Burning Question: "If no candidate is 100% by Catholic moral teaching, is it OK to just not vote?"
By Paul Dion, STL
Faithful Catholic, Faithful Citizen.
The other day the Publisher and the Theology Editor of ParishWorld.net noth attended the joint vicariate meeting of the San Bernardino Diocese. It turns out that this is an annual event when at least one priest and the staff of every parish come together at the Diocesan Pastoral Center and have a day of conviviality, informational get together, constant light snack buffet and two
solid conferences/presentations as food for thought.
This year Bishop Gerald Barnes decided to make the fourth Episcopal Letter to voters the center piece of the event. To make the event all the more attractive, he invited Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington D.C. to discuss the election year document from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
ParishWorld.net has another section dedicated to the Cardinal's presentation of the contents of the document. But this is the Burning Question Section and we intend to challenge you with a tough one this time.
Voting is not easy. It is a difficult task because it calls our conscience out and demands that it make a correct decision. If there is an activity that requires Catholics to put their moral behavior thinking caps on, it is voting. There are just so many moral variables to consider.
We ask ourselves so many questions about the candidates. Is this person pro-abortion? Is this one pro-war? What's her position on taxes? What's his position on torture? Is this guy going to really provide good, affordable health-care to everyone? What's this we hear about her wanting to privatize Social Security?, etc., etc.
You know as well as I do that the questions go on and on. What do we do? Do we zero-in on abortion? Embryonic Stem-cell Research? War? Negotiating prescription drug prices? Medicinal marijuana?
The fact of the matter is that there is never a perfect Catholic candidate in the race. We have found in the past that making the candidate's stance on abortion the center-piece of our voting decision can have some disastrous results. So, the temptation is to wring our hands, make a short visit to the Blessed Sacrament at the church down the street, return home, sit back, have a beer and watch the results on TV, without stopping by the polling booth vote at all.
Is that the moral thing to do? So because there is no one who is pro-life in the running, do you stay home? Since no one is willing to stop the war, do you stay home?
ParishWorld.net asks, "Is it appropriate Catholic behavior to refrain from voting because no one candidate conforms to the serious part or some serious parts of the moral code?"
This is not an easy question. Let's try to enlighten one another. There is an answer. Hints of it can be found in the other article about the formation of consciences for faithful citizenship.
We will provide quasi immdiate feedback to your contributions and a fuller answer to the question as we go forward.
Post your thoughts here.