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A Leaven In The World… A Pro-Life Presbyterian Is Better Than An Apostate Catholic

September 9, 2020 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK

An Italian friend surfaced recently in my Facebook messages. I came to know him when stationed as a Navy chaplain in Italy and he was a Swiss guard serving at the Vatican. I befriended some of the guards and he was among a group with whom I would occasionally spend off time together.
This old friend reacted to a Facebook post in which I had shared a local newspaper article entitled, “Voting for Biden and Harris Is a Mortal Sin.” He didn’t agree and was, in fact, under the impression that Biden is a “good Catholic.” More about that in a moment.
Now, as all Catholics should know, there must always be present three conditions for mortal sin. Voting is no exception. As I’ve written before, politicians have involved themselves in religion, especially since Roe v. Wade and the huge growth of the abortion industry, and now priests as a result have to involve themselves in politics.
Biden and Harris are among those who have chosen to entangle themselves in religion, making it necessary that priests and other religious leaders speak out in order to serve their basic function of providing religious and moral leadership for their people.
This situation of civilian intervention into internal religious affairs has only worsened with the reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic and the absurd restrictions that some politicians have placed on worship and the sacraments.
Back to the matter of mortal sin. The newspaper article penned by a local Catholic certainly has a sensationalist headline. But the fact of the matter is that even though it might be objectively wrong to vote for Biden and Harris, it certainly is not a mortal sin unless the individual voting for them understands it is wrong and chooses to do it anyway.
Grave matter, sufficient reflection, and full consent of the will must all be present before a penitent may judge himself or herself guilty of mortal sin.
Even if some priests disagree, and I am sure some do, we can pretty safely determine that, at the very least, voting for two such candidates, one a Catholic apostate and the other anti-Catholic and both pro-abortion, would be cooperation in a moral evil on some level and most likely for that reason possibly matter for Confession if a good alternative was knowingly rejected in doing so.
And there is a good alternative. Trump is a Presbyterian but happens to be pro-life. In fact, as Sr. Deirdre Byrne and others have remarked, he is the most prolife president we have ever had. For a Catholic to abandon the defenseless unborn further by voting for the Democrats would be to reject a fundamental principle of justice. Equality and dignity of all human lives is a foundation of our national life. Without the right to life there can be no other social justice.
Opponents often bring up capital punishment at this point. This is irrelevant because, on this matter falling under the right to self-defense, Catholics can legitimately disagree. Actually, this is one area where Catholics can remain in good standing while being “personally opposed, but.”
In the heat of campaigning, politicians often distract voters by speaking as if elections are a moratorium on an individual candidate’s personal moral life. Catholics voted for co-religionist John F. Kennedy because of his religion. He wasn’t following the tenets of the Catholic faith when he was committing adultery. The male-dominated journalism world at the time played a role in covering up his sins and avoiding a moral quandary for voters with a conscience.
Today we live in much less morally attuned world with the plague of divorce and broken families. I remember when opponents tried to use Reagan’s divorce against him to counterbalance the appeal of his growing pro-life awareness after his role as governor of California. He was elected anyway and has gone down as an outstanding president in the history books.
If we are Christians we believe in forgiveness and redemption, as well as the conversion that makes such possible. Persons without the blessing of youthful exposure to the Catholic faith sometimes evolve as they grow and benefit from exposure to the principles of Catholic social teaching and the divine Revelation upon which they are based.
President Trump has certainly demonstrated a generous openness to Catholic wisdom in the conduct of his administration, welcoming orthodox Catholics such as Kellyanne Conway and others to provide him with counsel.
All of this being true, the election of a president is first about policies. Obviously, if he is a good candidate for sainthood all the better. But there is more than a little hypocrisy in politicians slinging mud at each other over past sins. Trump has divorced more than once. He is a sinner as are we all.
Voting for Trump is not an approval of his personal morals but of his policies. From a Catholic moral perspective, his policies are more in line with Catholic social teaching than are those of his opponent. Trump is willing to use the power of his office and the bully pulpit of the presidency to call America back to its God-given role of defending life, as well as liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the latter being impossible without the former. There can be no defense of human life while the legal killing of the preborn continues. His opposition to abortion is a matter of fundamental justice which all Americans should likewise support.
Trump is also in favor of policies that strengthen the nuclear family as created by God: father, mother, and the children they are blessed to bring into the world together. Fatherless children are often lured by other males and gangs into a life of crime. Fighting crime has to go to the root of its source in the malaise of family life which tears at the social fabric.
Back to my Italian friend. His comments serve to illustrate the often skewed views of non-Americans looking into U.S. political affairs. But they also demonstrate a weakened understanding of Catholic faith generally today. He is under the false impression, as are many Catholics, that one can be a good Catholic through claiming to be “personally opposed” to abortion while at the same time being pro-abortion. This is a false category exposed by basic logic. The principle of non-contradiction applies.
Any murdered child is just that: a murdered child. A Catholic who is “personally opposed, but” is guilty of the sin of standing by and failing to intervene in the murder of a defenseless innocent. This too, is a sin, and also condemned by God. The fact that you wouldn’t murder your own children doesn’t make it all right that you enable the intentional killing of someone else’s.
Thank you for reading and praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.
Meet me on Parler, the new free speech social network @FatherKevinMCusick

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