Catholics are called to a moral obligation as citizens of society to participate by exercising their voting rights. “It is the duty of citizens to contribute along with the civil authorities to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom.” (cf. CCC 2239.) The casting of a ballot can accomplish an adherence to that obligation. However, we are often overloaded with so many political issues before choosing a candidate that the task to decipher how to cast our votes can become formidable. While we may differ on issues regarding the economy, foreign policy, education and tax issues, as Catholics we can narrow down our choices based on Church teachings, Encyclicals of the Pope and the Catechism. In a letter addressed to U.S. Catholic Bishops in 2004, Pope Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Ratzinger,) had this to say:
“Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the -application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”
While there may not be a “perfect” candidate with regard to policy adhering strictly to the list of Five Non-negotiables, the following chart should assist you in narrowing down which candidate most heavily weighs in favor of the largest number of items on the list.
The Five Non-Negotiables and where candidates Obama and Romney stand (click image to enlarge) The tally reads loud and clear. Obama must go.
Ronald Reagan on Adoption and Abortion
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