Lincoln, Neb., Sep 30, 2016 / 14:33 pm
Catholics who can't in good conscience vote for either major presidential candidate are well within their rights to pick a third option, says Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska.
Voters need to discern whether there is a candidate in each race who can “advance human dignity, the right to life and the common good,” he said in his Sept. 30 column for the Southern Nebraska Register.
“When there is, we should feel free to vote for that candidate – whether they are a member of a major party or not,” he said. “No Catholic should feel obliged to vote for one candidate just to prevent the election of another.”
The bishop advised a prudent course that avoids dangerous forms of “blind partisanship” and misleading political rhetoric and media alarmism.
He acknowledged the possibility that “in extraordinary circumstances” some Catholics may decide there is no suitable candidate for a race and abstain from voting in that particular race.
There are reasons in good conscience for some people to vote for a candidate who “would be most likely to do some good, and the least amount of harm,” on foundational issues like life, family, conscience rights and religious liberty, he said.
Others may in good conscience vote for the candidate who “best represents a Christian vision of society, regardless of the probability of winning,” while others may vote for no candidate at all.
“Catholics will make different judgments about those questions, and come to different conclusions – this reflects the fact the Lord has given us free intellects and free wills,” he said.