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US bishop: Voting for Biden requires ‘reason that outweighs’ 860,000 abortions

Bishop Thomas Paprocki asked, ‘Is it a sin to vote for Biden?’
Fri Oct 16, 2020 - 3:30 pm EST
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Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, October 16, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Bishop Thomas Paprocki said that voting for pro-abortion Democrat Joe Biden in the upcoming election would require “a proportionately grave reason that outweighs the killing of 860,000 babies per year,” adding that even the death penalty is no such reason.

In a follow-up to his recent video contrasting President Donald Trump’s pro-life record with his opponent’s pro-abortion stance, the bishop of Springfield, Illinois, attempted to answer the question, “Is it a sin to vote for Joe Biden?

After detailing the extreme pro-abortion records of the Democrat candidate and his running mate, Paprocki briefly explained the moral principles involved in cooperation with the sins of others.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them,” whether by direct or indirect participation (CCC 1868). Indirect participation in the sins of others is usually called “cooperation” in the tradition of Catholic moral thought.

Noting that voting is itself a good act, Paprocki said that “voting for someone who promotes an intrinsic evil raises the question of cooperation with evil.” He distinguished formal cooperation from material cooperation. Formal cooperation is always wrong, he explained, because it involves consenting to or agreeing with the evil action of another person. Consequently, to vote for Biden because of his pro-abortion policies would necessarily be a sin.

In material cooperation, a person offers some kind of help in enabling the evildoer to accomplish a bad action. Paprocki explained that this kind of cooperation can sometimes be morally justified, but that it “requires a proportionately grave reason. The more proximate the cooperation, the more proportionately grave the reasons needed for the action to be justified.”

Voting for a pro-abortion candidate at the very least involves material cooperation in that candidate’s ability to do evil. Consequently, Paprocki considers that the reason in favor of voting for that candidate needs to be “a proportionately grave reason that outweighs the killing of 860,000 babies per year.”

As an example of what some consider to be a proportionately grave reason to vote Democrat, Paprocki mentioned opposition to the death penalty. He concluded, “It is hard to see how voting for someone who opposes the death penalty would be a proportionately grave reason to justify voting for that same candidate who promotes abortion.”

On the one hand, Paprocki said, capital punishment, unlike abortion, is not intrinsically evil. “While abortion is considered to be an intrinsic evil, the death penalty has been called ‘inadmissible’ by Pope Francis, which is not the same as calling it an intrinsic evil, but is more of a prudential judgment about its efficacy,” he argued.

Paprocki’s second reason for saying that opposition to the death penalty fails justify voting for pro-abortion presidential candidate Joe Biden is that far more people are killed by abortion than by capital punishment. “While over 860,000 abortions took place in our country in the last reported year, there were a total of 22 executions of prisoners in seven states in 2019, with zero executions in the State of Illinois.”

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Paprocki left it to his faithful to fill out the rest of the argument for themselves. “I am not saying that you must vote to re-elect President Donald Trump. My objective is to provide you with a sound framework based on Catholic moral principles to guide your decisions with a well-formed conscience as you prepare to vote.”

Joe Biden, meanwhile, repeatedly signaled his willingness to undo pro-life policies instituted by the Trump administration.

Biden dedicated one section of his Agenda for Women released in July to “Reproductive Health,” which is generally a reference to abortion. The former vice president under President Barack Obama said he “will work to codify Roe v. Wade, and his Justice Department will do everything in its power to stop the rash of state laws that so blatantly violate Roe v. Wade.”

Roe v. Wade is the 1973 Supreme Court ruling essentially imposing abortion on all 50 states under the guise of a woman’s right to privacy.

During a townhall event earlier this month, Biden said that if the Supreme Court overturned the ruling, “the only responsible thing to do would be to pass legislation making Roe the law of the land. That’s what I would do.”


  2020 election, abortion, cooperation with evil, joe biden, moral theology, thomas paprocki, voting

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