Saturday, November 1, 2008

Elections, Abortion, Voting, Conscience, and Other Troublesome Topics

Abortion is not the only important issue in politics, but it is an important issue.

And, it's an issue that can't be compromised. Not by a practicing Catholic American.

Isn't Compromise a Good Thing?

Sometimes. Like when one politico gives up funding for armadillo research, to get another politico to vote for road repair.

The Catholic Church is a global organization, and has spanned about two millennia, so far. Since customs and cultures aren't all the same, there's room for flexibility: when it's possible.
" 'In the liturgy, above all that of the sacraments, there is an immutable part, a part that is divinely instituted and of which the Church is the guardian, and parts that can be changed, which the Church has the power and on occasion also the duty to adapt to the cultures of recently evangelized peoples.' "
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1205)
The Catholic Church isn't the only place where some issues are non-negotiable.

Try this statement on for size:

'Although personally opposed to slavery, I do not believe I have the right to interfere in a personal decision between a slave owner and his supplier.'

Even assuming that some political party was trying to revive the institution of slavery in America, can you seriously imagine a candidate who said that getting elected?

Or not spending the next several years in the court system, defending against charges of hate speech, and probably worse?

For the record: I think slavery is a really bad idea. That crackpot statement does not reflect my views.

I'm a practicing Catholic, and an American citizen. That means that there are some things that I have to do, and some that I can't. Ignoring politics and elections is one thing that's on the 'no-no' list.

Where Does it Say I Have to Vote?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is pretty clear on that point:
"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...."
(Catechism, 2240)

If Abortion is Legal, Doesn't That Make it Okay?

Slavery was legal for a few centuries in this country. That didn't make it okay.

Catholics have to submit to secular authorities: but not when it means violating God's law. And yes, deciding when to refuse obedience to civil authorities can be a tough call.

I'd never say that being Catholic is easy.
"The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel. Refusing obedience to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in the distinction between serving God and serving the political community. 'Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.' 'We must obey God rather than men'...."
(Catechism, 2242)
One way I think about it is: which would I rather be in trouble with? The American Supreme Court, or the Lord of Hosts? Considering God's position, it's a no-brainer for me.

About Slavery and the Church

Since I brought up slavery in that "although personally opposed" line, I'd better mention Church's stand on slavery. It's in the Catechism. We're against it.
"The seventh commandment forbids acts or enterprises that for any reason—selfish or ideological, commercial, or totalitarian—lead to the enslavement of human beings, to their being bought, sold and exchanged like merchandise, in disregard for their personal dignity....."
(Catechism, 2414)

'My Vote Doesn't Count? Think Again

There's a remote chance that your ballot will be thrown out. But assuming that something doesn't go wrong, your vote does count. Very much.
  • Election results depend on voters
  • Opinion polls aren't counted: votes are
  • If you don't vote, it could make a difference
    • The 2000 presidential election was determined by
      • 537 people
      • In one state
I pulled those points out of a video posted on YouTube yesterday, by Fr. Frank Pavone, of Priests for Life. He has quite a bit more to say:

"Fr. Frank's Advice Before Election Day"

YouTube (October 31, 2008)
video (5:38)

Priests for Life: More, about

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.