Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

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Monday, July 11, 2016

How does a Catholic make up his mind this election?

Here are some points to consider:

Editor’s note: The following is in part a response to “Should a Catholic Vote in This Election” by Mattias Caro:

There is no unique situation provided by this election cycle.  Voting one’s conscience is essential in every election cycle.  The intrinsically evil acts of abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, as well as the duty to safeguard the biblical definition of marriage, have all be relevant for several decades.  There have been no authentically Catholic presidential candidates since the abortion issue arose with Roe v. Wade in 1973.  In my lifetime, there has been no evidence that case law on abortion will be overturned in the foreseeable future.  Much time and money has been wasted on chasing the phantasm of a “pro-life president.”

Intrinsically evil acts are the crux of Catholic voters’ decision-making.  Indeed, opposing policies that support intrinsic evils is paramount.  We have a moral duty as Christians do avoid and oppose evil, along with pursuing as much good as we can.  It is also acceptable for a Catholic to vote for an imperfect candidate, whose policies are not totally in conformity with Catholic teaching, if such a vote opposes and/or avoids evil.  Incrementally doing the right thing, moving in the right direction, is not morally objectionable.  The possibility of candidates abusing the “Catholic vote” is real.  Catholic voters have the moral law as their guide. 

The decay of prudence and judgment on all issues is impacted by the grave evils destroying human life.  The increasingly eroded moral fabric of our society is the very reason that we are obliged to oppose evil in every form.  Abortion does corrode our public life and discourse.  I, personally, have witnessed a lack of respect for everything once held sacred.  At a July Fourth event this year, I picked up at least a dozen American flags which teenagers had taken from the volunteers, ripped off their sticks and trampled on the ground.  Motorists no longer stop for emergency vehicles nor yield to funerals.  Thugs ambush first responders in the “war on cops.”  Cowards bomb night clubs.  Manners have been all but excised from the training of young people.  Because human life is deemed disposable, so is everything else.  This is the situation we face: we are surrounded by evils which must be opposed.

To assert that there is no significant difference between the presumptive nominees for president in this election is a stretch of Herculean character.  Therefore, if the new challenge does not exist, neither does the uniqueness.  Ms. Clinton’s record is widely known, easily verifiable, and presents a present danger to society. 

A few issues into which one could delve deeper through personal research in order to have a clearer picture of Ms. Clinton’s political record and character include:



Missing Rose Law firm billing records

Castle Grande

Vince Foster (missing office records and briefcase)

John Huang

Webster Hubbell


Dan Lasater

Lippo Group

Craig Livingstone

James and Susan McDougal

Madison Guaranty

Mochtar and James Riady

David Hale

Jim Guy Tucker


Cattle futures insider trading

Sandy Berger (theft at National Archives)

Johnny Chung


Ng Lapseng


Selling of nights in Lincoln bedroom

Ron Brown and trade missions

Mr. Trump does not have a political record.  He has never been a politician, nor has he in any public setting had the opportunity to demonstrate his policies on a host of issues.  This is a real concern: we do not really know who he is. 

On the issue of life, all we do know is that he says he is pro-life at this point on his life.  Allowing for the working of grace and the possibility of conversion, we can only take him at his word.  We have no significant reason to doubt him.  Presuming that President Reagan would not support Trump, in other words claiming the support of a deceased man of greatness for one’s own agenda, is undignified.  To eliminate him as a candidate worthy of the Catholic vote because he is “mean” and has a hyperbolically aggressive stance on immigration is quite short-sighted. 

We know far less about Mr. Trump than his competition.  His use of the bankruptcy statutes to get three of his companies is questionable but technically legal.  His crass attitude and arrogance are a genuine concern.  Does he possess the character of a man we want as president?  Do reservations about character “trump” the duty to oppose evil?

We do know for sure that he has worked tirelessly to build a wildly successful business empire, which employs thousands, contributes to the global economy and is a legacy his children will inherit.  He also raised his children to be responsible citizens.  For example, none of them is known to use drugs, alcohol, or tobacco.

Mr. Trump is confused about Planned Parenthood.  So are most people today.  He has in the past, before he came close to being elected to the nation’s highest office, uttered some truly offensive and sinful comments.  We do not know exactly what he will propose as president.  He is a mortal man, imperfect and unpredictable.  So is every human person who ever ran for an elected office.  I, for one, hope and pray for his conversion.  Our county needs a noble leader.  Only God, by the power of the Spirit, form a man into a statesman. 

As far as I know, Mr. Trump has not advocated any positions which would support an intrinsic evil.  This makes him markedly different from Ms. Clinton, whose unabashed and militant promotion of abortion perpetuates the culture of death.  Mr. Trump is not only less likely to advance intrinsic evil but more interested in promoting the goods of national security, economic stability, job growth and stronger international relationships. 

Catholics have the option not to vote.  Absolutely.  One has to have a compelling reason to take the extraordinary step of not exercising one’s civic duty.  It is good for people of faith to be engaged in the world.  While from a moral point of view, abstaining from voting is not voting for Clinton, from a practical standpoint abstaining means ceding ground by not deliberately opposing evil with the power of the vote. 

Abstaining from voting is an act that has no measurable value or positive consequence.  The “political class” does not give a gnawer’s posterior about the moral choices of Christians, nor about the political independence of the Church.  The political class finds the Church to be an annoying splinter in the toe, not an indicator of the direction they should take.  The Catholic vote was so divided in the last election as to be unworthy of consideration.  When 52% of Catholics vote for a pro-abortion statist and socialist, there is no longer anything special about Catholics as a voting bloc. 

If, in obedience to God, a Catholic chooses to make a particular choice not to cast any votes, he or she would need to demonstrate that God so instructs.  So far, I have not seen anyone attempt to satisfy this requirement. 

I have not made up my mind.  I cannot tell anyone how to exercise their civic duty.  A well-informed conscience is to be obeyed.  The USCCB’s “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” offers valuable help.  However, as a fellow citizen, I can caution all people of good will to be open to the facts and seriously attentive to the evils threatening us. 

1 comment:

GlennK said...

This presidential election is truly a major concern for me. I personally do not like Mr. Trump's crassness and propensity to fire back insults rather than engage in debate. I definitely did not support him during the primary voting.

Even with those concerns, I cannot rule out casting my ballot for him this November. And the main reason is the one you listed in your article. The militaristic support of abortion displayed by Ms. Clinton throughout her public life. Because of this, she would never receive my vote. When reviewing a candidate's position, I consider support for abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and cloning to be "circuit breakers". Meaning that any candidate that supports these issues fully will never receive my vote.

Which brings me to this year's election. I would seriously consider not voting for either of the two main candidates were it not for the issue of the Supreme Court. As has been displayed of late, the Supreme Court has become extremely political, and unfortunately has been leaning left. We need to elect a president that will only nominate those judges who support our U.S. Constitution and our religious freedoms and dare I say be anti-abortion. If any of the other candidates who do not fail my circuit breaker tests had a chance at winning the election, I would support them rather than Mr. Trump. But with our "two party" system, a vote NOT for Mr. Trump is a vote for Ms. Clinton.

I pray for our country to continue to be the God fearing country of old, and I especially pray for our citizens to cast an informed vote this year.