Applying Catholic Moral Theology To The Question Of Voting Or Not Voting
POSTED BY RESTORE-DC-CATHOLICISM ON WEDNESDAY, JULY 20, 2016
Ladies and gentlemen, the nominees of the two parties are now determined. This will be a Trump vs Clinton contest. I just now finished watching Cruz’s speech at the GOP convention. I voted for him and had hoped that he would be the nominee. Enough other people voted differently so now it is Trump who will be opposing Hillary Clinton.
There is no gainsaying that Trump has his warts. But now he is officially the GOP candidate and the only one who now stands between us and a Hillary presidency. No one, with a straight face and who pays attention to the facts of history, can pretend that Trump is just as evil as Hillary. I’ve written before regarding the intentions voiced by some good people to either 1) not vote at all in the presidential election or to 2) write in a “third-party” candidate. Either option will have the obvious effect of reducing the hurdle that Clinton would have to overcome to seize the White House. Please read from this anthology of posts.
In those posts I attempted to examine the question of voting versus not voting in the context of Catholic moral theology. Below are quotes from both Father Peter West and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, both speaking in terms of Catholic teaching. I found these on facebook, by the way.
From Father West: “Voting for Donald Trump is not doing evil in order to achieve a good end. Voting for him is not endorsement of everything he has said or done. Your vote is an exercise of power. If you exercise that power to limit evil you are doing something good. You are not doing something evil in order to achieve a good end. In Catholic moral theology a moral act must be evaluated according to the act itself, the intention and the circumstances. All three have to be either good or neutral. The act of voting is in itself good. If your intention is to limit evil, your intentions are good. The circumstances in this election is that a vote for Trump is the only way to stop the election of a corrupt, dishonest, pro-abortion, anti-family, extremely careless criminal. Voting for Donald Trump is therefore a good moral act because it limits evil insofar as it is possible at the moment.”
From Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI): “According to the principles of Catholic morality, an action can be considered licit whose object and proximate effect consist in limiting an evil insofar as is possible. Thus, when one intervenes in a situation judged evil in order to correct it for the better, and when the action is not evil in itself, such an action should be considered not as a voluntary acceptance of the lesser evil but rather as the effective improvement of the existing situation, even though one remains aware that not all evil present is able to eliminated for the moment.”
I believe these establish the case, from rigorous application of Catholic moral theology, that a vote for Trump will assist in limiting the evil of a Clinton presidency. If some of my #nevertrump friends remain unconvinced, would you please establish your case with your own examination of the question that applies Catholic moral theology to the question? Needless to say, “personal preference” and “gut feeling” is not going to cut the mustard. The discharging of our civic responsibilities demand utilization of reason and intellect for they are very serious matters.