Faithful Catholic Citizenship Based Upon the Gospel of Life

Note: This brochure is for Catholics who desire to vote in a manner that best reflects our Catholic Faith. The teaching of the Church herein quoted comes directly from our late Holy Father, John Paul II, as declared in Evangelium Vitae, (The Gospel of Life) unless otherwise noted. (All emphases added.)
1Can we vote for a candidate for “the common good” of society on various issues, if the candidate is pro-choice?
Answer: No. We cannot vote for a pro-choice candidate even if our motive is “the common good” of society on other issues. (The issue of “proportionate reasoning” is dealt with later.)

John Paul II states: “Laws which authorize and promote abortion and euthanasia are therefore radically opposed not only to the good of the individual but also to the common good; as such they are completely lacking in authentic juridical validity. Disregard for the right to life, precisely because it leads to the killing of the person whom society exists to serve, is what most directly conflicts with the possibility of achieving the common good. 72 It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life,…”101
2Does the Church teach that Abortion and Euthanasia are murder?
Answer: Yes. The Church teaches that abortion and euthanasia are murder.

John Paul II states concerning abortion: “The moral gravity of procured abortion is apparent in all its truth if we recognize that we are dealing with murder… 58 Athenagoras records that Christians consider as murderesses women who have recourse to abortifacient medicines, because children, even if they are still in their mother’s womb, ‘are already under the protection of Divine Providence’. Among the Latin authors, Tertullian affirms: “It is anticipated murder to prevent someone from being born; it makes little difference whether one kills a soul already born or puts it to death at birth…” 61
John Paul II states concerning euthanasia: “…euthanasia is a grave violation of the law of God, since it is the deliberate and morally unacceptable killing of a human person… Depending on the circumstances, this practice involves the malice proper to suicide or murder. Suicide is always as morally objectionable as murder.” 65, 66
3Are we required as Catholics to work to overturn Roe vs. Wade, and restore the protection of law to the unborn in the U.S.?

Answer: Yes. We are required as Catholics to work to overturn Roe vs. Wade, and restore the protection of law (i.e., make abortion illegal) in the U.S.

John Paul II declares: “The legal toleration of abortion or of euthanasia can in no way claim to be based on respect for the conscience of others…” 71 “The doctrine on the necessary conformity of civil law with the moral law is in continuity with the whole tradition of the Church.” 72 “Serving the Gospel of life thus meansto ensure that the laws and institutions of the State in no way violate the right to life, from conception to natural death, but rather protect and promote it.” 93 

John Paul II said to American Bishops: “An essential feature of support for the unalienable right to life, from conception to natural death, is the effort to provide legal protection for the unborn… Catholics, and especially Catholic legislators, must continue to make their voices heard in the formulation of cultural, economic, political, and legislative projects…in which the lives of all are defended and enhanced. …In defending life you are defending an original and vital part of the vision on which your country was built. America must become, again, a hospitable society, in which every unborn child and every handicapped or terminally ill person is cherished and enjoys the protection of the law.” (6, John Paul II to American bishops during an ad limina visit to Rome, October, 1998.)
4Can we invoke our conscience to prioritize other issues above abortion and euthanasia for “proportionate reasons” such as war, health care, immigration, the economy, etc.?

Answer: No. We cannot invoke our conscience to prioritize other issues above abortion and euthanasia for “proportionate reasons” such as war, health care, immigration, the economy, etc.

John Paul II states: “But God cannot leave the crime [of murder] unpunished: from the ground on which it has been spilt, the blood of the one murdered demands that God should render justice (cf. Gen 37:26; Is 26:21; Ez 24:7-8). From this text the Church has taken the name of the “sins which cry to God for justice”, and, first among them, she has included willful murder…for this reason whoever attacks human life, in some way attacks God himself.” 9 “Among all the crimes which can be committed against life, procured abortion has characteristics making it particularly serious and deplorable.

The Second Vatican Council defines abortion, together with infanticide, as an unspeakable crime”. But today, in many people’s consciences, the perception of its gravity has become progressively obscured. The acceptance of abortion in the popular mind, in behaviour and even in law itself, is a telling sign of an extremely dangerous crisis of the moral sense, which is becoming more and more incapable of distinguishing between good and evil, even when the fundamental right to life is at stake. Given such a grave situation, we need now more than ever to have the courage to look the truth in the eye and to call things by their proper name, without yielding to convenient compromises or to the temptation of self-deception. 58

John Paul II, to American Bishops, states: “As Pastors, you must make every effort to ensure that there is no dulling of consciences regarding the seriousness of the crime of abortion, a crime which cannot be morally justified by any circumstance, purpose, or law.” (3, ad limina address, October 1998.)

We cannot invoke our conscience, and prioritize other issues above abortion and euthanasia for “proportionate reasons” such as war, health care, immigration, the economy, etc. This would be “self-deception.” These other issues can be extrinsic evils, but they are not greater than or even equal to the intrinsic evils of abortion and euthanasia. Our consciences are not ours to form as we think best; they must be formed by the Laws of God and the teachings of the Church, not personal political preference.

“Proportionate reasons” would not properly apply here, because one Presidential candidate is stridently pro-abortion, while other candidates are committed to overturn Roe vs. Wade and make child-killing illegal again. No authentic “proportionate reasons” could balance ending the murder of innocent children by abortion with arguments about just or unjust war, the care of the poor, the economy, etc. For “proportionate reasons” to exist, a litmus test must be passed: the object of one’s moral act (i.e., voting) must be intrinsically good or intrinsically neutral. Now, voting for a candidate who directly supports the right to murder (Roe v. Wade), while not voting for other existing candidates who want to curtail or end it, is not an intrinsically good or neutral act. Therefore, the object of one’s moral act (a person’s vote) in this case is an act that directly approves of child-killing, rather than curtailing or ending it. Proportionate reasons could exist if there were only two existing candidates, both of whom were pro-choice. In that case, a voter could morally choose one candidate who was less pro-choice over the other, to mitigate harm to innocent human life.
5Is voting for a pro-choice candidate in this election “cooperating formally with evil” and therefore a morally grave act? 

