Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Madison Biship Morlino on deciding how to vote

Bishop Robert C. Morlino, "Subsidiarity, solidarity, and the lay mission" (Bishop's Column, Diocese of Madison, Catholic Herald, August 16, 2012).

Sometimes I wonder whether bishops bend over backwards too far to avoid sounding partisan. The threats to the tax-exempt status of churches is one thing, of course. But there is also the other, more fundamental and difficult matter of instructing the laity in the principles by which to make prudent political decisions, without getting caught up in the contingent and often distracting details of personalities and sound bites.

Bishop Morlino here offers a fairly simple and straightforward catechesis on how to form one's political conscience. This is far more helpful than the Voter's Guide that came out from the USCCB several years ago that was probably only a few less pages than the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act bill signed into law in 2010.

One thing Bishop Morlino underscores is that, although Catholics can disagree on application, they cannot properly disagree on fundamental principles, one of which is that no person with a well-formed Catholic conscience can "ever choose to vote for someone who clearly, consistently, persistently promotes that which is intrinsically evil."

One should not need to struggle endlessly over the implications of such a statement.

[Hat tip Fr. S.]



Mercury said...

At the risk of sounding too much like certain members of the blogosphere, what about candidates who unequivocally support the use of torture in fighting the "War on Terror", or who support methods of wr that would include the type of indiscriminate bombing the Church hs condemned since at least WW2? Or who clearly believe in not only religious freedom but religious indifferentism, especially re: Islam?

I really want to vote for *gag* Romney in this election, only because I know how evil Obama is, but I am confused on how to deal with the fact that the Republicans seem to support certain intrinsic evils as well, though not with such regularity and quasi-religious fervor as the Democrats.

Pertinacious Papist said...

What one must do, I think, is to prioritize the issues and distinguish those which are clear party and candidate platforms from those that are merely tied to passing remarks of candidates.

Clearly no Catholic can support the sort of indiscriminate fire bombing that took place in Dresden, Germany. James Turner Johnson, who teaches Just War Theory at our military academies and is a Rutgers Univ. expert on the subject and author of many books, once said in a lecture I heard, that this is why we should thank God for the development of technologies such as precision-targeted "smart bombs," which can avoid civilian casualties in war.

But wars themselves have become highly problematic of late, with ambiguities about authorization and mission. These issues surely bear revisiting.

As for voting, I think one need go no farther than comparing the professed Catholics belonging to each party. The Democrats have Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, John Kerry, etc., while the Republicans have Marco Rubio, John Santorum, Paul Ryan, etc.

As Arturo Chávez says, genuine Catholic Democrats feel betrayed by President Obama. The HHS Mandate, while a highly touted issue, is merely the tip of the iceberg, beneath which lies a litany of problem ranging from the sheer extravagance of his astronomic, economy-threatening deficit spending (which will destroy the lives of working people more quickly than anything feared from the supply-side Republicans), to the overt celebration of Abortion, Homosexualism, and abolition of Religious rights to teach and practice the Faith as it's been handed down, the intent to abolish "God" from the public square, and displace the US Constitution by an International Tribunal of uncertain values.

All of this may be inevitable. But it cannot be embraced as any semblance of a good. Catholics sporting Obama bumper stickers may mean well but have been completely conned by Obama and his "press office" -- viz., the mainstream media. Conned once, shame on the con artists; conned twice, shame on the conned.

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

Bp Morlino is a tragicomic figure of the post-V2 generation. The new century finds him bemoaning the balkanization of the laity, as a venomous President Black Jesus blandly threatens the autonomy of Catholic institutions. But Morlino's V2 predecessors made such fracturing inevitable -- in fact, welcomed it with open arms -- when they called all lay individuals to sainthood, and then retired into a kind of managerial lassitude without waiting to see if any of the potted plants responded, or even understood from a Catholic point of view what sainthood was. Now the chickens have come home to roost, and Bp Morlino, stuck holding the bag, is "troubled."