could only tell you what they agree with a person on. Has it ever occored to anyone that a candidate may be stro9ng in one area while weak in others?

One more thing. I think that the government can operate in helping those who need help (like the elderly and disabled) while allowing those who can help themselves do so.
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Post by Amber on Mon Jun 09, 2008 4:32 am

Forgive the sarcasm here, but what comes to mind is...

Stop the war! Reduce the price of gas! Save the animals! Kill the babies!

Makes me sick.

If you think it's bad now, just wait... If Obama is elected, more babies will continue to die... but, maybe we'll save a few bucks in gas!
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Post by Cindy on Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:46 am

Moral Duties Concerning Voting

We encourage all citizens, particularly Catholics, to embrace their citizenship not merely as a duty and privilege, but as an opportunity meaningfully to participate in building the culture of life. Every voice matters in the public forum. Every vote counts. Every act of responsible citizenship is an exercise of significant individual power. We must exercise that power in ways that defend human life, especially those of God's children who are unborn, disabled or otherwise vulnerable. We get the public officials we deserve. Their virtue -- or lack thereof -- is a judgment not only on them, but on us. Because of this we urge our fellow citizens to see beyond party politics, to analyze campaign rhetoric critically and to choose their political leaders according to principle, not party affiliation or mere self-interest. -- Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholics 34, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, November 1998

Our Duty to Vote

With the development of popular government comes the duty of citizens to participate in their own government for the sake of the common good. Not to do so is to abandon the political process to those who do not have the common good in mind. Given the nature of democracies this inevitably leads to unjust laws and an unjust society. These may come about anyway, but they should not come about through the negligence of Christians, who would then share in the guilt.

This duty is chiefly exercised by voting, through which citizens elect their representatives and even determine by referendum the laws which will govern them. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

2239 It is the duty of citizens to contribute along with the civil authorities to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom. The love and service of one's country follow from the duty of gratitude and belong to the order of charity. Submission to legitimate authorities and service of the common good require citizens to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community.

2240 Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one's country (Rom. 13:7):

Pay to all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due. [Christians] reside in their own nations, but as resident aliens. They participate in all things as citizens and endure all things as foreigners . . . They obey the established laws and their way of life surpasses the laws . . . So noble is the position to which God has assigned them that they are not allowed to desert it. (Ad Diognetum 5:5, 10)

The Apostle exhorts us to offer prayers and thanksgiving for kings and all who exercise authority, "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way." (1 Tim. 2:2)

In their November 1998 pastoral letter Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholics the Bishops of the United States speak of a false pluralism which undermines the moral convictions of Catholics and their obligation to be "leaven in society" through participation in the democratic process:

25. Today, Catholics risk cooperating in a false pluralism. Secular society will allow believers to have whatever moral convictions they please -- as long as they keep them on the private preserves of their consciences, in their homes and in their churches, and out of the public arena. Democracy is not a substitute for morality. Its value stands -- or falls -- with the values which it embodies and promotes. Only tireless promotion of the truth about the human person can infuse democracy with the right values. This is what Jesus meant when he asked us to be a leaven in society. American Catholics have long sought to assimilate into U.S. cultural life. But in assimilating, we have too often been digested. We have been changed by our culture too much, and we have changed it not enough. If we are leaven, we must bring to our culture the whole Gospel, which is a Gospel of life and joy. That is our vocation as believers. And there is no better place to start than promoting the beauty and sanctity of human life. Those who would claim to promote the cause of life through violence or the threat of violence contradict this Gospel at its core.

Who We May Not Vote For

The question arises naturally, therefore, if among a slate of candidates there are those for whom we may not vote, without sinning gravely. Catholic moral theology recognizes, in the writings of approved authors who faithfully represent the theological tradition of the Church, sound guides for forming a Catholic conscience. Two such authors are Fathers Heribert Jone, OFM Cap. and Henry Davis, SJ. Speaking of the duty to vote and when it could be sinful not to, Fr. Jone writes:

205. Voting is a civic duty which would seem to bind at least under venial sin whenever a good candidate has an unworthy opponent. It might even be a mortal sin if one's refusal to vote would result in the election of an unworthy candidate. (Moral Theology, Dublin: Mercier Press, 1929, 1955)

Similarly, Fr. Davis writes:

