Thursday, August 07, 2008

The USCCB, The Pope, And The Security Of Nuclear Weapons
Is there any wonder why so many Catholics think it's perfectly fine to vote for a baby-butcher?

First, some of the article from Inside Catholic, then my explanation as to why the title of this post all ties together. (Emphasis mine.)
The Trenton Times Gets It Wrong on Catholics and Voting
by Deal W. Hudson

There will be much media mischief aimed at Catholic voters between now and November 4. Perhaps the best example thus far appeared in the Trenton Times on July 30.

The headline of reporter Jeff Trently's article tells you all you need to know about his intentions: "U.S. Bishops: Vote your conscience, Catholics urged to weigh stands on all issues."

But Trently's version of the erroneous conscience-is-king argument is notable for several reasons: First, his bias is more obvious than usual; secondly, he puts the worst possible spin on a controversial line from "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship" published by the USCCB. Finally, he misinterprets quotations from Bishop John Smith of Trenton, the bishop's communications director, Ravenne Bennett, and the director of the Office of Social Concerns, Rev. Ronald Cioffi.

Trently begins his report with a declaration: "Single-issue voting, like simply choosing the anti-abortion candidate, is out." In other words, the consistent teaching of the Church regarding the non-negotiable life issues is no longer more important than other issues. Did I miss an encyclical or a change in the Catechism of the Catholic Church?

According to Trently, all issues now carry equal weight. Catholic voters may weigh "each candidate's view on the entire spectrum of social issues -- including the war in Iraq, health care, housing, the plight of immigrants, as well as abortion."

What is Trently's evidence for this momentous change in Church teaching regarding political participation? He cites one line from "Forming Consciences" and supports his interpretation with quotes from the chancery of the Diocese of Trenton.

Here is the passage, from section 34 of "Forming Consciences": A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter's intent is to support that position [emphasis in original article]. In such cases a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil. At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate's opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity.

But this isn't what the bishops said at all. The document states that it is possible to vote for a pro-abortion candidate only if the voter's intent is not to support that position. Weighing the spectrum of issues is not the decisive factor, and any fair reading of "Forming Consciences" leads directly to the conclusion that the bishops did not publish section 34 as a loophole for Catholics to support pro-abortion politicians like Obama.

In fact, the bishops go so far as to quote the passage from Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger's 2002 "Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life" that was such a stumbling block for John Kerry in 2004: It must be noted also that a well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals (no. 4).

The U.S. bishops echo Pope Benedict XVI's rejection of false moral equivalence: Not all moral issues are equal; these ten goals address matters of different moral weight and urgency. Some involve matters of intrinsic evil that can never be supported (section 90).
Now with all that said, some may believe that Section 34 is still a green light to vote for one candidate that "isn't as much of a baby-killer as the other".

But anyhow, how does the title of this post tie together? Simple... the USCCB isn't magisterial. Period. But like I've said, there are those that will bleat "but the USCCB says it's OK!!", even though the USCCB never said any such thing.

What then Cardinal Ratzinger and current Pope Benedict have stated on the issue isn't new either. It's what Catholicism has taught all along.

So what does any of this have to do with the security of nuclear weapons? Well, many a year ago, I was assigned to nuke security duty. Every so often, we would come up with a situation where there were conflicting orders from the 3 source documents we used (Marine, Navy and finally Air Force Standard Operating Procedures). So which of the three did we adhere to in any given seeming conflict of direction?

Exceedingly simple. Whichever of the three was the strictest.

By the way, anyone who thinks of adding a comment trying to convince me that it's somehow correct to vote for any candidate who is in favor of any of the 5 Non-Negotiables... don't waste your time. Any such postings will never see the light of day on this blog.


Blogger Joe of St. Thérèse said...

The USCCB is not magisterial: the very reason it should be dissolved.

10:37 PM  

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