Monday, September 15, 2008

Kansas City Bishops: "We Cannot Conceive of ... a Proportionate Reason" Overcoming a Candidate's Support for Legalized Abortion [UPDATED]

Archbishop Nauman of the Diocese of Kansas City, KS, and Bishop Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, MO, speak to the issue of "proportionate reasons" that might justify a vote for a candidate supporting legalized abortion:
... Could a Catholic in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports legalized abortion when there is a choice of another candidate who does not support abortion or any other intrinsically evil policy? Could a voter’s preference for the candidate’s positions on the pursuit of peace, economic policies benefiting the poor, support for universal health care, a more just immigration policy, etc. overcome a candidate’s support for legalized abortion? In such a case, the Catholic voter must ask and answer the question: What could possibly be a proportionate reason for the more than 45 million children killed by abortion in the past 35 years? Personally, we cannot conceive of such a proportionate reason...

[Read the whole thing]
(emphasis added)

My Comments:
The catch here, of course, is that both presidential candidates support one or more intrinsic evils. Sen. Obama supports legalized abortion, ESCR, and same-sex "marriage". Sen. McCain supports ESCR.

The question, then, becomes whether there are "proportionate reasons" for supporting one over the other.

By focusing on "the more than 45 million children killed by abortion in the past 35 years", the Kansas City Bishops seem to provide their opinion on the matter, but don't directly answer the question I've raised.

UPDATE:
Oops. I seem to have spoken too soon (or at least with a lack of reading comprehension skills on my part). The Bishops, in fact, DO address the question I've raised:
In another circumstance, we may be confronted with a voting choice between two candidates who support abortion, though one may favor some limitations on it, or he or she may oppose public funding for abortion. In such cases, the appropriate judgment would be to select the candidate whose policies regarding this grave evil will do less harm. We have a responsibility to limit evil if it is not possible at the moment to eradicate it completely.

The same principle would be compelling to a conscientious voter who was confronted with two candidates both supported same-sex unions, but one opposed abortion and destructive embryonic research while was permissive in these regards. The voter, who himself or herself opposed these policies, would have insufficient moral justification voting for the more permissive candidate. However, he or she might justify to a write-in vote or abstaining from voting at all in this case, because of a conscientious objection.
(emphasis added)

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10 Comments:

At 9/15/2008 1:11 PM, Blogger Nod said...

Um, I was going to say that. ;-)

 
At 9/15/2008 2:15 PM, Anonymous lara said...

Jay,

Would you mind if I copy part of this paragraph to answer a question?

 
At 9/15/2008 2:20 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

Feel free to copy whatever you'd like.

 
At 9/15/2008 2:26 PM, Anonymous lamt said...

I thought clarification from the Bishops would make this easier, but I'm realizing that's not the case.

I still have that damned if I do and damned if I don't feeling...

 
At 9/15/2008 2:50 PM, Anonymous sniper said...

I conscientiously object to Obama and to McCain, but not to Palin. And how can we know the influence she would have on him?

Someone assist.

 
At 9/15/2008 3:17 PM, Anonymous Boethius said...

The bishops here have excellently explained the moral calculus. I am not a John McCain fan, and his position on Embryonic Stem Cell Research is frustrating (to say the least), but considering that Obama shares his position on ESCR and ALSO is radically in favor of legalized abortion, the choice is obvious. We choose the imperfect McCain (again, to say the least) in an attempt to limit the evil. Additionally, we must continue to clearly and publicly fight out against the moral outrage of ESCR and make it clear that though we may support McCain over the other guy, we do not embrace his position on this issue.

 
At 9/15/2008 3:36 PM, Anonymous sniper said...

On page three, though, the Pope states clearly, "...When a Catholic does not share a candidate's stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presense of proportionate reasons."

My only reason to vote McCain would be in pointed opposition to Obama. Is that, in truth, justifiable? Would that be, in a sense, 'remote material cooperation?'

 
At 9/15/2008 6:00 PM, Blogger Father Martin Fox said...

Sniper:

I think you can vote for McCain, using the reasoning cited, with a clear conscience.

But I strongly disagree with what you will hear so many say: that you have an obligation to do so. The bishops cited make clear that one can conscientiously object to voting for either pro-death candidate, even if one could also justify a vote for the somewhat less pro-death candidate. To argue one is obliged to vote for a candidate who advocates grave evil is morally non-sensical, and the bishops wisely refrained from advancing that argument.

 
At 9/15/2008 6:18 PM, Anonymous sniper said...

Father,

I'm only interested in voting against Barack Obama, with the hopes of having a pro-lifer in the White House, as well as one healthy example, in Sarah Palin, for at least one generation of children.

However good my intentions, I doubt I can switch that lever without some pinch of crisis of conscience.

But thank you, Father.

 
At 9/15/2008 8:13 PM, Blogger Carol McKinley said...

Hey Kiddies!

Before McCain picked Palin, and the intellectually dishonest pandering Romney and Leiberman were on the roster, I did a painful examination of the guidance of the Church. I could not come up with an excuse to sit it out.

The below is crystal clear:


"In another circumstance, we may be confronted with a voting choice between two candidates who support abortion, though one may favor some limitations on it, or he or she may oppose public funding for abortion. In such cases, the appropriate judgment would be to select the candidate whose policies regarding this grave evil will do less harm. We have a responsibility to limit evil if it is not possible at the moment to eradicate it completely."

"appropriate judgment" and "responsibility to limit evil"

The evil that will surmount on the innocent, the family, our sovereignty, will be catastrophic with Obama/Biden and their appointees.

Jay, I don't know how closely you follow the detials of Embryonic stemcell Research but the truth of it is, there are NO DONORS. The embryos frozen in labs - parents have refused to remand over for research.

Obama and his administration is going to push the issue and lobby these parents - McCain wouldn't dare. Ergo, in every way - women and life will be exploited in the Obama administration. With a close race, I don't see with the Bishop's guidance and all that is out there how anybody could construe we should sit it our or waste our vote to cut off our nose to spite our face.

 

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