It is the duty of all citizens who have the right to vote, to exercise that right when the common good of the State or the good of religion and morals require their votes, and when their voting is useful. It is sinful to vote for the enemies of religion or liberty . . . (Moral and Pastoral Theology, vol. 2, Chapter V, 4th Commandment, p. 90, New York: Sheed and Ward, 1935, 1959)

Who, then, are the enemies of religion or liberty for whom it would be sinful to vote? Reasonably, it would be those who attack the most basic rights in a society, since all rights depend on those which are logically or actually prior. Among the enumerated inalienable rights recognized by the Declaration of Independence is the right to life. The right to life is both logically and actually prior to all other rights since liberty is meaningless to those who been unjustly killed. The protection of innocent human life is thus the first obligation of society. This is why protection against foreign enemies is the first duty of the federal government and protection against domestic enemies (criminals) is the first obligation of local government.

They are also enemies of religion and liberty who attack the most basic cell of society, marriage and family. A society that doesn't foster the life-long commitment of a man and a woman to each other and their children is self-destructing. Granting that we have already reaped the fruit of easy divorce laws, the most pernicious attacks against the family today are by those who favor homosexual unions and the granting of marital status to homosexual unions. It is also undermined by an unjust tax system which penalizes marriage in favor of fornication.

What then of other important issues, such as social policy? If a party or a candidate has a better vision from the perspective of Catholic teaching, is it not possible to overlook his views on life and marriage? First of all, most political policies represent a multitude of choices, budgetary, practical, and as well as principled. The two major parties approach these issues differently, but it would be wrong to infer that one or the other is THE Catholic position. However, when a policy touches a principle itself, as it does in the abortion and homosexual debates, then a clear moral choice exists, devoid of the policy debate of how we accomplish the common good in a particular case. The common good can never involve killing the unborn or the approval of homosexuality. These issues touch directly on the most basic goods of all (life and family) - and thus are of unique and paramount importance. It is not possible, therefore, to claim an equal weight between a candidate's position on these principles and policy positions on how to achieve certain good ends. Sadly, many have inverted the priority of principle over means. The Holy Father, speaking of the inversion of priorities with respect to life, has stated:

All this is causing a profound change in the way in which life and relationships between people are considered. The fact that legislation in many countries, perhaps even departing from basic principles of their Constitutions, has determined not to punish these practices against life, and even to make them altogether legal, is both a disturbing symptom and a significant cause of grave moral decline. Choices once unanimously considered criminal and rejected by the common moral sense are gradually becoming socially acceptable. . . . The end result of this is tragic: not only is the fact of the destruction of so many human lives still to be born or in their final stage extremely grave and disturbing, but no less grave and disturbing is the fact that conscience itself, darkened as it were by such widespread conditioning, is finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish between good and evil in what concerns the basic value of human life. (Gospel of Life 3)

To claim the right to abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute to human freedom a perverse and evil significance: that of an absolute power over others and against others. This is the death of true freedom: "Truly, truly, I saw to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin" (John 8:34). (Gospel of Life 20)

Those who are anti-life and anti-family manifest this darkening of conscience, a darkening which makes their other political decisions inherently untrustworthy. No Catholic can reasonably say "this candidate is anti-life and anti-family, but his social policies are in keeping with Catholic principles." Catholics should look carefully to discover what in his policy views manifests the same will to power over others manifested by his anti-life principles. More than one tyrant in history has used panem et circenses (bread and circuses) to mollify the masses. The mere appearance of social justice is not the same as social justice, which can only occur when everything in society is properly ordered, beginning with the most basic realities -- life and the family.

Who We Must Vote For

As noted by Fathers Jone and Davis, a Catholic can have an obligation to vote so as to prevent an unworthy candidate, an enemy of religion, liberty and morals, from coming into office.

205. Voting is a civic duty which would seem to bind at least under venial sin whenever a good candidate has an unworthy opponent. It might even be a mortal sin if one's refusal to vote would result in the election of an unworthy candidate. (Jone, Moral Theology, Dublin: Mercier Press, 1929, 1955)

Davis states it differently, but with the same implications, one may even vote for an enemy of religion or liberty in order to exclude an even greater enemy of religion, liberty and morals. Indeed, one can be obliged to in certain circumstances.

