Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Catholics: Why it is not a sin to vote for Romney

I have heard faithful Catholics agonize over this year's presidential election. They know that a vote for Obama is morally impossible (they are correct), but they are conflicted about voting for Mitt Romney, who is not 100% pro-life. Should they sit out the election or vote for a third party or write-in candidate, knowing that those options boost Obama's chances of winning?

Or should they vote for Romney and possibly commit a sin?

I hope to assure you today that you will not commit a sin if you vote for Mitt Romney. Not only is the faithful-to-the-Magisterium organization, Catholic Vote, endorsing Romney, but pro-life warrior Fr. Frank Pavone will be voting for him as well:
Speaking as a private citizen and not on behalf of any of the organizations I lead, it is clear to me that taking account not only of the teachings of the Church but of the demands of conscience in the light of the holocaust we continue to face with abortion, voting for the Romney-Ryan ticket is a smart way to mitigate the present evil we are facing. 

Priests for Life has laid out "Ten Easy Steps to Voting with a Clear Conscience", and I'd like to draw your attention to number eight, which helps us make some critical distinctions. Please note that all emphases are from the original:

8. Distinguish “choosing evil” from “limiting evil.”

What happens if two opposing candidates both support abortion [in all or some cases]?

First of all, refrain from putting any labels or endorsements on anyone. Don't call them anything. Or, if you prefer, call them both pro-abortion. Then just ask a simple question: Which of the two candidates will do less harm to unborn children if elected?

For example, is either of the candidates willing at least to ban late-term abortion? Is either of them willing to put up some roadblocks to free and easy abortion? Will either support parental notification, or parental consent, or waiting periods? Has either of them expressed a desire to support pregnancy assistance centers? How about stricter regulation of abortion facilities? Has either candidate expressed support for that idea? Nobody is saying that's the final goal. But ask these questions just to see whether you can see any benefit of one of the candidates above the other.

One of the two of them will be elected; there is no question about that. So you are not free right now, in this race, to really choose the candidate you want. Forces beyond your control have already limited your choices. Whichever way the election goes, the one elected will not have the position we want elected officials to have on abortion.

In this case, it is morally acceptable to vote for the candidate who will do less harm. This is not "choosing the lesser of two evils." We may never choose evil. But in the case described above, you would not be choosing evil. Why? Because in choosing to limit an evil, you are choosing a good.

You oppose the evil of abortion, in every circumstance, no matter what. You know that no law can legitimize even a single abortion, ever. If the candidate thinks some abortion is OK, you don't agree.

But by your vote, you can keep the worse person out. And trying to do that is not only legitimate, but good. Some may think it's not the best strategy. But if your question is whether it is morally permissible to vote for the better of two bad candidates, the answer -- in the case described above -- is yes.

Cardinal John O’Connor, in a special booklet on abortion, once wrote about this problem, “Suppose all candidates support ‘abortion rights’? … One could try to determine whether the position of one candidate is less supportive of abortion than that of another. Other things being equal, one might then morally vote for a less supportive position. If all candidates support "abortion rights" equally, one might vote for the candidate who seems best in regard to other issues” (1990, “Abortion: Questions and Answers”).

In this context, the question also arises as to whether one is required to vote for a third candidate who does not have a strong base of support but does have the right position. The answer is, no, you are not required to vote for this candidate. The reason is that your vote is not a canonization of a candidate. It is a transfer of power. You have to look concretely at where the power is really going to be transferred, and use your vote not to make a statement but to help bring about the most acceptable results under the circumstances.

Of course, our conscience may be telling us, “Don’t say it’s impossible to elect the candidate who doesn’t have a strong base of support.” Of course, it is possible to elect almost anyone if the necessary work is done within the necessary time. God doesn’t ask us to base our choices on “the possibility of miracles,” but rather on solid human reason. The point is that if there’s a relatively unknown but excellent candidate, the time to begin building up support for that person’s candidacy is several years before the election, not several months. What you have to ask as Election Day draws near is whether your vote is needed to keep the worse candidate (of the two, less acceptable but more realistic choices) out of office.

After you chew on that for a bit (I know I did!), you can continue to form your conscience on these matters by considering what Blessed John Paul II wrote in Evangelium Vitae (paragraph 73), concerning the legislative votes of elected officials (emphasis mine):

A particular problem of conscience can arise in cases where a legislative vote would be decisive for the passage of a more restrictive law, aimed at limiting the number of authorized abortions, in place of a more permissive law already passed or ready to be voted on. Such cases are not infrequent. It is a fact that while in some parts of the world there continue to be campaigns to introduce laws favouring abortion, often supported by powerful international organizations, in other nations-particularly those which have already experienced the bitter fruits of such permissive legislation-there are growing signs of a rethinking in this matter. In a case like the one just mentioned, when it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law, 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. This does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects.

Look, it would be nice to have the perfect candidate running against Barack Obama this November. But we live in the real world, the fallen world. We have a viable candidate in Mitt Romney, a man who will not actively persecute the Church (can you believe that's even an issue?), and who will mitigate the evil that has come and will continue to come through Obama's policies, executive orders, mandates, and (lifetime!) judicial appointments. As we read above, "by your vote, you can keep the worse person out. And trying to do that is not only legitimate, but good." 

You will not be in sin by voting for Romney. I beg of you not to "make a statement" this election, but to make sure that Obama is voted out of office for good. There is no greater threat to both the Catholic Church and unborn children in America than four more years of Barack Obama in the White House.

According to the principles of the Catholic Church, you may vote Romney-Ryan with a clear conscience.



  1. I keep thinking back 4 years ago, when Obama was elected for President. I was working in the nursing home back then, and I was surprised that a lot of the residents that lived there had voted for him. (Surprised, because this was a Catholic nursing home and many of these residents were supposedly staunch Catholics). When he was elected, they nodded their heads and said how glad they were stating, "It's time for a change, don't you think?" Well, they certainly got their change.

    It's time for a change again, and this time for the better. I'm really hoping that people will turn their brains on and really LOOK at President Obama for who he really is. Romney may not be the perfect choice, but he's the moral choice. And he will give us back our religious freedom.

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    1. Bri, that point was already addressed in the blog post. "Of course, our conscience may be telling us, “Don’t say it’s impossible to elect the candidate who doesn’t have a strong base of support.” Of course, it is possible to elect almost anyone if the necessary work is done within the necessary time. God doesn’t ask us to base our choices on “the possibility of miracles,” but rather on solid human reason. The point is that if there’s a relatively unknown but excellent candidate, the time to begin building up support for that person’s candidacy is several years before the election, not several months. What you have to ask as Election Day draws near is whether your vote is needed to keep the worse candidate (of the two, less acceptable but more realistic choices) out of office."

      As I said below, I absolutely agree that reform is needed so that third-party candidates can become more viable in our election process. However, as it stands right now, they're not. Sure, it'd be great if we could magically convince everyone to vote third-party, but then our votes would be split between several third party candidates - Ron Paul, Gary Johnson, etc., and that still wouldn't effect change.

      Obama will win unless Romney beats him. That's the plain truth of it. I am more afraid of four years of Obama than I am of four years of Romney.

  3. Thank you for this! I absolutely agree that reform is needed so that third-party candidates can be more viable, but as the document you quoted states, the time to do that is not the month before the election.

  4. Bri, sorry to disappoint you! That is inevitable when one has a blog, and especially when one talks politics. This election is just too damn important for the Church to be wishing for a "pure" candidate. We work with what we have to mitigate the evil done to our Church and the babies, and I am very confident that the principles of the Church back me up on this.

    JoAnna, that was the part that I loved! The time to field more viable candidates is not the month before the election. And frankly, Santorum was a great candidate, but he did not win. Still, it's nice to see that he had a good base of support. Perhaps, with a great deal of work and engagement of the culture with ideas that work and resonate better than secular ones, we can field a great candidate rather than just an okay one. But that day is not today, and today has its own urgency.

  5. And Bri, I used Catholic sources and principles in my post. If you want to make your point that I am "misguiding" people and giving "terrible advice", then you will have to do the same. Give me Church teaching when you criticize me for leading people down a dark path. Thanks!

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  7. Bri, thanks, but my position in this post is that our Catholic faith does not preclude us from voting for Romney, and in fact, voting to mitigate evil is a good. So, how have I misguided folks? You may wish for a three-party or parliamentary system, but I am dealing with an election that is going on right now. So again, I ask, how have I misguided anyone on their electoral options in this election?


  8. Bri, third party candidates need more than popular support. The current election system needs to be changed because right now it's next to impossible for them to get in on debates or get on the ballot. I support changing to a popular runoff voting system, myself, and I'll gladly and eagerly support any effort to implement same for the 2016 presidential election. But my point (and Leila's) is that it's too late to do that right now.

    And the whole point of Leila's post was that it's not a sin to vote for Romney. It's also not a sin to vote for a third-party candidate, but it may be unwise given that such a move will detract from the amount of votes Romney needs to win the election. Given Obama's actions against the unborn and persecution of the Catholic Church, we can't afford another Obama administration. Romney is the best choice. I did not support him originally but I will support him now, because he is not nearly as bad as Obama will be.

  9. Bri, can you provide statistical proof that a third party candidate at this point would be viable? Even if we all "banded together" and voted for that person? I'm honestly asking. Because from what I understand, third party candidates simply never have, statistically, enough support to win. It would take much more than everyone "promising" to vote for that person. It would require a huge overhaul of our electoral system. Which I know some people want. But from what I can tell, our two-party system is the most effective form of election in modern history.

    1. No, I can't, in fact, I'll never comment on this blog again - even if I agree with what is being said - for I don't have hours to drudge up supportive documents and link resources. I am sitting on my lunch break at work, reading through a blog, and am struck by a suggestion that we should just work within the evil around us and not do anything radical to try to change it.
      If not this election, when? Because we didn't do it for this election after the last one happened, and we didn't do it for the previous one either, etc.
      I just keep hearing from peers and people being interviewed that they don't know which candidate to choose, that they don't feel either is a good option, and it is frustrating to see the system perpetuated.
      This was obviously the wrong forum to voice my frustration.

