Lead article from the May bulletin, online now.
WHEN THERE IS NO "ACCEPTABLE" CANDIDATE
In some political races, each candidate takes a wrong position on one or more issues involving non-negotiable moral principles. In such a case you may vote for the candidate who takes the fewest such positions or who seems least likely to be able to advance immoral legislation, or you may choose to vote for no one.
A vote cast in such a situation is not morally the same as a positive endorsement for candidates, laws, or programs that promote intrinsic evils: It is only tolerating a lesser evil to avoid an even greater evil. As Pope John Paul II indicated regarding a situation where it is not possible to overturn or completely defeat a law allowing abortion, "an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality"(EV 73; also CPL 4).\
Catholics must strive to put in place candidates, laws, and political programs that are in full accord with non-negotiable moral values. Where a perfect candidate, law, or program is not on the table, we are to choose the best option, the one that promotes the greatest good and entails the least evil. Not voting may sometimes be the only moral course of action, but we must consider whether not voting actually promotes good and limits evil in a specific instance. The role of citizens and elected officials is to promote intrinsic moral values as much as possible today while continuing to work toward better candidates, laws, and programs in the future.
With the presidential elections front and center in the news and so many people talking about the candidates I find myself questioning what my duties as a Catholic voter are. I have heard so many people say, "I will not vote for X” or “If X gets the nomination I'm not voting."
Those statements really bother me because I feel that even if we don't agree with a particular candidate we still have a responsibility to vote. I don't particularly care for the front runners in the race but I still feel obligated to support the party that best upholds my Catholic values. I do not know about you but regardless of what any politician says I can not say I trust them to do anything other than protect their own best interests. Those best interests reside in supporting their political party because without the support of the party the politicians career will be short lived. Politicians do not get to where they are by not knowing how to play the game. Those are my opinions so I decided to see what the church says about voting.
I found a copy of the Voters Guide for Serious Catholics published by Catholic Answers in my KC briefcase and I highly recommend all of you to read it. Above is an excerpt from the guide that talks about what to do when there is no acceptable candidate. Obviously we have the right to not vote but we also have the responsibility to promote good and limit evil. In the case of this election I strongly believe that we as Catholics have to vote because not voting will result in votes for the party that will cause greater harm to our beliefs than the candidate we refuse to vote for. We are obligated to uphold the 5 non-negotiable issues (Abortion, Euthanasia, Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Human Cloning, and Homosexual Marriage). The only way to uphold those values is to look past the candidate and vote for the party that has done the most to uphold those non-negotiable issues.
This November 8th make sure you get to the polls and vote. Don't let your personal opinions stop you because we are morally obligated to limit evil by making informed voting decisions.