Can a Faithful Catholic Vote For Hillary Clinton?
I recently saw an article by Charles Camosy which suggested that faithful Catholics can vote for Hillary Clinton. It said other things too, but this one point in the article was so outlandishly foolish, I’ll focus on it alone.
I’ll do so by taking the main points of the article piece by piece. I’ll set out the article’s points in their own quotations, then I’ll correct Camosy’s ignorance before we move to his next misrepresentation in his article.
I’ve mentioned this before in a previous Crux piece, but because there appears to be so much confusion on these matters it bears mentioning again. Catholic teaching – from the U.S. bishops to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – does not categorically forbid voting for a pro-choice candidate.
I’ll give you two reasons for this. First, the teaching is meant to be applied to all future elections, not to any one specific race. Since it is impossible to accurately tell people what they should and should not do with regard to future races/elections, specifics must be avoided. Secondly, this is a document from the Catholic Church, which must be careful to come across as both pastoral, not favoring one individual over another and non-partisan. There are many other reasons, but these two may help explain why the USCCB does not focus in and categorically forbid an individual from voting for a pro-abortion candidate. After all, we do have something called separation of church and state, and even if the Clinton campaign thinks the 1st Amendment is a suggestion, we are all better off if both sides respect it.
Indeed, here is the reasoning of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who in his previous role as head of the CDF said:
“When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation [with evil], which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.”
Most bishops have supported this teaching, offering guidance with regard to the factors the faithful must weigh in making their choices this election cycle.
Was Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI considering an abortion activist in the office of President of the United States when he was writing this over a decade ago? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
In fact, the-letter, written before he was elected pope, actually addresses a person’s worthiness to receive the Eucharist. To claim that this is the Church’s stance on voting for a aggressively pro-abortion candidate over a candidate who has stated that he will defund Planned Parenthood, is extremely dishonest.
A minority of bishops, however, are saying things which risk causing confusion among the faithful.
For instance, Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Center, NY recently claimed, “Support of abortion by a candidate for public office…is reason sufficient unto itself to disqualify any and every such candidate from receiving our vote.” And Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, RI, said faithful Catholics should “never vote for any candidate, of any party, who supports abortion.”
Actually, these statements are very helpful because they speak specifically to the circumstances we face today. So often, our bishops are criticized for vague language. Well, we now see how people will distort the vague language and try to use it against the Church, even in the face of very clear language from our bishops.
Bishops, of course, have a proper role in giving their personal views on what – using the words of Benedict – constitutes “proportionate reasons” for voting for a pro-choice candidate. And the faithful should give their views due weight.
Is Charles Camosy trying to pose as a Catholic here? He writes for the National Catholic Reporter (better described as the Distorter), so I presume he isn’t Catholic, but even so, he should realize that the bishops have a duty to provide accurate Church teachings to the faithful in their respective dioceses. Hence the clear teaching that support of an over-the-top abortion advocate is totally contrary to Christ’s teachings.
But according to the U.S. bishops’ own teaching, the views of an individual bishop on these matters cannot be considered binding on Catholics.
Actually, the letter written by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (referenced above by Mr. Camosy himself) clearly states otherwise.
“The Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, with reference to judicial decisions or civil laws that authorize or promote abortion or euthanasia, states that there is a “grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. […] In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to ‘take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law or vote for it’”
Granted, the letter does not specifically prohibit a Catholic from voting for a voracious proponent of abortion over a candidate who has stated he will defend life and defend religious freedom, but the fact is, individual Catholics do have a grave obligation to not to cooperate formally in practices which are contrary to the 5th Commandment, Thou Shalt Not Kill. This means that thou shalt not publicly support a person’s decision to kill an innocent person.
Indeed, the U.S. bishops insist there “may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position even on policies promoting an intrinsically evil act may reasonably decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons.”
Note that Carmosy does not specifically identify abortion in the above excerpt. This is because he could not find a U.S. bishop who did so. The intrinsic evils spoken of in the above excerpt might include numerous moral issues that make up the “seamless-garment“, such as neglecting the poor, discrimination, etc…
These kinds of judgments are “complex,” and require the faithful to employ “a well-formed conscience aided by prudence.”
Please take note. You are more likely to grow in prudence by listening to your bishop than you are reading anything printed in the media today. Charles Camosy is writing about what bishops say, he is not assisting the bishops in deciding what they say. This is an important distinction. Especially when Camosy is in the process of distorting what the bishops have said.
Here are just a few of the questions and factors that a faithful, individual Catholic voter will have to consider and weigh when making their voting decisions:
Excellent! Let’s see if we can come up with some answers.
Which candidates’ proposed policies are likely to save the lives of prenatal children?
Wow! This is a tough one right off the bat! Okay, so I’ll dig in. Let’s see. Hillary promises to champion abortion, Planned Parenthood, taxpayer funding of abortion, … Yep, Hillary looks like the Grim Reaper so far. Let’s compare her to Donald Trump.
