Sinful voting: Compare and contrast (Updated)

STATEMENT ONE:  “I am not telling you which party or which candidates to vote for or against, but I am saying that you need to think and pray very carefully about your vote, because a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.”

STATEMENT TWO:  “A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a  candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.”

See the difference? It’s huge.

Statement two represents the richness and depth of Catholic moral tradition, which has the capacity to account for the nuances of what can be complex moral decision-making.  Statement one does not.

Statement one is Springfield’s Bishop Paprocki this past week.  Statement two is then-Cardinal Ratzinger in 2004, not long before his election as pope.

UPDATE (10/3/12):

After a flurry of criticism (as well as praise) for his comments, Bishop Paprocki has doubled down on his assertions in an interview with Springfield’s State Journal-Register. He calls abortion a “disqualifying issue” when it comes to who Catholics should vote for.

Interestingly, the same article in the State Journal-Register prominently quotes Deacon Keith Fournier saying, “Bishop Thomas Paprocki is another courageous and holy Bishop … what a gift. He is one of those whom I am now calling ‘Benedict’s Bishops.’” The irony is that in taking this position, Benedict’s bishop is contridicting Benedict himself, as noted above.

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A call to solidarity

Top Catholic Bishops speak out against political rhetoric that paints the poor in an unfavorable light and they say government must do more.Poverty and our call to a preferential option for the poor are the topics of a new statement from Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn. It was released on September 27, the feast of St. Vincent de Paul.

The two bishops highlight the poverty and income inequality in their home city of New York. They note, for example, “[o]ne poignant statistic – in one zip code on the East Side of Manhattan the average household income is about $101,000.  In the South Bronx another zip code’s average income is about $19,800.”

They call upon both private citizens and government to do more to help the poor among us.  They cite the recent memorable comment from Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput:  “Jesus tells us very clearly that if we don’t help the poor, we’re going to go to hell.”  They note that there is “[t]oo much rhetoric in the country [that] portrays poor people in a very negative way,” and they call us all to the solidarity that is absolutely necessary if we’re to protect the human dignity of all peoople in our nation and world.

Have a look.

Canadian lawmakers say: We don’t want to know

Yesterday, the Canadian Parliament rejected Motion 312, a proposal for a formal review of “when life begins.”

Note first of all what this proposal was not. It did not call for legal recognition of unborn children as persons. It did not call for them even to be recognized as humans. It merely called for a 12-member committee to review evidence on whether a fetus is a human before birth — information that is certainly relevant to the work of Parliament and the laws of the nation of Canada.

The proposal was defeated by a vote of 203–91. It’s hard to avoid the impression that most of Canada’s lawmakers know that the data that would come from such an evidence review would be exceedingly inconvenient and troublesome.

MP Stephen Woodworth, who put forward the proposal, released a statement yesterday that insisted again on “the very, very grave importance of enshrining in Canadian law the equal worth and dignity of every human being.”