  10. "we should just work within the evil around us and not do anything radical to try to change it."

    What? Please quote the portion of Leila's post where she stated such a thing.

    The fact is, RIGHT NOW, the best option we have to limit Obama's evil is to get him OUT of office. That is what we are doing to try and change it. Once he is out, THEN we can start working on eradicating the evils of a Romney presidency. I can assure you, though, that Obama's current evils far outweigh what Romney's may be.

  11. Bri, this is a blog of ideas and principles, based on Church teachings. So, while we all might want to vent our frustrations of what might be or could have been, that's not the focus of this particular post. We are dealing with right now (sorry for the redundancy), and your statement -- "[I] am struck by a suggestion that we should just work within the evil around us and not do anything radical to try to change it" -- seems to me to be missing the point of the post. First, because it still implies that voting for Romney is morally impermissible, and second because the issue of "radical change" of our electoral process is a completely different question from the subject of this post.

    I welcome your thoughts, but it's hard to talk about two different subjects as if they were the same subject.

    Again, if you want to refute my actual points (and the Catholic principles that undergird them), then I am very much open to that discussion.

    Thanks for understanding.

    1. "When you know what the right thing is to do and you fail to do it, it is a sin." James 4:17
      There is no justification for voting for Romney. He is a Mormon. He is anti-Christ; the Mormon Jesus is not the Christian Jesus. The evil deeds Mormons are a part of is abiding in and proclaiming a counterfeit Christ which is anti-Christ, this while claiming he is the true Christ.
      A Romney presidency would promote Mormonism. Everytime Romney mentioned God or Jesus, people would be confused and accept Mormonism as a Christian religion, instead of the anti-Christ cult it is. Leading many people to everlasting damnation. 2Cor.11:3-6 "but I am afraid that as tbe serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough."

  12. Bri, why so defensive? I simply asked you to defend your argument...a legitimate form of debate. #confused

  13. I am removing my original comment, as well as any responses I may have given, since this is obviously the wrong forum for it. Leila, I don't have any arguments against your *actual* points, which is why I didn't make any. You are correct, I missed the intended point of your post in my initial read-through. I didn't realize bringing up another, closely related, issue would be so bothersome. To the others who jumped all over me for voicing my opinion in a public arena, I am not the enemy, you don't have to waste your energies fighting me.

  14. Who jumped all over you? #alsoconfused

    We asked you to defend your positions with evidenc. That's not attacking, that's simple discussion and debate.

  15. I'm confused, too. I don't believe anyone jumped all over you, nor did I perceive us as "fighting" and no one called you an "enemy". You said the following:

    I am disappointed that you would use this platform to misguide so many (whoever might be swayed by your opinion) and give bad voting advice.

    I challenged you on those characterizations of me. We debate ideas here, that's all.


  16. And just to be extra clear, Bri: Your bringing up related topics was not what was "bothersome". We do that all the time here, and it's fine. The problem is that you came to this blog and the first comment you've ever made here was not to say hello, introduce yourself, and then bring up an issue or concern. No, your first comment here was to immediately state your "disappointment" with me, accusing me of "using this platform" to "misguide so many" and give "bad voting advice" to people who could be "swayed" by my opinion. When you were called on it and asked to provide some concrete evidence for your accusation (yes, you were the one who came in attacking and accusing, no one else), you turn it around on the ones asking you to present facts. Then, you delete the original accusations so that no one can evaluate it, and accuse again, this time saying we "jumped all over you" and treated you like an "enemy".


    Do you see the problem at all?

    A little courtesy (and even an admission or apology) goes a long way here. You are always welcome back if you want to play fair.

  17. It's really quite simple (In fact, I've found that often, the volume and length of the argument is inversely proportional to its strength! (1)We are not voting for a spiritual director, but a Politician. (2)Like it or lump it, we have two contenders and one of them will be in the white house in January because the reality is that a 3rd party or non-vote WILL put in the winner, no matter what we "would like to see." (3)One will push evil and one will not (MR may aggravate conservatives, but less babies will die and people can run their homes and businesses the way they see fit. See? Simple!

  18. Ah, why it's not a sin to excuse and dismiss my behavior but judge anyone else who doesn't see things like I do. Now really, come on, we shouldn't have to look as hard at ourselves as we do our neighbor's actions?

  19. Allison, exactly - simple! Dellentie, forgive me, but who are you addressing?

  20. I really did NOT want to vote for Romney this year, but I convinced myself to do so by two arguments.

    The first one was, I realized that despite not wanting to vote for Romney I did want him to beat Obama. Thus I found myself wanting other people to "do the dirty work" while I "washed my hands" of it. I decided that this was cowardly and that I should either vote for Romney or cease hoping for him to win.

    The second was, I realized that although I will never have any power to make Mitt Romney fulfil his promises, I do have the power of the vote to veto and prevent him from doing so. This struck me as analogous to Pascal's wager, the argument for faith when one has doubts. Even if you think Romney is 99% likely to disappoint you (even if you think God is 99% likely not to exist), you can choose to give him (Him) the chance to prove you wrong. I decided that I would vote for Romney not because I think he's likely to do what he promises, but as an act of faith. If he fails, it wouldn't be my fault, but if I prevented him from succeeding, it would be.

  21. Is it a sin not to like Romney Leila?? Or not to trust him?


  22. I'm for abortion. What? you won't be my friend now? I mean I'm against abortion, wait what blog site is this? Are you guys for or against. My answer is whatever gets me in and makes me popular here.

    So I'm address the bad people out there, in my previous comment, I mean, unless my job is to improve myself, then I'm addressing myself, unless that's not popular either, then it's back to all the bad people who are very, very, very much unlike me, since fixing myself isn't popular anymore. Just tell me what you want me to tell you. That's what I will tell you.

    Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

  23. I really feel like this election cycle God is showing our nation that our only choice is to turn back to Him. We reap what we sow and these two choices put us between a rock and a hard place. Romney keeps changing his position on abortion and although he might appoint pro-life judges (which is better than the alternative who will make sure he DOES NOT appoint pro-life judges) I do not feel good about even our Supreme Court anymore. After Roberts sold out on Obamacare I became convinced that our country (those in power) has decided to make some very big changes in ideology. My parents are convinced the NWO is coming and what.is.with. the NDAA act and the fact that it was supported by both parties on a widespread scale? We have got to be praying right now because things are not looking good and I hate to be all doomsday on you guys but nobody is going to balance the budget and Ryan's plan doesn't even attempt to be that different than Obama's.
    We need to get on our knees and get out and evangelize one by one because the only way anyone is going to stop abortion is by converting hearts. Love you, Leila, but that's what I honestly believe at this point.

  24. Dellentie, 95% of politicians fit that bill. Again, mitigating evil is where we are today.

    Manda, we work on two planes. It's not either/or. Yes, we pray and try to move hearts. That is the spiritual realm, and that is ongoing, no matter what part of the political cycle we're in, election season or no. But we must still work in the political realm too and work to limit evil if it is within our power to do so. Our popes and our Church are very clear that we are to be active participants in the public square, and right now that means choosing to vote in either Romney or OBama (because that is the political reality at the moment).

    So, we are to be praying AND working. Not either/or.

    I love you too, Manda! :)

  25. PS: Very few people have actually address the principles and points that are laid out in this post? I hope that those did not get lost on people in all the emotions of this election.

  26. Mitigating evil is a funny thing. Where does one draw the lines? If a policy that allows abortion kills 3600 souls a day and another that supports war and selling weapons to rebels kills 3601 souls a day, it gets tougher and tougher to choose right over wrong.

    Hindsight of course is 20/20, but who knew that dropping atomic bombs on Japan would save lives. Tell that to a mother who saw her children vaporized and never lifted a weapon in anger. Of course that is a little off tangent since we are talking broad policy and not specific war decisions.

    But we have to be careful about what sort of desperate exceptions we conjurer up for ourselves. If we make exceptions they should fall on the side that is greater cost to ourselves and not our neighbors.

    That is how to gauge it usually. You want Heaven? Jesus would say, "Go and give away everything that stands in your way." You can't love mammon and God.

    Lets not tie ourselves too closely to political positions or party spirit, forgetting to keep a lowly spirit. Do good of course, but don't get too proud of it. God makes us all look bad.

  27. Dellentie, there are distinctions that you are not making. One is what we personally may never do (we may never do or advocate for an evil action). The other is who we may vote for (yes, we may vote for imperfect candidates, even as we do not support the evil they do, as long as our reason for voting for them is to mitigate a greater evil).

    The dropping of a bomb on civilian populations, indiscriminately, is intrinsically evil. So, there is no problem "drawing the line" on that. Intrinsic evil is always impermissible. Abortion is always impermissible. That is not the question here at all.

    I would love for you to address the principles that are discussed in the original post. We already know what intrinsic evil is, but the issue we are talking about is who we may vote for, and that mitigation or limiting of evil is actually a good.

    Again, we need to make distinctions, and not talk about two different things.

  28. "supporting war" (war is not an intrinsic evil) and supporting abortion are not "the same". Many variables go into the former, and determining whether it's a just war. Supporting abortion? Never, ever allowed. Intrinsic evil that trumps all else.

  29. From a legal perspective, this is part of a good argument for incrementally pushing abortion back until it is no longer logical. Voting to "limit" abortion could eventually lead to the total repeal of legalized abortion, even if it is frustrating to only limit it in the present time. This is a (long - sorry!) excerpt from a 1995 article "Fetal Position" by Stephen Meyer and David DeWolf. Mr. Meyer is an associate professor of philosophy at Whitworth College in Spokane and a fellow of the Discovery Institute in Seattle. Mr. DeWolf, who has served as a legal advisor to many pro-life groups, is a professor at Gonzaga Law School in Spokane. I know DeWolf is also a devout Catholic, as you can see on his homepage if you google him.

    "Many pro-life activists may feel uneasy about appearing to compromise on the sanctity of life at any point after conception. In this connection, an historical parallel may prove instructive. While debating Stephen Douglas, and later, while campaigning for the Presidency, Abraham Lincoln acknowledged that the Federal Government did not have the power to end slavery by fiat. Yet by warning that "a house divided against itself cannot stand," he refused to admit the legitimacy of slavery. He continued to argue, on Biblical and moral grounds, for ultimate abolition. At the same time, in the legal and political domain he accepted compromises designed to achieve limited goals and to build moral consensus.

