Were there to be no support in the whole history of ethical and moral thought, were there no acknowledged confirmation from medical science, were the history of legal opinion to the contrary, we would still have to conclude on the basis of God's Holy Word that the unborn child is a person in the sight of God. He is protected by the sanctity of life graciously given to each individual by the Creator, Who alone places His image upon man and grants them any right to life which they have.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Archbishop Aquila, “The Right to Life the Highest Consideration in Our Voting”
“A good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of himself,
so that those who govern can govern,” Pope Francis told governors last
September.This week I want to examine what it means for Catholics to
“offer the best of ourselves,” as we prepare for the November election.
At my request, the Denver Catholic Register is helping with this
effort by publishing a note from Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine
of the Faith on Catholics in political life over the next few weeks
(click to read Part 1, Part 2).
This week’s section
addresses some of the key points that must be understood for us to
engage in our current political and cultural context.One subject that I
want to address is the idea of “single-issue voting.” For Catholics to
“meddle in politics” and “offer the best of ourselves,” we have to be
well formed in the entirety of our faith. We have to know the hierarchy
of truths and understand that some issues are fundamental, while others
are less important for our families, fellow citizens, communities and
society to truly flourish.
Catholics are frequently blamed for being single-issue voters when
the topics of abortion and embryonic stem-cell research are raised. But,
as the note from the CDF makes clear, the right to life serves as a
cornerstone for the foundation of society. Every human being, from the
moment of conception until natural death, has a God-given dignity, which
a just society recognizes.
The U.S. Bishops’ 2011 document Faithful Citizenship specifically
mentions this when it declares, “This exercise of conscience begins with
outright opposition to laws and other policies that violate human life
or weaken its protection. Those who knowingly, willingly and directly
support public policies or legislation that undermine fundamental moral
principles cooperate with evil” (#31).
The Right to Life the Highest Consideration in Our Voting
In other words, making the right to life the highest consideration in
our voting is not a matter of blindly voting for a candidate because of
one issue. It is a matter of understanding that the right to life –
which is directly threatened by abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem
cell research, and in some cases, war – is the foundation of all other
When you decide how you will vote, this basic right must be considered indispensable. It is not acceptable to choose an issue of lesser importance, such as party affiliation, and let it determine your vote. Faithful Citizenship notes, “…a well-formed conscience … recognizes that all issues do not carry the same moral weight” (#37).
In the current political landscape, this often leaves Catholics with
difficult choices. It may mean deciding to vote for an imperfect
candidate who you think is less likely to advance a morally flawed
position and more likely to advance policies that truly benefit society
and the dignity of every human being.
The Growing Spread of Relativism must be Rejected
The note from the CDF also makes a crucial distinction about living
in a diverse society. It is important to not fall victim to the false
and dangerous idea that there are no truths common to all people. The
growing spread of relativism – the idea that each person has his or her
own truth – must be rejected. People must realize that a society which
ignores human nature and natural law will soon be without any foundation
and will eventually disintegrate.
This November every person of voting age will be asked to exercise
their faith and discern how these principles factor into who you vote
for. As your shepherd, I ask that you take this responsibility seriously
and work to fully form your conscience. Be not afraid to bring your
faith into the voting booth, just as non-believers bring their values
into the voting booth.
May the Holy Spirit pour out his gifts of wisdom, counsel and understanding on you!