It is sinful to vote for the enemies of religion or liberty, except to exclude a worse candidate, or unless compelled by fear of great personal harm, relatively greater than the public harm at stake. (Davis, Moral and Pastoral Theology, vol. 2, p. 90)

Thus, both authors are suggesting the strong obligation (even unto the pain of mortal sin) to vote so as to exclude the electing of the candidate who would injure religion, liberty and morals the most. For such a purpose one may vote even for someone who is an enemy of religion and liberty, as long as he is less of an enemy than the candidate one is voting to preclude being elected.

-- Colin B. Donovan, STL

Colin Donovan is Vice President for Theology at EWTN. A layman, he has the Licentiate in Sacred Theology, with a specialization in moral theology, from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome, where he wrote on the Donation of the Spouses in Marriage. He earned the BTh from the Seminary of Christ the King in Mission, BC, Canada and the BA in Biological Science from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. Prior to coming to EWTN in 1995, he taught Theology at Aquinas College in Nashville.
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Post by Cindy on Mon Jun 09, 2008 9:25 am

Amber wrote:

Makes me sick.


It makes me sick, too, Amber; sick at heart. I will never understand how Catholics can even think of voting for candidates who advocate for abortion and homosexual "marriage." It truly must be, as Pope John Paul II said, a darkening of the conscience.

Lord have mercy on us.
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Post by Benedict John-Paul on Mon Jun 09, 2008 2:09 pm

Hi all,

OK I have made my choice--I am voting for McCain. However, one thing I am intrested to know is two fold (and please try to make it simple so I can understand!)

1. Does the Church tell us who to vote for, or how to vote (in otherwords, what party to vote for?)

2. I have heard before, and am not clear on this, that voting the wrong way could become a mortal sin and therefore needs to be confessed. Yes or no?
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Post by Cindy on Mon Jun 09, 2008 9:49 pm

Benedict John-Paul wrote:

1. Does the Church tell us who to vote for, or how to vote (in otherwords, what party to vote for?)

2. I have heard before, and am not clear on this, that voting the wrong way could become a mortal sin and therefore needs to be confessed. Yes or no?
1. Does the Church tell us who to vote for, or how to vote (in otherwords, what party to vote for?)

No, the Church doesn't tell us which candidate or party to vote for. The Church gives us fundamental moral principles that guide us in making good, moral decisions. For example, we know that the right to life is "the first right, on which all the others are based." We also know that abortion is intrinsically evil and gravely sinful. Therefore, if we have a choice between a pro-life candidate and a pro-abortion candidate, we must choose the candidate who is pro-life.

2. I have heard before, and am not clear on this, that voting the wrong way could become a mortal sin and therefore needs to be confessed. Yes or no?

I'll refer again to the last question and answer in Father Torraco's Brief Catechism for Catholic Voters. Except in the case where all of the candidates are pro-abortion and one strives to limit evil by voting for the candidate who will do the least amount of harm, to knowingly vote for a pro-abortion candidate is to become an accomplice in the moral evil of abortion. If one does so knowingly and freely -- one knows the Church's teaching on abortion yet freely chooses to vote for a pro-abortion candidate anyway -- that person most assuredly should repent and go to Confession. Such a person may very well be in mortal sin.

15. Is it a mortal sin to vote for a pro-abortion candidate?

Except in the case in which a voter is faced with all pro-abortion candidates (in which case, as explained in question 9 above, he or she strives to determine which of them would cause the least damage in this regard), a candidate that is pro-abortion disqualifies himself from receiving a Catholic's vote. This is because being pro-abortion cannot simply be placed alongside the candidate's other positions on Medicare and unemployment, for example; and this is because abortion is intrinsically evil and cannot be morally justified for any reason or set of circumstances. To vote for such a candidate simply with the knowledge that the candidate is pro-abortion is to become an accomplice in the moral evil of abortion. If the voter knowingly and freely assents to his or her status as such an accomplice, then the voter sins mortally.

-- Father Stephen F. Torraco, Ph.D., A Brief Catechism For Catholic Voters
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Post by Mary1973 on Fri Jun 13, 2008 1:37 am

Indeed, the church cannot tell us for whom to vote. It would lose its tax exempt status. Fr. Frank Pavone explains exactly what priests can and cannot say regarding abortion. You should check www.priestsforlife.org.

Think about this: if the government is so good at taking care of those who need assistance, how come we still have so many charities who actually do a better job?
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