    By refusing to press for immediate and outright abolition in the South, Lincoln angered many abolitionists; by supporting limits on the territorial expansion of slavery, he angered slave owners, who understood that such measures denied the moral legitimacy of slavery. Ever principled and pragmatic, Lincoln forced the issue where the arguments for slavery were weakest and avoided engagement (until he could win) where justifications for slavery appeared most strong.

    Pro-life legislators in 1995 have an opportunity to employ this venerable Republican strategy to redefine the terms of the most compelling moral issue of our time. By passing intentionally modest and incremental legislation designed to expose the moral contradictions, the legal ambiguities, and the political vulnerabilities inherent in the pro-choice position, Republicans can begin to forge a national consensus against the unnecessary killing of the unborn. Not only would legislation of this sort expose the anachronistic legal and scientific reasoning that remains the sole foundation for Roe, it could also force both political parties to acknowledge the moral consensus that Roe likes forcibly suppressed. Americans believe that abortion ought to be made more rare. Republicans who heard and understood this message from the election of 1994 will survive to run again and again--as will American children yet unborn."

    They also argue, of course, that scientific advancements will help here too. Although this was 1995, this still applies today.

  30. So my point on the above: In the end, even if the best candidate on the list only seeks to limit abortion -- not abolish it -- we can still vote for them with a clear conscience. Limiting abortion is one legitimate strategy to ultimately obtain total abolition.

  31. Leila,

    Thank you for this post. Although it has been a challenge to accept voting for Romney, it does give me a bit of peace knowing that what you wrote following, "8. Distinguish “choosing evil” from “limiting evil.”, and what Elizabeth just wrote, "Limiting abortion is one legitimate strategy to ultimately obtain total abolition.", and just a change from Obama is a step in the right direction. Again, I thank you and I look forward to reading more! :)

  32. I agree that it is not a sin to vote for Romney. However, I don't think it's entirely correct that a vote for Obama is "morally impossible." It is my understanding that a Catholic can vote for Obama if they are voting for him *in spite of* his pro-abortion positions. I can't see how a serious Catholic could be *enthusiastic* about Obama, but I can see how a Catholic could decide Obama is the lesser of two evils.

    I will personally be going the "Mark Shea Doomed Quixotic Third Party" route.

  33. Mark Shea says it well here:


  34. This is probably a dumb question that you've heard before, but doesn't the Bible say to just go along with whatever leader you have? I know they didn't have democracy back then, but I still think Jesus might have preferred that we wouldn't play the game of politics with anyone, and instead he'd have us work outside of the system.

  35. I totally disagree with Mark. Personal opinion, but he's wasting his vote and helping the biggest persecutor of the Church that we have ever had in the White House.

    I am pretty sure when even the Pope is sounding alarms, Catholics must not vote for Obama:


    Also, since NOTHING trumps the right to life (this is Catholic teaching), I am fairly comfortable saying that if there is a viable candidate who is better on that issue, one must choose the one who is better on that issue. Now, if both candidates are equally pro-abortion (not so in this election), then yes, you can vote for one of them based on the rest of the issues, in spite of the pro-abortion position.

    Warnings about our very souls have gone out from bishops, including Bishop Paprocki, which I am sure you've seen:


  36. No, Chris, what he said is that we are to obey legitimate authority and legitimate laws. Abortion laws are not legitimate. They are unjust and go against human rights. We only obey laws and directives that do not violate God's laws. So, there is a lot we do have to go along with (but can still work to change if we disagree), but there are somethings that we may never submit to or accept.

    God's laws always supersede man's laws.

    Great question!

  37. Chris have you signed up for the weekly Catechism emails? You would likely appreciate them! They begin tomorrow, and go through the whole Year of Faith:


  38. sdecorla:

    I will personally be going the "Mark Shea Doomed Quixotic Third Party" route.

    Since you know that this can only aid Obama, may I ask what your reasoning is? Are you doing this to make a statement? And will you address the points/principles made in the original post?

  39. Chris, awesome! I am truly looking forward to this, and I hope a lot of other folks here on the blog have signed up, too. It will help us as we discuss all these ideas. :)

  40. I know you are not personally hypocritical in saying the God's laws always trump man's laws, but in the 60's we had a black janitor at our Catholic school that was not allowed to send his children there, based solely on their skin color.

    OK, lets end abortion, but the means of doing so, should ,(meaning will), always justify the end. For me personally your going to far off center, to justify your point of view. (I.e. "Who do I have to kill to prove I'm not a murderer?")

    Earlier on, in some of the other comments, someone may be addressing when Christ said "Do not resist one who is evil... if they take your shirt offer your cloak as well." was Christ addressing our weakness in regards to indulging in strife and personal vanity? I.e. We're all excited about a fight, but when it comes to humility and lowliness and the drudgery of being good day in and day out, or having to think well of others, we fail.

  41. but in the 60's we had a black janitor at our Catholic school that was not allowed to send his children there, based solely on their skin color

    And to complete that thought… discrimination based on race may have been a the grave sin of that pastor, but was NEVER a position of the Catholic Church.

    As to ends and means: Not quite sure what you are saying there. Clarify? The Catholic position is that both the end and means must be moral for an act to be moral. No ambiguity.

    Also, this may or may not complement or be relevant to your last paragraph:


    By the way, I would absolutely dispute your contention that we are all excited about a fight. I find that most people remain silent in the face of any controversy.

  42. The third-party route bothers me. Abortion is black and white, but politics are not black and white. If we wish to fight for a pro-life country, we have to be active in our approach. Stomping our foot or despairingly backing off in defeat while declaring that we will not participate in civic life until a candidate perfectly aligns with our pro-life political ideals is equivalent to exiting the fight. Is that really effective in changing hearts and minds in this country? The pro-choice viewpoint would be quite happy for us to toss out our vote on a third party. They are quite happy for us to stomp our feet and exit the room.

    Meanwhile, we have a candidate, Romney (and Ryan! Are we suggesting that Ryan, a devout Catholic, is somehow imperiling his soul for working with Romney?), who has an abortion stance that is far more pro-life than the current laws. He has the capacity and the beliefs to continue to move our country in a pro-life direction that could ultimately result in the protection of all unborn life down the road. He has a strong stance on religious freedom, which would allow us to stay in the fight! A vote for Obama, or a refusal to vote at all, which would only help Obama, can only result in Obama's potential reelection, more religious persecution, more pro-abortion laws, and more lives lost.

    We have to look at the current situation and the realistic outcomes of our decisions. If abortion was illegal in this country, and Romney said he wanted to make it legal in certain instances, that would be a big problem. But we don't live in a country where Romney is going to advance a pro-choice agenda. Sure, he's not going to toss out Roe v. Wade on the first day of office, but not even Santorum could have done that. Presidents are not kings. Santorum takes the incremental change approach in pro-life legislation. It is just awesome to know that he is also aiming for the Catholic ideal in the end. Romney is going in the same direction here even if he doesn't have the exact same final goal...and we aren't voting for a lifetime king, but for the next four years. What can we do in the next four years to get us closer to a pro-life country and to save lives in the process? Is voting "the doomed third party" really going to help with that?

  43. And I, of course, agree with Leila here that both the means and ends must be moral. There is absolutely no indication that Romney is going to use immoral means to limit abortion, and there is no indication that he will advance an a pro-abortion agenda. So while we disagree with Romney on some abortion issues, we can reasonably assume that Romney will not resort to immoral means or ends in our current political environment.

  44. Elizabeth, well said. I don't understand it and I've tried. Is it an unwillingness to "get our hands dirty" in the political process? Well, the process is ugly, it's ungainly, it's imperfect. But America's is the best political system in the world, so to bow out or throw away votes makes no sense. If we can't work within this system, then in which political system around the globe can any Catholic work? And to be so "purist" as so many seem to be seems to fly in the face of actual Church teaching on these issues. We are expected to affect the public square. We are expected to be politically active, not just make "statements" that will only help to advance a greater evil, then feel good about ourselves.

    Why won't anyone who is essentially sitting out of this process actually address the points and principles brought up in this post?

    Being a purist in politics ensures that authentic Catholics will have no voice at all in the public square and that is NOT a Catholic position.

    It really does leave my shaking my head. I cannot understand it.

  45. And if anyone is going to assert that Romney might be a greater or equal evil to Obama (so we can vote for Obama), you have to explain that position in light of Catholic teaching that there is a hierarchy of truths, and the right to life itself trumps all else.

  46. I guess what bothers me most is this sense of someone sitting on top casting a downward eye on our brothers and sisters 'supposedly' lacking in moral judgement, this needs to change. Would you be happy to tolerate that from others? Should we all be taking a moral microscope to our brothers actions? Lets at least attempt to be disarming once in a while. If you want to influence people or at least me, lets rid ourselves of this egotistical approach. Pride after all is one of the deadly sins. Both Gandhi and Hitler wanted to 'improve' the world and set people strait, one did it at his own cost, the other at his neighbors cost. Look how the means justified the end in each case. When people start taking about exceptions or thinking in black and white, I apologize, but alarm bells start going off with my moral compass. Throttle down on the personal agendas, the ego stroking, throttle up on the humility, the doing good without recognition, knowing your limits as a fallen child of Adam and Eve, totally dependent on God for each and every breath of air. Lets start from how you would improve yourself? How would you fix that person? Does that person easily change or ever fail?

  47. Specifically I'm address the comments above about "I've tried and they won't change" *others are "unwillingness to get their hands dirty" *others are "expected to be" "shaking my head (at them)"

    Maybe I'm reading this wrong, after all I'm a fallen soul. Incapable of judging perfectly as God judges.

    I'm more OK with this if you've walked in their shoes or if you haven given up everything, home, future and comfort and have gone to follow Christ, but short of that, shouldn't we should all spend a little more time perfecting the person in the mirror or at least be willing to examine why others have to change so much before we do. Why they have to pick up the slack and not us.

