In a recent letter to his faithful, Archbishop John F. Donoghue of Atlanta said he cannot tell Catholics who to vote for but he has responsibility to teach them how they must decide for whom to vote.
Citing from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Pope John Paul II, the archbishop said Catholics must embrace their citizenship to create a culture of life and reject all practices that violate human life.
Even in light of the upcoming election, “the Church holds her members to acceptance, complete acceptance of her teaching on matters of faith and morals,” said the archbishop.
Citing Colin B. Donovan, who appeared on an EWTN program, called Moral Duties Concerning Voting, the archbishop explained that there are two kinds of cooperation involved in this moral question.
Quoting from Donovan, he wrote, “formal cooperation is that degree of cooperation in which my will embraces the evil object of another's will. Thus, to vote for a candidate because he favors abortion is formal cooperation in his evil political acts.”
The Archbishop also included Donovan’s explanation of material cooperation, which Donovan says, “is permitted for a serious reason, such as preventing the election of a worse candidate.”
It involves voting for someone “in order to limit a greater evil, that is, to restrict in so far as possible the evil that another candidate might do if elected.”
Although the distinction may sound subtle or technical, it is actually one of “profound consequence and must be accounted when we decide, in conscience, how we are to vote in a given election,” he said.
“Only action that is right and true will in the end rescue our country,” he concluded. “This is a critical moment and to do nothing would be a great tragedy.”