Answer: Yes. Voting for a pro-choice candidate in this election is “cooperating formally with evil,” and therefore a morally grave act.

John Paul II states: “… it is necessary to recall the general principles concerning cooperation in evil actions. Christians…are called upon under grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God’s law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. Such cooperation occurs when an action, either by its very nature or by the form it takes in a concrete situation, can be defined as a direct participation in an act against innocent human life or a sharing in the immoral intention of the person committing it. 74 

Voting for a pro-choice candidate in this election is “cooperating formally with evil,” and therefore a morally grave act, because the voter would have “direct participation in an act” (voting) that would result in laws and actions “against innocent human life.” Because no proportionate reasons are present, one is held directly responsible by God for all evil effects of such an act. Therefore it is a morally grave act to cooperate with a candidate who has stated his approval of the false “right” to murder the unborn or the victims of euthanasia.
6Can a Catholic vote in good conscience for a pro-choice candidate in this Presidential election?
Answer: No. A Catholic cannot vote in good conscience for a pro-choice candidate in this Presidential election.

John Paul II states: “In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to ‘take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law, or vote for it’”. 73

With our federal government, we do not vote for laws; we vote for lawmakers who make laws in our stead. Given the histories and intentions of pro-abortion candidates to defend the legalized killing of the unborn, to vote for them is knowingly to participate in their evil acts and intentions; it increases the killing of children, and is therefore a vote for abortion itself.

7Certain Catholic clergy and laymen have made the moral and theological statement that “…it violates no aspect of Catholic teaching for a Catholic Voter to endorse, support, or vote for Barack Obama…”. (Doug Kmiec, Catholic Attorney and Author, Can a Catholic Support Him?)

Are they correct?

Answer: No. They are not correct. Endorsing, supporting, or voting for Obama in the 2008 Presidential election flagrantly violates Catholic teaching.

John Paul II states: “When a parliamentary or social majority decrees that it is legal, at least under certain conditions, to kill unborn human life, is it not really making a “tyrannical” decision with regard to the weakest and most defenceless of human beings? Everyone’s conscience rightly rejects those crimes against humanity of which our century has had such sad experience. But would these crimes cease to be crimes if, instead of being committed by unscrupulous tyrants, they were legitimated by popular consensus?” 70 

John Paul II instructed American Bishops on this very principle, saying: “As Bishops, you must continue to draw attention to the relationship of the moral law to constitutional and positive law in your society: “Laws which legitimize the direct killing of innocent human beings…are in complete opposition to the inviolable right to life proper to every individual; they thus deny the equality of everyone before the law…Dear Brother Bishops, Catholic moral teaching is an essential part of our heritage of faith; we must see to it that it is faithfully transmitted, and take appropriate measures to guard the faithful from the deceit of opinions which dissent from it…May your fidelity to the Lord and the responsibility for his Church which he has given you make you personally vigilant to ensure that only sound doctrine of faith and morals is presented as Catholic teaching.” (ad limina address, 6, 7) 

The late John Paul II – who spoke infallibly on morals as the Vicar of Christ and the Successor of St. Peter – declared abortion is “murder,” a “crime against humanity,” a “tyrannical” act that in some way “attacks God Himself;” abortion is an “unspeakable crime” in which the blood of the victims “cry to God for justice.” Moreover, “civil law” concerning abortion must conform to “the moral law” – “You shall not kill,” laws permitting abortion are “radically opposed to the common good,” we must work to assure that “every unborn child…enjoys the protection of law,” and it is “never licit” to “participate in a propaganda campaign in favor of it (abortion), or to vote for it.”

Obama shamelessly defends the false “right” to murder an innocent child by abortion during all nine months of pregnancy, for any reason. Obama defends partial birth abortion and the “unspeakable crime” of infanticide after a failed abortion. Obama is committed to keeping this crime against humanity “legal,” and he promised to sign The Freedom of Choice Act as soon as he is elected. Therefore to proclaim that it “violates no aspect of Catholic teaching for a Catholic Voter to endorse, support, or vote for Barack Obama…” (Doug Kmiec) is clearly absurd. 

In the light of The Gospel of Life which is the teaching of the Catholic Church—quoted faithfully in this document— and in the light of the history and intent of Obama, to suggest that “it violates no aspect of Catholic teaching for a Catholic Voter to endorse, support, or vote for Barack Obama” is clearly a misrepresentation of Catholic teaching. Therefore it is clearly erroneous, false teaching, and treachery against the The Gospel of Life. As John Paul II warned – it is an attempt to mislead “the faithful” with “the deceit of opinions which dissent” from the clear teaching of the Church

Who should you vote for? You have several valid options. You may choose to write in a candidate or to not vote in the presidential election. But you may not in good conscience, given this “concrete situation,” vote for Barack Obama if you want to be a “Faithful Catholic Citizen”.

Compiled and edited by Randall Terry,
Founder, Operation Rescue
September 29, 2008, Feast of St. Michael and St. Gabriel
“Oh Glorious Warrior, Oh Faithful Messenger, give us the grace to fight courageously and speak faithfully for the Innocent. Our Lady of Guadalupe, bring victory for the babies. Amen.”
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