  48. Dellentie, are you saying that none of us should participate in the public square or evangelize until we ourselves are "perfect?" That's absurd. Cuz it's never gonna happen.

  49. Dellentie, you seem to misunderstand the concept of judging. As Catholics, we are called to judge the acts and behavior of our fellow Christians, and call them on it if need be.

    What you are talking about is judging one's eternal soul, and no one here is doing that.

  50. Dellentie, if you disagree with the points of the original post (and the principles discussed), could you please address those principles and points directly?

    Also, I must ask you not to mischaracterize what I've said. For example, you used a quote that I never said, namely: "I've tried and they won't change", which left me wondering what I missed and asking "who said that?" When I realized that you changed my words to mean something I would never say, it was disconcerting. Really, you are not allowed to change people's words and meanings, and it doesn't even make sense to do so, as folks can just go and read what I actually wrote and see that you are misrepresenting me. What I actually said was this, which is fundamentally different: "I don't understand it and I've tried." Meaning, I have tried to understand why people sit out this process or vote for a candidate who cannot win, thus giving a boost to Obama.

    I also wrote: "Is it an unwillingness to "get our hands dirty" in the political process?" in question form, to get at some answers as to why people stay away or take that route. And yes, you and I absolutely are "expected to be" active in the public square as a Catholic. Have you read the address by the pope? By previous popes? By the bishops? That is the teaching of the Church and the expectation is there.

    So, yes, I am "shaking my head" because I can't understand why good people stay back, not "shaking my head (at them)" [again, your change of my words, inserting an implication that does not exist].

    I am going to request two things of you Dellentie, if you would like to continue a discussion that is productive:

    1) Please do not misrepresent my words (to the point of changing them completely, even using quotation marks for a quote that does not exist).

    2) Please address the actual principles and points of the original post, and please use Church teaching on voting and conscience considerations.

    Thanks so much!

    PS: Nicole and JoAnna, good points, thank you.

  51. I am concerned to see many posters here determining who they will be voting for based solely on one issue, and all the while not speaking out against the many evils in Romney's platform. The Catholic Church may be a one issue church but America is not a one issue nation and it should never be that way. I'm concerned that Romney knows that he can win your vote based on this one issue alone, and I fear that he is manipulating you all based on that. His insincerity is obvious, and I fear his real allegiance is to the corporate elite, and not the average Americans like you and I. Those are my concerns.

  52. Citizensunited:

    It's eminently logical, because the right to life is the right from which all of our other rights are derived. How can one have rights if they are dead and can't exercise them?

    Frankly, if a public official can't recognize and defend the right to life, then I don't trust him/her to recognize or defend any of my other rights (all of which, as I said above, are derived from the right to life).

    Also, which evil in Romney's platform is worse than the mass murder of innocent children (a.k.a. abortion on demand without apology as well as infanticide)?

  53. I'm worried about his foreign policy team which consists of Bush neocons such as John Bolton who wish to escalate the conflict with Iran to a full fledged war. I'm worried that while millions are in poverty in the US he will direct even more tax money to fund our military industrial complex and ramp up domestic surveillance through the increased use of drones, and I'm afraid he supports the privatization of prisons which creates a self-perpetuating cycle of increased police aggression and imprisonment. I'm worried that the freedom of speech will be lost by dissenters first and foremost and that peaceful protesters of all stripes will be persecuted, spied on, and imprisoned by the government that has created to protect them. Finally, I believe he will usher in a new age of austerity in the US that only targets the lower and middle classes with the false guarantee that the job creators will rescue us. The fabric that connects Romney to the corporate elite convinces me that he will do their bidding at all costs, and to the detriment of Americans like you and I.

  54. Wha… wait. Citizensunited, did you answer JoAnna's question by saying that the possibility of war and the building of a strong military (which is one of the federal governments enumerated powers), or the possibility of loss of speech (actually that comes from the left, including speech codes and loss of freedom of religion, aka HHS mandate), and the possibility that Romney's free market plans could be worse for the economy than what Obama has done (not likely, but okay…) are a worse evil than the mass murder of millions of innocent unborn humans that is taking place quietly and legally in our towns and cities every day?

  55. I'm worried about his foreign policy team which consists of Bush neocons such as John Bolton who wish to escalate the conflict with Iran to a full fledged war.

    Worrying, but this is still only a potential evil (assuming war with Iran would be an unjust war, which - given their recent nuclear proclivities - might not be the case) as opposed the actual evil of the slaughter of 4,000 innocent children per day in the U.S.

    I'm worried that while millions are in poverty in the US he will direct even more tax money to fund our military industrial complex and ramp up domestic surveillance through the increased use of drones, and I'm afraid he supports the privatization of prisons which creates a self-perpetuating cycle of increased police aggression and imprisonment.

    So, you're worried that he'll do the exact same things that Obama is doing right now. It seems these practices (which are evil if innocents are being targeted, I completely agree on that) will continue regardless of who is elected, so why is this a reason to not vote for Romney? His position is the same as Obama's so change won't be effected either way.

    I'm worried that the freedom of speech will be lost by dissenters first and foremost and that peaceful protesters of all stripes will be persecuted, spied on, and imprisoned by the government that has created to protect them.

    On what evidence is this fear based? I'm worried that my freedom of religion will be lost if Obama is re-elected, and that peaceful pro-life protesters will continue to be persecuted by the Obama administration.

    Finally, I believe he will usher in a new age of austerity in the US that only targets the lower and middle classes with the false guarantee that the job creators will rescue us. The fabric that connects Romney to the corporate elite convinces me that he will do their bidding at all costs, and to the detriment of Americans like you and I.

    Again, this based on what evidence? Actual job-creators disagree with you. And how does this surmount the 4,000 innocent children per day being killed?


  56. Hi CitizensUnited,

    Please don’t be fooled into thinking a Romney presidency will reduce abortion rates in this country.

    Under Romneycare abortions were taxpayer funded. In Mass, a co-pay for an abortion (normally a $400 procedure) cost a patient $50.00 Romney himself has three grand children born from IVF-- a procedure which is more deadly than abortion because while each abortion normally terminates one embryo/fetus, SEVERAL are terminated/discarded during each round of IVF—yet Romney has never condemned this process.

    Romney has an extensively pro-choice record and has conceded he doesn’t really want to touch abortion. He recently told the Des Moines Register "There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” He later said “The Democrats try and make this a political issue every four years, but this is a matter in the courts. It's been settled for some time in the courts,” indicating he has no intention of challenging the status quo

    Furthermore Romney isn’t even really CLAIMING to be truly pr0-life In August, 2012 in an interview with CBS news, Romney broadened his ‘acceptable abortion parameters’ from ‘rape, incest, and life of the mother’ to ‘rape, incest, life and HEALTH of the mother. As the ladies of this blog can tell you. Health of the mother is exceptionally broad category and includes ‘mental health’ and is entirely up to the presiding physician (which may be an abortionist) to make the call.

    Hope this information was helpful!



  57. CS --

    If Romney is so pro-choice at the present time (and I realize his views have "evolved"), then why are pro-choicers vehemently posting the "truth" about Romney's pro-life politics. Every time I turn on Pandora, I get an ad from the Obama campaign warning me that Romney wants to overturn Roe v. Wade and that I need to vote Obama to protect women. Then take a look at NARAL. They want to clear things up for all the woman out there and make sure we know Romney is pro-life and not to be supported:


    Catholics know that Mormons do not hold the exact same pro-life stance. We know that Romney holds exceptions, and we do not hold exceptions. In fact, that is the entire point of this post -- If it is morally acceptable to vote for someone who isn't pro-life like a Catholic. Leila is arguing that, yes, despite our disagreements on the pro-life issues, it is morally acceptable to vote for Romney. I agree with her, especially with a VP like Paul Ryan and Rick Santorum's endorsement, as well as other faithful and intelligent Catholics who disagree with some of Romney's abortion opinions, but understand that he will move this country in a more pro-life direction. He will certainly not advance the pro-abortion agenda as Obama clearly promises.

  58. I haven't had the chance to read the entire thing, so someone jump in and correct something if you see an error. This website was written by a person who did not like Mitt Romney and wanted sort out some of the things heard in the media. His opinion slowly changed from negative to neutral to positive. For what it's worth, this individual outlines the reasoning behind calling Romney a pro-life candidate.


  59. Watch the entire clip of that CBS interview. While Catholics agree that Romney makes abortion exceptions, and we do not make those exceptions, the quote on Think Progress and even on the CBS article was cut off.


    He says:

    "My position has been clear throughout this campaign," Romney said. "I'm in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest, and the health and life of the mother. Recognize this is the decision that will be made by the Supreme Court," he said. "The Democrats try and make this a political issue every four years, but this is a matter in the courts. It's been settled for some time in the courts. I've come down on the side of life."

    Check out the last line.

    And then he goes on to say that he respects people with different views. He doesn't say here that he wants the status quo -- He is saying that abortion legislation is decided in the courts and has been settled in the courts for some time (meaning procedural, not saying that the issue itself is "settled".) It wouldn't make sense for him to say the issue is over when he is clearly talking about major contention in this country and claiming his side is "life". So we are back to the same conversation -- We disagree on some things with Romney, and we now must decide if it we can still morally vote for him.

    Many of our Protestant brothers and sisters hold this exception. Many, many "pro-life" Protestant politicians also hold these exceptions. Many of our Protestant brothers and sisters use birth control and IVF. We condemn those actions. While it is frustrating, birth control (not including abortion as birth control) will not be settled in a legal arena, and IVF is a long battle down the road...We need to legally recognize the full spectrum of human life and the rights of all humans to life before we can even enter into a legal discussion about IVF with a pro-life Protestant.

    Okay, sorry Leila for taking over while everyone is off watching the VP debate :). I need to watch it now.

  60. Sorry, Leila, I am on the side of "a pox on both your houses". This has just been intensified after the VP debate. Ryan could not get on board with the Catholic Church about abortion. He said that the Romney/Ryan ticket is A-OK with abortions in the event of incest, rape, and the life of the mother. The only one of these that could even possibly find a position in the Catholic Church is the death of the mother.

    Yeah, Biden is worse, but both positions are Evil. I will not vote for Romney/Ryan and I will not vote for Obama/Biden.

