The protection of human life is the first principle on which people must base their decision for the upcoming elections, said Bishop Paul S. Loverde of Arlington in a pre-election letter to Catholics.
“It is simply not possible to serve and promote the common good of our nation by voting for a candidate who, once in office, will do nothing to limit or restrict the deliberate destruction of innocent human life,” he wrote.
The bishop added that the protection of human life, from conception to natural death, is more than a Catholic issue. “It is an issue of fundamental morality, rooted in both the natural law and the divine law.”
In the letter, published in today’s issue of the Herald, the bishop said Catholics must follow their conscience when voting, but their conscience must guided by critical principles, which include the protection of human life, the promotion of family life, the pursuit of social justice and the practice of global solidarity.
However, the basis for all these principles is the protection of human life, he said, “since without it the other three would be rendered meaningless.
“To be a faithful Catholic necessarily means that one is pro-life and not pro-choice,” wrote the bishop. “No Catholic can claim to be a faithful member of the Church while advocating for, or actively supporting, direct attacks on innocent human life.
“Let me be clear,” he continued, “to vote for a candidate precisely because of his or her pro-abortion stance is an instance of formal cooperation in a grave evil. Such formal cooperation is, according to the constant teaching of the Church, never morally permissible.”
The bishop explained that “in certain circumstances, it is morally permissible to vote for a candidate who supports some immoral practices while opposing other immoral practices.”
This type of voting, called “material cooperation with evil” is morally permissible, only if there is a proportionate reason, he explained. “Intrinsically evil acts such as abortion or research on stem cells taken from human embryos cannot be placed on the same level as debates over war or capital punishment, for example,” he said.
If, for example, a candidate supports abortion in a limited number of cases but opposes it otherwise, a Catholic may vote for such a candidate over another, who is unwilling to place any restrictions on abortion, he explained.
The bishop concluded his letter asking Catholics to pray and fast that “the citizens of our nation will elect those leaders who will renew our communities, our state and our society by enabling all citizens to restore the culture of life.”