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.
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.