    I do not think it is a sin to vote for the major party candidate that one believes is less evil, but I cannot see a real difference. Everyone should vote their (well-informed) conscience.

    May God Bless America, and help us to do His will.

  61. Chris...haha! Yeah.

    MaryMargaret, Ryan in fact DID absolutely get on board with the Church's position on abortion. In fact I think he did a great job of differentiating his own stance (life begins at conception) vs. the OFFICIAL PLATFORM of the Romney/Ryan ticket. I think he tried very hard, without being so blunt, to get the point across that he doesn't agree with it, but it's what he has to toe at this point.

    Finally, it blows my mind that you cannot see a real difference between the candidates. Not sure what else I can say to that.

  62. Elizabeth, thank you for taking that! Chris, that's not what the CNN snap poll said.

    MaryMargaret, so you are saying that the points made in the original post (the Church teaching that to mitigate an evil is actually a good) is invalid? Where do you get the basis of your decision if you are rejecting the points of the article? Your feelings? I mean, you are allowed to of course, but you know that you are going way past what the Church says, right?

    I don't get Catholics who will not work to mitigate evil, due to some sense of needing to be "above it", but knowing that a greater evil will surely be let loose. Obama is PERSECUTING our Church and PERSECUTING the unborn. Romney/Ryan is not. You can stay out of it, but when does that become a sin of omission? I'm truly asking. If you can mitigate evil and don't, are you responsible?

  63. Let's back up,

    1) Does God support any other government, save His own? Which isn't a government so much as it is a Kingdom. His will, will be done. No votes. We can render unto Caesar what is Caesars but will have to render unto God what is God's.

    2) Who are we to say what is what with such cosmic and infallible precision? Was it the 11th commandment or something that stated in the year 2012 in a general election hosted by limited selfish biped earth creatures call men, by one small short lived nation on the third planet from a unspectacular star, in the milky way galaxy in the Virgo super-cluster of galaxies in God's seventy-fourth incarnation of the cosmos, there will be a candidate that is kinda whishy-washy, make sure go ahead and vote for him over the other bad guy, thus it has been written. All the other wars and disasters, deaths and trials and tribulations and galactic mystery, beauty and violence has led up to this one defining moment in all time and dimensions. Don't mess up!

    3) personally I don't like Romney or Obama, nor can I predict the future, nor am I general master of the universe but even the God, who is, doesn't tell me who to vote for, and allows my sins to be my own doing, along with my supposedly free will, yet so and so on the internet has everyone's affairs and afterlife all figured out (for God)?... what's next? How I should part my hair, what color shoes are OK to wear on Sunday, How I better fit in and get on board with every expectations or else.

    4) Sin and selfishness will always makes me a slave, but I am always free to show mercy, to be kind to the unkind, to welcome strangers, to give everything to the poor, to love my enemies, to be a good steward of God's resources, to forgive trespasses, to shine on the good and bad like God does.

  64. Ah, but did you see what the undecided voters said, according to CNN? Different story.

  65. Dellentie, so I'm guessing then that you will not address the principles stated in the original post? You can keep talking to yourself or you can have a dialogue. If you'd like to address the actual points made by Priests for Life, Cardinal O'Connor, and Blessed John Paul II, above, that'd be great!

    Also, are you Catholic? If not, that may explain why we are having trouble communicating, as this was a post about Catholic principles and voting.

    Chris, I haven't had a chance, but I hope to do a lot of reading up on the debate results tomorrow. I will check it out!

  66. Nicole C, you totally nailed Ryan's stance on abortion. He definitely spent the last few minutes really focusing on the Catholic audience but he knew to remain distant enough not to alienate himself from middle America and to appear moderate. He had definitely studied hard prior to this debate, but came off too robotic and rehearsed to win over a wide new audience. He also was too polite, and did not deny Biden's ability to interrupt and interject into the debate. I think the moderator was not trying to balance the debate by trying to correct the absolute domination of Biden, but she may not have felt it her journalistic responsibility to do so. Overall I was highly entertained by this debate, and I feel very empathetic towards both candidates.

  67. On that CNN poll, here's a relevant quote from CNN's polling director:

    "One-third of the respondents who participated in tonight's survey identified themselves as Republicans, with 31% identifying themselves as Democrats, and 34% identifying themselves as independents.

    "That indicates that the sample of debate watchers is more Republican than an average of recent CNN polls of all Americans," adds Holland."


  68. Mary Margaret wrote:

    "Yeah, Biden is worse, but both positions are Evil. I will not vote for Romney/Ryan and I will not vote for Obama/Biden.

    I do not think it is a sin to vote for the major party candidate that one believes is less evil, but I cannot see a real difference."

    Besides the point Leila has already made about how a Romney presidency would do more to limit the intrinsic evil of abortion, here's another reason there is a real difference between these candidates:

    I think it's a safe bet that Romney would appoint Supreme Court (and other federal)justices who are far more likely to defend the unborn than Obama. This is a huge factor and is reason enough to vote for Romney as opposed to sitting out the election. I happen to think there are roughly a hundred other great reasons that Romney is far, far preferable to Obama, but that one alone should be enough for Romney to get 100% of the pro-life vote in this election.

  69. Thank you so much for this post. My husband and I were just having this discussion last night after watching the VP debate and we were trying to find the sources for which to base our vote on concerning the information you provided "What happens if two opposing candidates both support abortion [in all or some cases]?"

    I am fairly new to your blog and haven't commented (until now) since I am reading from the beginning. I found you through a Mrs. Bogart and I am very greatful for her recommendation. You provide a wealth of knowledge as do the other ladies/men who back up our Catholic positions. Thank you once again for some clarity!

  70. The USCCB just issued a statement correcting Mr. Biden's understanding of his Catholic faith, and his understanding of the HHS mandate issued from his office building.

    Surely those who question the wisdom of voting for the Republican guys can't be seeing wisdom in the other guys, can they?

  71. Agreed Steve and Do Not Be Anxious.

    And Biden himself "warned" the public that the next president will appoint Supreme Court justices and, given the current field of justices, there is a real "threat" that the Romney/Ryan pick would result in overturning Roe. Overturning Roe! Biden, of course, viewed that as a negative and reassured the American public that abortion was safe under Obama. We are risking the potential to overturn Roe if we refuse to meaningfully participate in the voting process.

  72. I agree 100% that it is not sinful to vote for Romney for almost anyone who reads this blog. However, I think that many people (Catholics included) will sin in their vote for Romney. Many people will vote for Romney specifically because he is a pro-choice Republican. He has taken that stance specifically, and cynically, to appeal to pro-choice Republicans and undecideds (that is a point that is beyond debate). I think it is this insidious ploy to get pro-abortion people to vote for him (and therefore sin gravely) that bothers me the most about Romney, and makes me almost ashamed of Ryan, who is a Catholic who should know better.

    Many of us will vote for him to limit evil, but I believe in doing so we will be putting one of the final nails in the GOP is pro life coffin. Romney is CLEARLY not pro life and makes NO secret of that. Indeed, Paul Ryan, the uber Catholic, paradoxically explained in the VP debate that while a fetus is a human life at conception a Romney administration would be fine with killing that life in cases of rape, incest, or when the life and health of the mother are at stake. That amounts to being pro-abortion. I can't tell you how ashamed I was of Ryan when he talked about his "bean" in the debate and then went on to say that others can kill their "beans". That position is about the same as the one that Biden articulated.

  73. Leila- it's so helpful to have things like the list of how to vote with a clear conscience. I know another aquaintance of mine was sending around the article about Romney's less than 100% prolife stance, as well as Ryan's anti-social-justice stance. It's getting frustrating to keep voting against the greater of two evils. But there is always hope, yes?

  74. Marc, why would electing Romney be one of the final nails in the pro-life coffin? The alternative for 2012 is Obama, and he is an unabashed supporter of the intrinsic evil that is abortion.

    Obama would almost certainly appoint pro-choice judges, including likely one or two on the Supreme Court. Okay, you don't trust Romney's internal sincerity as a pro-lifer -- I get it. I also get that allowing abortion in cases of rape or incest is still intrinsiically evil -- but the law already allows that now. What could Romney possibly do that is worse than what Obama would do? I assert that in court appointments alone he will be vastly better than Obama.

    Bishop Olmstead has directed us that in matters of intrinsic evil such as abortion, Catholics are obligated to support the candidate that would most limit the evil (assuming there is no viable candidate that would eliminate the evil). In this case, that is clearly Romney. In my opinion, a decision to not vote in this election on the grounds that neither candidate is adequately pro-life would be misguided and would likely have tragic consequences for the unborn.

  75. Marc, those Catholics who would cast a vote for Romney because he is partially "pro-choice" would already be in sin on that point, even before they voted. Their voting would not change that. But we can't be concerned with the internal disposition of those who vote for him for those reasons. But we are very much responsible for our own vote.

    Frankly, I don't understand who Catholics could even vote for if we had to only go with those who are 100% in line with our Faith? I think that is what the secularists would love: Keep Catholics out of the public square. They don't want us to vote. But our Church is VERY MUCH of the opposite opinion.

    As for Paul Ryan's statement last night. I listened twice. He said that was the position of "a Romney administration", but he said that he believes life begins at conception. I think he handled it well. This is not a Catholic nation. We are to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. I think he did well with what he has, and in the state of the nation we live in. God bless him.

  76. I liked what Karl Keating of Catholic Answers said about it:

    Near the end of the vice presidential debate the moderator asked the candidates' view on abortion. I wasn't surprised by Biden's answer because I well knew that he is one of those "I don't want to impose my views" Catholics. Ryan's answer disappointed me because of a missed opportunity.

    Ryan said he believed that human life begins at conception, but then he said that the Romney administration endorses exeptions for rape and incest. What he should have said is this:

    "Gov. Romney and I disagree somewhat on abortion. I am opposed to abortion in all cases. This comports with the teaching of my church. Gov. Romney, following the teaching of his church, thinks abortion is morally permissible in cases of rape and incest. I disagree, and I hope over time to bring him around to my view of the matter. In the meantime, I can say that the position he backs is much closer to my position than is President Obama's and Vice President Biden's."

