A Catholic Pastor Addresses Voting for Romney

By my Pastor, Father Leonard Klein  (images added) - 

Some serious Catholics have raised the question whether it would be formal cooperation with evil to vote for Mitt Romney because of his pro-choice record in Massachusetts, his recent conversion to the pro-life cause, and his uneven support of the cause.  In particular some have worried about his readiness to grant exceptions including the very dangerous exception for the health of the mother, since this in the past proved to be a gaping hole in any effort to restrict abortion.

I believe that this concern is misplaced and could lead to cooperation in a far more serious evil, the re-election of an aggressively pro-abortion president.

It is first necessary to understand what formal cooperation with evil is.  To cooperate formally with evil is to intend the evil of another and to cooperate in bringing it about.  This is manifestly not the case in voting for a candidate who is more likely to take actions that will restrict abortions, even if the person once in office does less than one would hope or otherwise disappoints. 

Plainly, Catholics who vote for Governor Romney because they think he will do better on life issues than President Obama do not intend to cooperate with any shortcomings in his positions or in any failures of leadership that might occur, should he win.  They intend to advance the cause of life by exercising the best option that presents itself now.

In addition it is necessary to keep in mind the role of the virtue of prudence in this instance.  Prudence governs and directs the other virtues.   Prudence also requires the best possible knowledge of the facts.  In this case the facts are pretty clear.  One candidate has a radically pro-abortion record.  The other has repudiated past errors and has adopted a better, though less than ideal, position.  Prudence would surely suggest that one best exercises another cardinal virtue, justice, by voting for the candidate most likely to advance the pro-life cause.  We owe the unborn every chance at life we can give them.  Not to vote for the candidate more likely to advance the cause of life would be a vote against justice for the unborn.

Even Governor Romney’s recent statement that he has no pro-life legislation planned does not change this situation.  Since Roe v. Wade still stands, there are severe limits on what legislation can fruitfully be proposed.  He is also involved a fierce political campaign and needs to corral as many votes as he can in order to win.  While we might wish he spoke pro-life language better and more loudly, we need to be sophisticated enough to recognize that politicians need to tread lightly in addressing volatile issues, lest their opponents find advantage.

In spite of some weaknesses there are many areas in which we can assume with a high degree of certainty that Governor Romney as president would use his authority in the service of life.  The reinstatement of the Mexico City policy can be assumed.  The promotion of abortion internationally by departments, agencies, and the U.N. will be checked.  The HHS mandate will be reversed.  Executive orders in support of embryonic stem cell research will probably end.  In short, untold thousands of lives are likely to be saved in a Romney administration.  Your vote will matter absolutely for them.

And we will see no more Sotomayors and Kagans appointed to the Supreme Court.  Even if by God’s grace Roe v. Wade falls, there is still a long road ahead.  But one or two more revisionist justices on the Supreme Court will seal Roe in literal blood for at least a generation.

Political reality is rarely what we would like, and we cannot place our ultimate hopes there.  But we do place penultimate hopes in the political system.  Perfect justice is not attainable this side of the Kingdom of God, but relative justice is.  The first Christians lived in a hostile Roman Empire but still prayed for the emperor.  To live a moral life in the world we must play the cards we are dealt.

In the struggle for life and justice we will rarely find the politician who advances the full range of Catholic social doctrine with clarity and integrity.  But some are better than others.  On life issues Governor Romney and the Republicans are vastly better than President Obama and the Democrats, who see abortion not just as a right but as an entitlement to be imposed, normalized and funded.

The case that voting for Governor Romney is formal cooperation with evil is so weak as to be non-existent.  Those who are concerned about this should actually be concerned about something else.  It is this: taking an action that makes the continuance of the Obama administration more likely would seem at the very least to be indirect material cooperation with evil.  While not intending the pro-abortion activities of the Obama administration, Catholics who vote in a way that will increase the likelihood of an Obama victory contribute to the immoral acts that would result.  That is the spiritually (and politically) more realistic fear.

AND, this from Father Dwight Longenecker,  "It's real simple: Any American who claims to follow the Christian faith should not vote for a candidate who supports homosexual marriage, abortion and forcing people to act against their religious convictions."

Please join me in praying for our country...and vote with the future and eternity in mind.


Stephanie said...

Thank you so much for sharing this, Allison. So much rides on this election.

Nicholas Escalona said...

Not sure if you're trying to say otherwise, but not voting for Romney is in no way a statement of support for Obama, or a cooperation with him. But voting for either candidate does entail cooperation with evil which requires very careful consideration.

There is no way for a Catholic to vote in a way increasing the likelihood of an Obama victory - one vote is below the noise floor of the electoral process. There's no appreciable effect on the outcome - what matters is whether you voted in a way that endorses evil.

And voting for Romney can always be formal cooperation with evil, if the intention of the vote is to support the evil. In fact, nearly all votes for Romney will probably entail formal cooperation with evil.

Allison said...

Thanks, Stephanie. My Pastor is a very learned and bright man, a pro life champion. I have shared his sermons before. More notably,he has appeared on EWTN and First Things.

And thank you for commenting, Nicholas. Sounds like you disagree with my pastor. Kind of reminds me of the vaccination issue (see http://www.cogforlife.org/2012/10/28/thirdparty/#more-2169) If you vaccinate your children most of those vaccines are derived from aborted fetal tissue. Are you complicit? Coincidently, at the Children of God For Life website they are also talking about 3rd party voting or not voting. See link above, if interested.

Bill Whittle also has an excellent video on principled voting. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/11/01/bill_whittle_makes_appeal_against_protest_votes.html

Christine said...

Praying so hard. I believe it will take a miracle.

Janice Trinh said...

I've been U.S. permanent resident for 20 years. I haven't had a chance to take my citizenship. But with this year's issues, I really wish that I could vote. Especially as a practicing Catholic, I think it's really true that every vote counts. I really hope that our Catholic brothers and sisters choose the right person to lead out country. Sadly, the American soul is at stake!

Thanks for posting this. How brave of you. :)

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