A group of vocal bishops could not sway the Catholic vote enough, and Catholics voted Obama for president in a 54-46% differential. What is supposed to be a solid block of votes for one or all of the five listed “non-negotiables” (if you actually follow Catholic belief) disintegrated into a rough conglomeration of votes for the issue to which people felt most attracted.
All Catholics were told not all issues were the same. It’s easy to determine the highest priority issues. Without “life” there can be no environmental concerns, no healthcare concerns, no war worries, no racism…nothing. If there’s no “life”, why would one even care about the possibility of regulations, or even tax burdens?
Many other issues are hotly debated at election time: the poor, economy, environment, immigration, and retirement security to name a few. But Catholics may legitimately take different approaches to handling these issues. Even though the underlying principles of these issues can be non-negotiable, there are many options for handling each one of these issues, so specifically they are not non-negotiable [www.catholic.org].
That’s why life is first on the list of “non-negotiables” issued by the Catholic Church [Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics (English). There are actually five in that category—abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, cloning, and same sex marriage. All five are considered intrinsically evil—that is, evil every time. No exceptions, no caveats, no conditions. All involve “life”, the primary “non-negotiable”.
Based on Church teachings, encyclicals of the pope, Catholic Catechism, and issue papers from the Office of the Doctrine of the Faith, the listed “five “non-negotiables” are posted above. It should be observed Catholicism never endorses a particular candidate or party—just an ideal.
Pope Benedict XVI describes how Church teachings on abortion, euthanasia, and same-sex marriage must be followed. His words can be found in Vatican tells Catholic politicians to uphold church teaching…. Another recent document that discusses abortion and the pope’s feelings, are in the column Pope: Catholic Politicians Have “Non–Negotiable” Duty to Oppose… .
Gauging each major candidate on the five non-negotiables, McCain passed on four of the five, Palin passed on five of five, and Obama/Biden each failed on all five. Catholics who truly weighed the five non-negotiables would have immediately thought the past presidential election was a “no-brainer”. But what does 54% of Catholics voting for the pro-abortion candidate say about their true priorities?
Those Catholics not believing “life” has the utmost priority has committed a heresy. In other words, any Catholic voting for a candidate who permits, allows, or endorses abortion would be committing heresy, and would technically be a heretic.
But for 54% of a particular voting block, specifically Catholic, to vote for the pro-abortion candidate is a direct indicator of widespread lack of Catholic knowledge, the distinct treatment of issues as equivalent, direct heresy, or all three.
On a flight to Brazil (5/9/07), Pope Benedict XVI left little room for interpretation. During an unprecedented 25-minute in-flight press conference, Benedict explicitly stated pro-choice politicians should not only be denied communion, but face outright excommunication from the Church for supporting “the killing of a human child”.
A reporter broke the ice by asking him if he supported the excommunication of Mexican legislators who had voted to legalize abortion. The pope replied, “Yes, this excommunication was not something arbitrary, but is foreseen by Canon Law…”
The pope was emphatic, and continued to insist such actions involved excommunication.
The pope was talking directly about “latae sententiae”(automatic “excommunication”). This occurs without formal declaration if there is an obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin [Canon Law 915]. Abortion is one of the five intrinsically evil deeds classified as grave. With these sins, excommunication is inflicted by the perpetrator on herself/himself. Therefore, one’s vote for candidates that would enact these abortion laws also incurs excommunication.
Also, very recently Benedict released a new encyclical Caritas Veritate (Charity in Truth), which says all the social political issues are tied to the pro-life ethic: “that the pro-life perspective can’t be compromised in pursuit of common ground on other political issues.”
It is sincerely hoped that all those Catholics [in name only] will come back to the Faith. If they do, then 33 million “supposed” Catholics who voted for Obama in the last presidential election were likely excommunicated. But Obama only won by a popular vote of just over 8 million votes. It’s amazing what true Catholics can do if they wanted.
Kevin Roeten can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.