    Ryan would have gained stature had he distanced himself from his running mate. Instead, all he accomplished on the issue was to indicate that he is willing to set aside his own principles for the sake of political expediency. That's not nearly as attractive.

    And I also like the answer to Keating's remarks from a facebook friend, who also runs Catholic Lane:

    Mary Kochan: He said more than merely that he believes life begins at conception. He said that it was not based merely on his faith, but on reason and science. That was an important point to make. He went on to say what the policies of a Romney administration would be. I think he did well given how little time there was for the answer. His job was not to distinguish himself from Romney, but to distinguish Romney from Obama.

    And then another friend, Susan:

    I wasn't disappointed at all. He did a very good job explaining the difference between principle and policy. It reminded me of the recent gospel on divorce how God never intended to allow divorce but that our hard hearts made it necessary for Moses to define the method for divorce. Principle vs. policy. The policy clearly isn't perfectly moral. He conceded that.

  77. Christine, yes there is alway hope. Unless Catholics bow out because they are waiting for a perfect political system in a perfect world. Then, we have no hope at all. We must work and live and function in the real world which is presented to us.

    Yes, I am frustrated, can you tell? ha ha

  78. Steve,

    I said one of the final nails in the GOP is pro life coffin, not the pro life coffin. I also said I agree with Leila's post 100% that it is not a sin to vote for Romney.

    This is not about me not trusting Romney's "internal sincerity" as a pro lifer. Anyone who thinks he has any sincerity is deluding themselves. He has publically said he is pro-choice. Over and over again. The rape, incest and especially "life and health of the mother" verbiage can be used to justify abortions for almost any reason, as Fr. Pavone has pointed out in numerous places. So again, let's not fool ourselves on that.

    Also, when Romney says he will appoint judges who rule based on stare decisis what makes you think he will appoint judges who would overturn Roe?

  79. Marc, my apologies -- reading Leila's recent reply makes me realize that I misunderstood the intent of your post. Let me second Leila's reply and add that the unborn can't afford to wait for everyone to vote for the right reasons. They just need our nation to elect candidates who will do the most to limit this evil now, even if some voters may do so for the wrong reasons.

    Also, if that means our abortion laws have to be dismantled in stages, that's better than making no progress at all.

  80. Marc, I now see your reply. I don't know for sure that Romney would appoint judges who would overturn Roe, but in this election the choices are Romney or Obama. I do feel very strongly that there's a much better chance of getting the right judge appointed under Romney than under Obama. Don't you?

  81. Leila,

    That is not the case. It is one sin to hold that belief, and another to act on it, by voting for Romney. Those are two related, but different sins, and Romney is counting on people to sin in that way to get elected. As Fr. Pavone wrote, those people would be choosing evil, rather than limiting evil. I think that is clear.

    Yes, you are right, Ryan said that, and it was a statement that is not in accord with what a Catholic can believe. Ryan is by definition a part of the Romney administration. That was not him being as wise as a serpent, but about him being disengenuous. The quote from Keating is what he should have said if he wanted to stay true to the Church, but instead he said what he was told to say.

    I have said twice now, that I agree with your post, but I think it would be nice if you were willing to say that you can see where I am coming from and why I am very leery of continuing to vote for the GOP and Romney who is pro-choice, especially. In fact, I wish you could fo farther and say that a case can be made (Shea makes it better than I do) for not voting for Romney. Instead, you excorciate those of us who feel like dupes for voting GOP.

    Also, I don't really care that Romney only forced Catholics to violate their consciences at the state level, and not the Federal level. It's still a persecution of the Church, unconstitutional, and he continues (recently in the pres debate) to praise his state level version.

  82. Steve,

    I think there is a very little chance that Roe will be overturned regardless of who is President. I mean this very sincerely and without even a hint of condescension: I wish I still believed that electing a GOP President would make any difference to the Gay marriage debate or the abortion debate.

    This is from an article I linked to on another post:

    Since Roe v. Wade was passed, we’ve had five-terms of anti-Roe Republican presidents. That’s 20 years of men appointing Justices to a Supreme Court that has refused to overturn Roe. That same court, by the way, banned anti-sodomy laws and paved the way for gay marriage across the United States.
    "I’m always surprised that social conservatives can be convinced every four years or so that voting Republican will aid their cause. We have three generations of experience that says this is simply not the case. But time and time again, there are the social conservatives pulling the lever—or pressing the touch screen—voting on the basis of hope over experience."


    I think radical change is what we need, not a further dillution of what it means to be "pro life" and I think a Romney/Ryan ticket is not the answer.

    We need to re-evaluate our strategies.

  83. One thing that hasn't been mentioned in this thread is that very recently Romney said one of his first orders of business would be to defund Planned Parenthood. That's an enormous incremental step. One that we can't ignore. I know it's hard to trust Romney...it's hard to trust any politician. But we KNOW what Obama will do. Our best bet is to take Romney at his word. If he fails that's on him. But if he's serious about defunding the nation's largest abortion provider, that's something that pro-lifers simply can't ignore!

  84. Marc, when the stakes are this high, when we have a Church persecutor in the White House who wants to go farther (wait till you see what he does when he has no fears for re-election), when he is the most radical of pro-aborts, then no, I cannot for the life of me understand Mark Shea's position. It literally hurts my heart (I feel the actual heaviness) when I read his stuff on the issue, and read it I have. I cannot comprehend it. It's like saying, "The house is burning down at the hands of an arsonist (Obama), and I can send in a guy who will slow the fire, thus saving some of the folks inside (Romney), but instead, I will give the nod to the really earnest dude around the corner who can't make it to the house at all (third party guy)." So, the arsonist wins! And everyone dies.

    Or, for those who sit out the election completely, "I will not send in anyone who cannot save them all, so I will sit here and watch the house burn."

    Honestly, I can't see it any other way. I have tried and tried, but I cannot see it.

    The time to work on better candidates is in the primaries. Why not run for office, or recruit some good people? We need to do better. But we also have to live in reality.

    One last thought: Jesus said that one who lusts in his heart has already committed (the mortal sin of) adultery. Same with voting. It's all about the will. Let's say I have the will to vote for Obama or Romney because of their "pro-choice" stance. But I can't get to the polls because I am ill. I am still equally as morally culpable for that desire to vote for something evil. It is the same sin. It's what is in the heart that defiles a man. The vote is just a manifestation of the evil of one's heart. But the mortal is already there, once the will has been set.

  85. Also, please remember that this is NOT a Catholic country and most Catholics are not Catholic! So, we are dealing with a nation that needs conversion most of all. We will not be able to strong arm anyone to our position simply via the ballot box. Are changing laws essential? Yes! But in this climate we will never get the job done that way. We must change hearts. We are living in mission territory. This is a post-Christian nation. Saying that we need to do something radical means….what? Be further marginalized as Catholics? What if we form our own party? Then, we have even LESS influence and are more easily dismissed.

    We evangelize. We persuade. We propose. We speak truth. And we vote to limit evil, if that is our realistic choice. I don't know what radical route you are talking about.

    And remember, we recently put in the Republican Platform that life begins at conception (science, duh, but at least it's there). That is a good thing, not a step backward. And states are doing well at putting up restrictions. These are steps forward. And the nation is becoming more pro-life, esp. young people. Steps forward.

    So, now is not the time to marginalize ourselves in the political sphere.

  86. Marc,

    Thanks for clarifying your thoughts. You may be right that Roe won't be overturned via Court challenges. I just know that I would like Romney's appointees a whole lot better than Obama's, even if for reasons other than Roe v Wade.

    I can accept the premise that we might need radical change, although I don't see a good argument that allowing Obama to be re-elected in 2012 would be helpful in that regard. Do we need things to get worse before they get better? I'm not in that camp; I'm for not letting things get worse, to the extent possible.

    I also don't think that voting for Romney dilutes what it means to be pro-life. Romney/Ryan is substantially more pro-life than Obama/Biden, in my opinion. Electing Romney/Ryan does not mean that we are then satisfied with their stance on the issue. It doesn't mean Romeny's view is our view. It's just a prevention of even more damage being done in a second Obama term (on this and a whole variety of issues).

    You may be right that we need to re-evaluate our strategies. But there's not much we can do in the next month except limit the damage.

    How about we elect Romney, make some incremental progress, and then in 2016 and/or 2020 elect a more charismatic conservative leader who believes the truth about the evils of abortion? I'm not sure what other strategies you have in mind, but I for one am willing to listen.

    As to the narrow topic of this election, though, I see no recourse other than to vote for Romney. I will admit that in other matters of prudential judgment (not the intrinsic evil of abortion), I think Romney is far superior to Obama, and this influences my zeal. But even solely on the issue of abortion, I agree with Leila that voting for Romney is the right course in this election.

  87. Leila - amen to your two posts above. I should just wait and let you post every time I'm tempted to weigh in.

    Nicole - great point about defunding Planned Parenthood. That would be more impactful, or at least more certain, than my hopefulness that Romney would appoint better judges.

  88. Steve, I'm glad you don't wait, ha ha. Jump in anytime. We need lots of voices to have this conversation, and I appreciate the calm you bring to it. And Marc knows I love him, too. :)

  89. Leila, I couldn't agree more. I feel the exact same heaviness, and I think your analogies are spot on. I was having similar thoughts last night. Part of me wonders if we, as pro-lifers, truly comprehend that those babies in the womb are real people, that the mothers caught in the middle are real people. We seem to "get it" intellectually, but I'm not sure it's entirely real to us. Because I can't quite imagine having the same conversation if we were talking about, say, people imprisoned in concentration camps. If the German people had the option of replacing Hitler with someone else -- someone who wasn't willing to free everyone, but was willing to roll back the operation and start freeing people -- would we really just throw our hands up in the air in disgust and stay out of it because the alternative wasn't ready to make everything right immediately (assuming we knew the scope of the evil, which we do in the case of abortion)? Would we really leave people to languish in camps while we worked out our inner turmoil and debated intentions and the future of the GOP regarding the only realistic options on the table?

