Today Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas and Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri issued a joint pastoral letter entitled “Our Moral Responsibility as Catholic Citizens.”
After carefully explaining the priority of rejecting intrinsic evil when it comes to exercising the right to vote, the bishops quoted a 2004 memo from then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to a committee of U.S. bishops regarding the responsibility of Catholic voters:
“A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. 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 presence of proportionate reasons.”
The bishops then give this reflection on the issue of “proportionate reasons”:
“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.”
Click here to review the entire letter.