Monday, May 9, 2016

On the Catholic Option to Not Vote

Yes, the Catechism says:


But the Catechism is not meant to be exhaustive of options in every situation, and so the Bishops of the US, in expanding on the particular issue of voting, note in paragraph 36 of "Faithful Citizenship":

"When all candidates hold a position that promotes an intrinsically evil act, the conscientious voter faces a dilemma. The voter may decide to take the extraordinary step of not voting for any candidate"


This actually is perfectly in line with Catholic teaching because one can easily imagine a scenario where both candidates are heinous options.  Imagine a scenario (just for illustrative purposes) where Stalin and Hitler are the two names on the ballot

The Church would never COMPEL us to pick one in that instance, and if there is an instance where it is possible to not vote, then that proves that the Bishops are correct - it is POSSIBLE to not vote


The only question left to discern, then, is whether or not THIS PARTICULAR ELECTION is one in which a person feels they can vote for one of the candidates or not


The thing about discernment, though, is that you can't do it for someone else and no one can do it for you.  I hear a lot of people saying "A Catholic has to vote for candidate ________ in order to stop candidate ___________, you can't sit this election out or it is a sin."


That is patently untrue.  Not voting is NOT NECESSARILY a sin, and each person has to pray and decide, in each election, whether they can in good conscience vote for ANY of the candidates.


2) Another point here: even if you disagree with the Bishop's above, and believe that the Catechism is good but Faithful Citizenship is bad..."exercising one's right to vote" (as the Catechism says) is not the same as "You must vote for one of the two major political party candidates".  I can follow the Catechism and vote for my Dad for President (which I may do)