  90. Wouldn't that analogy be more accurate if Obama was openly putting people in death camps and then Romney came around and said everyone will be free, but earlier on they spied Romney sitting down with his guards working out how to keep everyone in. Your getting upset at people not trusting Romney. They simply don't trust his statements. It's like saying your daughter has three choices at prom, date the proven rapist, date the reformed rapist, or sit it out at home, if she sits it out she going to make the biggest mistake. Choose wisely! Goodness, there's gotta be better ways to get people on our side than by guilting / manipulating them into right actions. We don't seem to think that highly of others ( at best they're only capable of imperfect contrition ) and I think that's how we're failing them in some way. It is a bit gossipy and condescending to assume that we are the only ones capable of high reasoning, good morals or sincere actions (and personally I'm not too won over on the Catholic's having the sincere actions part)... and if we are somehow capable, it's only the smallest of requirements, not something to be proud of.

  91. Dellentie, what is your point? Sit out the election? Not quite sure what you are saying.

    Anyway, you never answered me: Are you Catholic? And, can you address the points of the post? Or are you trying to get at the point that you disagree with the Catholic position that it's okay to vote to limit evil? I am very unclear about your points.

    I find it hard to believe that there is anyone out there who really thinks that Romney can do as much damage to the Church and to the unborn as Obama. Obama is in a class by himself.

    If you think they are "the same" in essence, then we have reached our point of clarity and can go no further. I couldn't disagree with you more if that's the case. The two candidates are not the same, not by a long shot.

  92. Your getting upset at people not trusting Romney.

    ?? I never said this, ever. Even I don't "trust" Romney. He's a flip flopper. You keep changing my words and meanings. You never apologized for changing my actual quotes earlier. Why do you feel the need to do this? (See comment at 8:14am yesterday) Please refrain from misrepresentation in the future. I don't allow that here.

  93. It's like saying your daughter has three choices at prom, date the proven rapist, date the reformed rapist, or sit it out at home, if she sits it out she going to make the biggest mistake.

    And I'm sorry, but this is bizarre. It's not analogous. If going to the polls to vote would put my daughter in danger of being raped, then perhaps I would tell her she should sit it out. But we live in America, and voting does not put one in physical danger.

    This is the only way your "rape" analogy would apply to the discussion at hand: If we had only two candidates, one of whom was for mandatory rape of girls, and one who would vote to limit the rape of girls (though not eliminate it completely), you can bet your patootie that I would vote for the second candidate and not sit it out.

    I will vote to limit evil every chance I get. To vote to limit evil is a good.

  94. My husband refuses to vote for Romney because he would never vote for a Mormon (or as he puts it - the guy belongs to a "cult"). He's not voting for Obama either, and I've never known him to vote for a 3rd party candidate, so I'm afraid he might be sitting this election out :(. It really bugs me, but what can you do?

  95. I just stumbled upon this quote, and I thought it was very relevant to this conversation:

    “You must not abandon the ship in a storm because you cannot control the winds…. What you cannot turn to good, you must at least make as little bad as you can.” -- St. Thomas More

  96. Elizabeth, I get all kinds of giddy when I read St. Thomas More, but this just takes the cake! Thank you! And considering his story and position (quite a political one), that is even more powerful.

    callmemama, you can't really do anything, of course. I would suggest to my husband (if it were me) that we are not electing a theologian-in-chief, and our duty is to vote for whomever holds policy views closest to my own values.

    I don't care about his theology. I care about his policies.

  97. If I really thought Romney was pro-life..I might vote for him. Frankly, I do not believe that he is pro-life. As far as I know, we have never had any Republican really work for pro -life legislation, and we have been assured by members of Romney's family that he does not really care about the pro-life cause. Really, why would anyone believe that he is even sorta, kinda pro-life?

    It does not actually matter who, or even if, I vote for President. I am a resident of Kansas, and Romney will get our electoral votes. I am no longer willing to vote for the one who tells us what we want to hear. We have been lied to for too many years. I would also like to hear just one candidate say that killing people with no legal redress is wrong. If the major party candidates cannot say this, then I will vote third party, or just skip the Presidential vote.

  98. MaryMargaret, I sympathize with your frustrations. Most of my family, however, live in swing states. They do not actually have the luxury of sitting it out and relying on everyone else to make the choice. I live in a blue state. While I am 99% certain it will go to Obama, I'm going to use my little vote for what its worth, on the small possibility that we could go Romney, and I will just have to maintain some faith in the rest of the people in this country. I wish the Catholic vote in this country would unite. We wouldn't be in this mess if we could unite. But I guess that is part of our broken world.

  99. I have one daughter and son-in-law living a swing state. I do not know how they will vote.

    I am not confident that Romney is better than Obama. I have prayed about this a great deal. I do not think that there will be any difference in abortion rates, and I do not think that Romney will be any better regarding the killing of people without any chance of legal redress.

    After prayerful consideration, I can NOT vote in favor of either major party candidate. I am, however, considering not filing my income tax statement if the HHS mandate stands. I do not and will not allow the government to control me.

  100. MaryMargaret, while I admire your convictions, I still wish you (or anyone with your position, who is Catholic and will not vote for Romney) would address the actual points in the original post. It's just strange that no one will.

    And, I don't understand how anyone can say that Romney and Obama are the same. It does not compute in my mind at all. Considering all that is at stake on so many levels, and their stark ideological differences, they are like night and day it seems to me.

  101. I believe the points that you are addressing are these:

    1) Is it sinful to vote for Romney? No, I do not believe that it is. Each person must consult his own conscience, and choose the candidate that he believes is deserving of his vote.

    2) Is Mitt Romney a better candidate for pro-life people?
    No..I do not believe that he will be ANY different than Obama. I do not think that he will do anything to limit or ban any level of abortion. I think that he is LYING to us to get our votes.

    Therefore, I will not vote for either major party candidate. If I believed that there would be any difference, I might. I just don't believe it. I hope I have addressed the issues in your original post. If not, please let me know which issue(s) I have failed to address, and I will try to do so.

  102. MaryMargaret, thanks and just a couple more questions for clarity:

    1) Are you saying that it's not a sin to vote for either Romney or Obama?

    2) So, you believe that Romney will definitely continue the active persecution of the Church, continuing the HHS mandate and fighting our Catholic charities in federal court? He will continue doing all that that Obama administration started? Also, he will interfere with the states' legislative efforts on pro-life causes? For example, he will do as Obama did in Texas? When Texas defunded Planned Parenthood, Obama came in with lawsuits and punishments (withholding millions of funds for poor women in Texas). You think Romney will sue states and punish them for pro-life moves?

    One last thing: When the Pope warned (unprecedented) that America was currently in danger of losing religious liberty, you believe he was warning about a Romney administration as much as the current one?


  103. 1) Yes, I am. I do not believe it is necessarily a sin to vote for either candidate. That would depend on an individual's reason for voting for the candidate. I do not try to judge any individual's reasoning process. If, however, one is voting for President Obama because that person is pro-choice, then that would be objectively wrong and, therefore, a sin..IF the person understands that abortion is wrong. Not all pro-choice persons understand this.

    2) I really don't know. I think that Romney will do whatever is most likely to get him the most support. I simply think that it is a mistake to vote for someone because he might do less evil. We are wasting our influence by doing so in my opinion.

    3) I love our Holy Father and respect and consider everything he says. I do think that he was warning us about the HHS mandate, but I doubt that he was specifically warning us about any particular administration. We must resist..I just am just not convinced that the best way to resist is to vote for the Romney/Ryan ticket.

  104. aaargh..one too many "just"'s in the third paragraph. Just want to make one thing crystal clear..I did not vote for Obama in 2008 and will not vote for him in 2012. I will NEVER vote for anyone who thinks that is is A-OK to suck a baby's brains out just because the head has not been delivered. I will NEVER vote for anyone who thinks that a child is a punishment. But, just because I will not vote for Obama, that does not mean that I will vote for Romney. I do not trust him and cannot, in all good conscience, vote for him.

  105. MaryMargaret, fair enough. I wish I could change your mind. I believe it is 99% likely that Romney will not persecute Christ's Church, and I know it's 100% likely that Obama will (and has). Same percentage of likelihoods for persecution of state's who put forth abortion restrictions.

    In this election, at this moment, we have only one chance to mitigate a grave evil (yes, the Pope had to be talking about the Obama administration, as there is no other administration I know of that has put forth the HHS mandate!). The only chance for mitigation is Romney, and I will go so far to say that for the sake of my own soul (speaking for myself), I had better vote to limit evil when I can. Because four more years of Obama should be unthinkable to a Catholic, in ways that no other candidate has ever been or could be. Goodness, Bill Clinton would be better than Obama, and Romney is surely better than Clinton!

    One more thought: I believe that one may not licitly vote for a 100% pro-abort if there is another, more pro-life (even if not perfectly pro-life) candidate available and viable. Because the pro-life issue trumps all others. Only if the two candidates were equal on the pro-life/pro-abortion issue (which they are not in this case), could one licitly vote for either. (Read Cardinal O'Connor's quote in the OP.)


  106. Thank you for writing this, Leila. I am weary of my Catholic friends in my Facebook news feed who are decrying what I see as a logical, strategic vote to get O out of power. These people yammer about their vote being a "moral action they must reconcile before God," therefore they could never vote for Romney. I contend that my vote is the same, yet still has potential to make An Actual Difference. Enough already! St. Thomas More says it all!

    Did any of these third-party or "non-voting" martyrs notice that Biden actually shut up and got serious when discussing Romney's potential to overturn Roe v. Wade? The man ceased with the guffawing and seemed WORRIED that Governor Romney could appoint Supreme Court justices to overturn it! Need we say more? Our Vice President is not afraid of Ron Paul. He's afraid of Romney (slim a shot for the unborn though he may be). To whom else could our pro-life vote go??

    And now my blood pressure is up.

  107. Recovered Catholic, thank you, thank you, thank you!! I couldn't agree with you more. This is just one of those things that leaves me scratching my head and wanting to scream at the same time! This one is a no-brainer, folks!!

    Amen to St. Thomas More!!

  108. My two cents:
    A vote for Romney stops the bleeding and releases the choke-hold on the Church. But I can't bring myself to "rah rah rah" the guy.

