SAN DIEGO, California, September 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — The most important voting issues for Catholics should be abortion, poverty, environmentalism, and assisted suicide, the Catholic Bishop of San Diego wrote, because “the category of intrinsic evil cannot provide a comprehensive moral roadmap for prioritizing the elements of the common good for voting.”
In a February 2016 America magazine article republished in The Valley Catholic earlier this month, Bishop Robert McElroy wrote, “American political life increasingly creates a distorted culture that frames voting choices in destructive categories that rob them of their spiritual character and content.”
“It is for this reason,” he continued, “that the central foundation for an ethic of discipleship in voting for the Catholic community in the United States today lies not in the embrace of any one issue or set of issues but rather in a process of spiritual and moral conversion about the very nature of politics itself.”
“Such a spiritual conversion prohibits us from framing political choice in the United States as essentially a competition between two partisan teams, one good and one bad, with all the visceral enjoyment that such a competition brings,” McElroy wrote.
Citing Pope Francis’ September 2015 speech to Congress, McElroy argued that “a Catholic political imagination” needs to be developed that “sees the mutual linkages” between issues the Church teaches are intrinsically evil and social ills the Church teaches Catholics may hold varying opinions on resolving.
Such a linkage could be between “the economic burdens of the aging and our societal lurch toward euthanasia,” McElroy suggested.
“A second step in the moral conversion to the common good for voting requires discernment about how Catholics should prioritize the major elements of the common good in the United States today,” McElroy continued. “If immigration, abortion, poverty, religious liberty, the family, war and peace, the environment, the rights of workers, trafficking in drugs and assisted suicide all constitute central elements of the common good, which issues are pre-eminent?”
McElroy argued that the Catholic view of the common good shouldn’t be automatically based on intrinsic evils, as many Catholic voter guides teach.
In the Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote that Catholic support for “fundamental values, such as respect for human life, its defense from conception to natural death, the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman, the freedom to educate one's children and the promotion of the common good in all its forms” is “not negotiable.”
“A fatal shortcoming of the category of intrinsic evil as a foundation for prioritizing the major elements of the political common good lies in the fact that while the criterion of intrinsic evil identifies specific human acts that can never be justified, it is not a measure of the relative gravity of evil in human or political acts,” McElroy wrote.
This is actually the argument many Catholics use to support Donald Trump. They argue that his suggested support for torture of terrorists — something the Church teaches is intrinsically evil — is outweighed by Hillary Clinton’s support for abortion on demand. They say this is because a Clinton presidency would ensure that thousands of babies continue to be aborted every day whereas a Trump presidency would mean only a handful of terrorists might be tortured.
McElroy hinted at environmentalism being a pro-life issue because “even the very planet that is vital for the continuation of human life itself has become disposable.”
“Scripture is very clear about the impossibility of serving both God and Mammon,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “By claiming that we should dispense with the Catholic voting standard on intrinsic evils, it's pretty clear which master Bishop McElroy has chosen to serve.”
McElroy made headlines earlier this year when he said the Catechism uses “very destructive” language on homosexuality.