By John-Henry Westen
WASHINGTON, September 29, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An attempt to recapture the Catholic vote has been launched by Democratic supporters.Â A new 2006 Voter Guide has been put out by “Catholic in Alliance for the Common Good” (CACG) a group headed up by Alexia Kelley who in 2004 worked as a religion advisor to John Kerry in the closing weeks of his campaign.
An initial printing of one million copies of “Voting for the Common Good: A Practical Guide for Conscientious Catholics” will be distributed nationwide through on-the-ground organizers and partner networks in all 50 states, says CACG.Â The groups admits in a press release that the new voter guide is a response to the original “Catholic Voters Guide” issued by Catholic Answers last year.Â
The new voter guide has been described as “slick” by the Catholic League for its deceptive wording which falsely leads Catholics to consider abortion as just one of many important social justice issues to be taken into account when electing politicians.
Commenting on the new 12-page booklet, Catholic League president Bill Donohue said “The voter guide is a slick attempt to get the abortion albatross off the necks of Catholic Democrats, but it’s a failed effort-the noose is still there. Instead of listening to James Carville and Paul Begala, who have counseled Democrats to drop their opposition to parental notification laws and their support for keeping partial-birth abortion legal, the best Catholics in Alliance can do is say it is opposed to abortion. But it makes it painfully clear that it will never join any effort to ban any abortions, including partial-birth.”
Donohue added that “On August 2, 2006, Catholics in Alliance issued a news release urging the Senate to raise the minimum wage, an issue which the Catholic Church has no official position on, one way or the other. But the group has no statement urging anyone to vote against partial-birth abortion, an issue which the Catholic Church officially opposes.”
The guide lists serious issues to consider butÂmentions abortionÂas only one of several issues including poverty, jobs, immigration, minimum wage, and nuclear disarmament, the typical leftist Catholic “seamless garment” approach that has confused many Catholics in the past.Â The guide advises that while abortion should be considered when voting it should be considered as only one of a whole host of other issues, none of which has resulted in the actual deliberate killing of millionsÂof Americans as has abortion.
The Catholic Democrats’ guide contradicts the guidance ofÂCardinal Ratzinger prior to his election to the papacy.Â Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote a doctrinal note, approved by then-Pope John Paul II, which stated: “[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.” The doctrinal note added, “laws must defend the basic right to life from conception to natural death . . . Analogously, the family needs to be safeguarded and promoted based on monogamous marriage between a man and a woman.”
The guide does quote Cardinal Ratzinger from a brief he prepared for the US Bishops Conference of Bishops speaking of the ability to vote for a candidate who supports abortion.Â He stressed that voting for such a candidate because of his support for abortion would be a grave sin, but such an action may be taken for “proportionate reasons”.Â
Exceptions to the rule of never voting for pro-abortion candidates are made in the case where the only two candidates are supporting abortion, where one would restrict it severely and the other would permit abortion on demand.
As Bishop Rene Henry Gracida, of Corpus Christi Texas, explained in September 2004, it is not enough to make a mental reservation that a voter is not supporting a pro-abortion politician because of his stand on abortion. The reasons to support the politician must be objectively ‘proportionate.’ He further states that the usual reasons cited, a candidate’s stand “on war, or taxes, or the death penalty, or immigration, or a national health plan, or Social Security, or AIDS, or homosexuality, or marriage,” are not important enough. They are, he says, “simply lacking in proportionality.”
Bishop Gracida exemplified the point stating, “Consider the case of a Catholic voter who must choose between three candidates: Kerry, who is completely for abortion on demand, Bush, who is in favor of very limited abortion, i.e., in favor of greatly restricting abortion and Peroutka, a candidate who is completely against abortion but who is universally recognized as being unelectable,” he wrote.Â“The Catholic can vote for Peroutka, but that will probably only help ensure the election of Kerry. Therefore the Catholic voter has a proportionate reason to vote for Bush, since his vote might help to ensure the defeat of Kerry and might result in the saving of some innocent human lives.”
Additionally numerous US Catholic Bishops have stated that abortion trumps other considerations when voting.ÂÂWriting in Columbia Magazine in September 2000 Bishop James T. McHugh, Bishop of Rockville Centre, NY, wrote, “Catholic citizens especially should affirm a personal stance that respects and sustains human life and makes it unmistakably clear to all candidates and officials that this will be a determining factor in their choice of candidates.
In October 2000 Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George stated “[Abortion is] a defining issue not only personally but also socially. Poverty can be addressed incrementally, but the death of a child is quite final.”
Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput said in October 2000 “It is impossible to advance human dignity by being ‘right’ on issues like poverty and immigration, but wrong about the most fundamental issue of all – the right to life.”
Father Thomas D. Williams, dean of the theology school at Rome’s Regina Apostolorum university, recently told Zenit News that according to Catholic teaching, “the social injustice that most cries out to Christian conscience is the deliberate and massive attack on the most vulnerable members of society, the unborn.”Â
Fr. Williams added, “The Church’s defense of social justice embraces any number of key life issues, and attention to one does not lessen the importance of the others. Abortion, however, stands out among them as a unique case meriting singular attention.”
LifeSiteNews repeatedly attempted to contact Catholic Answers for their response to the Democrats alternative to the Catholic Answers Voters Guide. Unfortunately none of the calls were returned.
See Previous LifeSiteNews.com story on Catholic Answers Voter Guide
U.S Catholic Voters Guide in Full-Page Newspaper Ads
See Zenit Fr. Williams interview
Abortion and Catholic Social Teaching
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Denver Archbishop: Voting for Known Pro-Abortion Candidates is a Sin Requiring Confession
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