Can Catholics vote for pro-abortion politicans
Before he became Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in a doctrinal note stated in 2002 that Catholics may never vote for pro-abortion politicians (an apt description of several of our political parties). Should our Catholics not be informed of this crucial prohibition? Pro Vertitate
In his apostolic exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis of February, 2007, Pope Benedict pointed out that worship that is pleasing to God can never be a purely private matter. It is a public witness to our faith.
He applied this to all the baptised but stressed that politicians have a special obligation to witness to their faith when making decisions regarding fundamental values such as respect for human life. He warned that one’s salvation may be affected by such decisions.
The pope reminded politicians of their grave responsibility to oppose laws and policies that violate life at any stage from conception to natural death. He affirmed the serious duty of bishops to teach these values consistently to their people.
In the doctrinal note that you mention, Cardinal Ratzinger said Catholics who disapprove of abortion but do not support politicians who do, may be justified in voting for candidates for reasons other than their support for abortion. In such instances, he said, these must be “proportionate reasons”.
The bishops of the United States gave guidance in their voter’s guide for this month’s elections, titled “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship”. In it they said: “Catholics often face difficult choices about how to vote. This is why it is so important to vote according to a well-formed conscience that perceives the proper relationship among moral goods. A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favour of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. In such cases, a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil.”
They advise voters: “A candidate’s position on a single issue is not sufficient to guarantee a voter’s support. Yet a candidate’s position on a single issue that involves an intrinsic evil, such as support for legal abortion or the promotion of racism, may legitimately lead a voter to disqualify a candidate from receiving support.”
Our own bishops and clergy know their duty to proclaim the sacredness of human life. Generally, they do this forcefully at appropriate election times.