    It's bleak no matter which way you slice it.
    And it's worse with all the peer pressure in blogland to vote for Romney, or else...

    I appreciate the informative posts here and elsewhere, I appreciate the endorsement of Romney and the conscience check, but I can't appreciate a certain vein of communication I've seen among my brothers and sisters in the Church regarding Romney and the good he's supposedly going to do.

    Between this election and the NHL lockout, I'm pretty smoked.

  109. Nubby, Sounds like you are in good company. One of my personal faves on the blogosphere, Dale Price, says it pretty clearly here. http://dprice.blogspot.com/2012/10/romney-for-president-sigh.html

    I do agree with Dale and with Leila and many others here that Romney may remove the HHS mandate. That certainly could be a reason to vote for him, and I would lean that way myself IF I lived in a state that was less reliably red than Kansas. However, as I do live in Kansas, I see no reason to vote for a man whom I simply do not trust on anything (including the HHS mandate, although I am hopeful). I think registering a protest against both parties is a better strategy for me.

    Thanks for being, as usual, calm and rational in discussions, Leila and others.

  110. I think registering a protest against both parties is a better strategy for me.

    When you say "for me", could you elaborate? Do you think you would be in sin voting for Romney and if so, how (according to Catholic principles)? And, do you think that the strategy should be what's best for you, or for the nation and for the Church? I know you probably didn't mean to say you were only acting for your own interests (which would make sense if it's about personal sin), but that stuck out to me.

    I also appreciate the calm debate! :) Thank you!

  111. "For me" means that no matter who I vote for, all Kansas electoral votes are going to go for Romney. No, I don't think I would sin in voting for Romney, if I really believed that he would be better (which I am not sure that I do), but I also don't think I am sinning in registering a protest vote.

    As I said, if I resided in a swing state, this would be a much more difficult decision for me. I think that all persons in the US should examine their consciences and vote the best way that they can. If one believes that a vote for Romney is a vote for the Church, then of course they should vote for him. Obama is clearly a non-starter for any semi-serious Catholic.

    At this point, I am voting my conscience, as I expect all Catholics to do. I do not trust Romney or Obama, so I am going to write in or vote a third party.

  112. "When you know what the right thing is to do and you fail to do it, it is a sin." James 4:17
    There is no justification for voting for Romney. He is a Mormon. He is anti-Christ; the Mormon Jesus is not the Christian Jesus. The evil deeds Mormons are a part of is abiding in and proclaiming a counterfeit Christ which is anti-Christ, this while claiming he is the true Christ.
    A Romney presidency would promote Mormonism. Everytime Romney mentioned God or Jesus, people would be confused and accept Mormonism as a Christian religion, instead of the anti-Christ cult it is. Leading many people to everlasting damnation. 2Cor.11:3-6 "but I am afraid that as tbe serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough."

  113. Romney is the anti-Christ? Um, I consider this spam or trolling. So be warned that the next time you post, you will be deleted.

    As for the idea that a Mormon as president is problematic, I respond that I am not electing a theologian -in-chief, I am voting for a man who can run the country with competence, and who is closest to my own set of values and thoughts on policy. No matter who runs, that's what I vote on.

    Move along now.

  114. The post was a mere comment as to why I would/could not vote for Romney as it was a sin to me. As you stated your reason as to why it was not a sin. And if you study Mormonism, the religion does not follow the teachings of the Catholic faith or Christianity. They do believe in a false Christ. To be anti-Christ is not neccesarily against, it can also mean instead of. I said he was anti-Christ not "THE." The same as if I said, "I am anti-abortion."
    Your choice is based on your religion. Most people do vote that way. Most people make decisions that way. Romney will make decisions based on his background, which includes his religion.
    If you ever have a few, Google "The Mass Insanity of American Voters," by Jeremy R. Hammond.
    And this is your blog and no disrespect was meant to you. I just believe that the lesser of two evils is still evil. If people would quit settling for the "lesser of two evils," we might get canidates who practice values which are much closer to our own.

  115. Evil,

    Our choices are between a faithful Mormon who actually follows the teachings of his faith, or a self-proclaimed Christian who doesn't follow the teachings of his faith. One of them WILL win.

    I'd rather have the guy with integrity, myself.

  116. Just to clarify, not only am I not voting for the lesser of two evils, I am not voting for the greater of two evils. What do we get when we vote for the lesser of two evils? We get evil. And then we are left to wonder why we are surrounded by it. Am I throwing my vote away? No more than half the nation who will vote for the eventual loser.
    "I will hold on to my integrity. I cannot, will not, part with that." Job 27:6

  117. Evil,

    As Leila's post clearly states:

    One of the two of them will be elected; there is no question about that. So you are not free right now, in this race, to really choose the candidate you want. Forces beyond your control have already limited your choices. Whichever way the election goes, the one elected will not have the position we want elected officials to have on abortion.

    In this case, it is morally acceptable to vote for the candidate who will do less harm. This is not "choosing the lesser of two evils." We may never choose evil. But in the case described above, you would not be choosing evil. Why? Because in choosing to limit an evil, you are choosing a good.

  118. JoAnna, thanks for taking that. And to the commenter (sorry, that name is too long to type), are you Catholic? I am guessing not. My audience for this post was Catholics, and I used Catholic thought and teaching as evidence that it is no sin to vote for Romney. In your opinion it is a sin, or evil, to vote for Romney, but your opinion would be at odds with Catholic principles.

    If you are Catholic, then your argument should be stated in light of the Catholic principles above.

    Thank you!

  119. As to Mormonism: It is very true that Mormons do not accept the Trinity as revealed by Christianity. But in a faithful Mormon's mind, he is accepting Christ as he believes Christ to be. I assume the sincerity of a man who practices his faith, even if he is in error. I would vote for Dennis Prager, a Jew, any day of the week, and he clearly does not believe that Christ is the Messiah. But he holds my values and he is a man of integrity.

    There is something very beautiful that Jesus said: "For whoever is not against us is for us." Romney does not stand as an enemy of the Catholic Church. Obama is an enemy of the Catholic Church, to the point of persecuting the Church. This choice is easy.

  120. Here’s the biblical definition for recognizing an anti-Christ spirit. The Holy Bible tells all professing Catholics, Protestants (to include Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, etc.) how to tell if a person is against Jesus Christ. Below are many scriptures that all these professing Christians are aware of:

    Exodus 20: 3 You shall have no other God before me. (This is the first commandment which all Christians should know.)

    1 John 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son.

    1 John 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

    2 John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

    I fear, people voting for Romney, are in danger of denying Jesus Christ and stand in danger of damnation. Are they knowingly throwing their lots in with a person who has repeatedly, unashamedly, and steadfastly confessed his belief in Mormonism. Research Mormonism and find out what he is confessing to and professing belief in. No one dares to ask him about Joseph Smith and his visions. No one dares question his beliefs, which include:

    • There are three sacred books in addition to the Bible(the Mormon's translation of the Bible): The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price. Christians should know what their Bible tells them in Revelation 22:18-19, that this is wrong.

    • The earth is one of several inhabited planets ruled by gods and goddesses, who were at one time humans on other planets. Mormonism is polytheistic in its core. Christians know better, there is no God but God.

    • The Trinity consists of three gods born in different times and place; the Father begot the Son and Holy Ghost through a goddess wife in heaven. Christians know and profess that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary and is the Son of God.

    I appreciate you both taking the time to comment and share your insights. I would in fact be Catholic, and adhere to the teachings of the Gospel as I understand and have been taught. Reality, we could go on and on whipping out scripture to make our case. I will not say either one of us is anymore right than the other. Your thoughts are honest and sincere. I get that you are not neccesarily picking your candidate based solely on theological ideology. In the end we all must do what our conscience allow. However, your thoughts expand my thoughts and I am appreciative of your insights.

  121. Thank you, but why aren't you using Catholic principles to inform your decision? Protestants personally interpret the Bible and can "verse sling" from here to eternity, but we know that the Church is the interpreter of the Scriptures. And we know that Catholic principles are our guide to life in the public square. We trust Christ's Church, which gave us the Scriptures.

    No one is saying you MUST vote for Romney, but I would like for you to address the Catholic principles on voting, which you have not done. Those principles are laid out in the original post, so if you could refer to those points. That is what I would like to see you do.

    Thanks so much!

    1. In other words, your "verse slinging" and your bypassing of Church teaching/authority makes it seem like you are operating in a solely Protestant paradigm. Let's move to a Catholic paradigm (we Catholics are not believers in sola scriptura, and yes, there is a known "right and wrong" when it comes to Scriptural interpretation).

  122. I suspect I attend a church which, based on what I have read on your early Catholic upbringing, must be much like your early Catholic upbringing. What I cited is in fact what I have been given in class. I get your point of view, and understand where you come from and will investigate with a different teacher.

  123. Thanks for this! It makes sense. If you are in a parish that is full of dissent or ignorance, then you are not getting the fullness of Catholic teaching, even if you are getting valid sacraments. It will help to go directly to official Catholic sources and teaching if you suspect you are getting erroneous teaching in your class.

    By the way, I have recently revised and edited my reversion story (I am no longer a "young, twenty-something Catholic, ha ha), and I will be posting it soon. I think a lot of folks can relate to stories like ours, sadly.

    Thanks, again!

    1. Just out of curiosity (if there is one) is there a "true" Catholic website which adheres to the "true" doctrines of our faith? I ask, because I asked another teacher tentatively if the lesson we're working on is more "wordly" than it should be and was told it was ok.

  124. Well, the surest norm for teaching the faith is the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is online, here:


    Also, Catholic Answers is a great source …. www.catholic.com

    On my blogroll are some great Catholic apologists, specifically Shameless Popery, St. Joseph's Vanguard, The Thin Veil, among others. (Check their blogrolls for more great resources, and consider emailing them if you have specific questions.)

    Up at the top of this blog, the tab "Little Teachings" gives some of the basics of our Faith and I will be adding to that as I go.

    If you have any question on any specific point of doctrine, please ask, and if I don't know, I will find out! :)

  125. I thought of you, Leila :). Seriously a good read for anyone still wrestling with the Romney vote, especially over the third-party option.



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