Holy Votes response
Mark Diamond | Friday, April 20, 2012
Professor Rosato’s letter, “Holy Votes correction for Democratic platform” (April 15), regarding the freedom of Catholics to vote for pro-abortion candidates, while correct in the most arcane, technical sense, is nevertheless seriously flawed. He does a splendid job of almost completely reversing the meaning intended by Cardinal Ratzinger in The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith’s “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles.” This document was intended to put Catholic politicians on notice that they could not consign their faith to the strictly-private sphere, and thereby vote for and promote laws that allow for abortion. By doing so, these politicians would cooperate formally in moral evil, and be therefore unworthy to receive Holy Communion.
While this document references that one who votes for a pro-abortion candidate, despite his pro-abortion stance, does not formally cooperate with evil, he or she still does in fact cooperate with evil, but in a remotely material way. And this “can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.” This would seem to refer to an unfortunate circumstance when a faithful Catholic would be forced to choose between two or more pro-abortion candidates, when no pro-life candidate was available. It is highly tendentious to assume, as Professor Rosato does, that this gives the Catholic faithful license to vote for a pro-abortion candidate when there is a pro-life alternative, let alone support unreservedly a manifestly pro-abortion platform of a political party, like that of the Democratic Party.
It would be instructive to learn what contents Professor Rosato discerns in the emanations of the penumbras of the Democratic platform, which are proportionate to balance an unfettered right to abortion on demand. Improved school lunch programs for inner city youth? Guaranteed union scale wages for all federal contract workers? “Free” government health care services for all?
The students, faculty and alumni of Notre Dame deserve to hear the words of John Paul II’s evangelical “Evangelium Vitae” preached from every chapel and taught in every lecture hall on campus: All Catholics have a “grave and clear obligation to oppose” any law that attacks human life.
In the Doctrinal Note “The Participation of Catholics in Political Life” the current Pope, writing in 2002 as Prefect of the Congregation of the Faith, warns “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.” Professor Rosato would do well to heed this advice and cease to carry water for politicians or political parties that promote a Culture of Death.
Class of 1988