Trump says he will defund Planned Parenthood, abortion is disgusting, Roe v. Wade should be reversed and he will defend religious freedom.
Okay folks, this is not a close call at all on Mr. Camosy’s first inquiry. If you think it is, please go away.
Are the candidates telling the truth when it comes to their views on abortion?
Hillary says, “As president, I will always have your back. Defending women’s health means defending access to abortion – not just in theory, but in reality.” I believe what she says here.
Trump says he is now pro-life. He used to be an abortion supporter, but at some point he has changed his position and is now pro-life. What if he is lying? Hillary is still worse because she is not only pro-abortion, she is aggressively pro-abortion and Trump was never aggressively pro-abortion. So at worst, if Trump is lying, we have the typical political position on abortion, which is way better than Clinton’s.
Are the candidates likely to accomplish their abortion-related proposals?
Hillary Clinton’s political power in Washington D.C. will be stunning. She has Bill Clinton and the aggressive and progressive DNC behind her and in front of her are some of the weakest excuses for conservative Republicans the country has ever witnessed. It is going to be a bloody mess in abortion clinics from coast to coast by the time Hillary is done with the Oval Office.
Will Trump defund Planned Parenthood and reverse Roe v. Wade? Maybe. I’ll take the maybe over the certainty here.
Could the pro-life movement recover from Donald Trump becoming its de facto leader?
Was Camosy drunk when he wrote this? Gosh, how could the pro-life movement ever recover from a pro-life president who promises to defend religious freedom, defund Planned Parenthood and reverse the infamous Roe v. Wade decision? What a conundrum!!! Folks, you have just been treated to the world’s dumbest question, courtesy of Charles Camosy.
Could the pro-life movement recover from Hillary Clinton’s judicial nominees and genuinely pro-abortion Democratic leadership?
Not in my lifetime. More importantly, not in the lifetime of my children.
What should we make of the fact that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton support intrinsically evil acts?
We should take them on their face.
Hillary advocates for murder, the changing of religious values as they relate to abortion, the violation of church and state by infiltrating the Catholic Church in the U.S. and causing a revolution and the destruction of the American family by raising LGBT emotions above the fundamental rights of the rest of the American public.
Trump is egotistic, loudmouthed and rude.
How should the likely relative outcomes with regard to abortion be weighed against the likely relative outcomes with regard to, say, the threat of nuclear war?
Hillary Clinton has already proven blatant incompetence with regard to national security and decision-making with regard to threats on American lives. WikiLeaks shows this. Her amateur lack of ability to protect confidential emails and the Americans killed and injured in Benghazi show the rest. She is deplorable. However, we survived the Cold War with Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford at the helm, so history will tell us that nuclear war is a scary thing, just scary enough to deter the aggressor as much as the potential target.
How should the likely relative outcomes with regard to abortion be weighed against the likely relative outcomes with regard to, say the freedom of Muslims and other religious minorities?
Hillary tells us that the radical Islamic terrorists are no serious threat to us and that Islam is a religion of peace. She also tells us that our Christian values need to change. Who is getting the religious protection in Hillary’s camp?
That said, we still have the 1st Amendment which protects the freedom of religion in the U.S. This protects Muslims, Christians, Hindus, agnostics, etc… Trump says he will enforce the 1st Amendment. Hillary has shown she will selectively enforce it, protecting Islam and continuing President Obama’s assault on Christianity.
How should the likely relative outcomes with regard to abortion be weighed against the likely relative outcomes with regard to, say, the separation of powers and the stability of our Republic?
Carmosy has now treated you to the 2nd dumbest question in the history of the world.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, has conspired with numerous very wealthy Democratic benefactors to set up organizations who are imposters of Catholic groups, with the specific intent to sow the seeds of discontent in the American Catholic Church and thereby, cause a revolution in the American Catholic Church.
This is a blatant and unrepentant violation of the separation of church and state and a political party’s attempt to hijack a Church with approximately 71 million U.S. members, so they can utilize the Church as an arm of the Democratic Political Party! (And yes, I am yelling right now)
The Church, in her wisdom, knows that the wild number of possible permutations involved in thinking about these judgments and weighing these factors mean that it is not something about which she can have a teaching.
So because the bishops, by the very nature of the circumstances must avoid violating the separation of church and state and must avoid overstepping their pastoral obligations, Mr. Camosy slips through some apparent cracks in order to twist the words of the bishops and make people think that faithful Catholics can vote for Hillary Clinton, the most aggressive advocate for unlimited abortion that the country as ever had in a presidential race. Mr. Camosy’s tactics are deplorable.
Ultimately, the faithful Catholic voter – though obligated to listen respectfully to their bishop – has the final say.
Not really Charlie. God has the final say. And any Catholic who wishes to lure others into voting for Hillary Clinton or any other staunch advocate for abortion, should repent and publicly withdraw their reckless statements, apparent support or blatant disregard for the sanctity of human life. Luke 17:1-2 is one of those Bible verses that is meant to grab our attention in matters such as this: “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.”