Bishop Gracida: Between Hillary and Trump, Vote None of the Above July 26, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Basics, catachesis, contraception, episcopate, General Catholic, Restoration, scandals, secularism, Society, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
I’ve long had a great admiration for Bishop Emeritus Rene Gracida of Corpus Christi. To me, there has been no more orthodox, tradition-embracing bishop in this state in the past 30, possibly 40 years. I have quite a bit of respect for his opinions, though I do not necessarily agree on every point. I give a good deal of weight to what he has to say.
Bishop Gracida has posted a pretty explosive opinion piece regarding the upcoming presidential election. I think this is one of the few times I’m not fully in agreement with what Bishop Gracida had to say. I don’t disagree with his broader point – Hillary and Trump both so offend against good morals that supporting either is problematic, at best, if not entirely impermissible – but I do think his reasoning for finding Trump morally objectionable is not entirely correct. Bishop Gracida finds both candidates so wanting that he recommends either a no vote or a write-in.
With regard to the latter, reader TE does bring up one very important point regarding Bishop Gracida’s recommendation below, however – votes for write-in candidates that are not on the list of candidates approved by the State of Texas ARE thrown away. That is, they are not counted. It is just as if one does not vote. That’s an important consideration. An equally important consideration is that the Constitution Party candidate, Darrell Castle, looks like he’ll make it as one of the accepted write-in candidates in Texas and does provide a morally acceptable alternative for a Catholic. In fact, probably no party corresponds better to the Doctrine of the Faith, overall, than the Constitution Party, though it is by no means perfect.
At any rate, Bishop Gracida’s commentary (my comments):
No one, especially a Christian, can ever choose evil, however small. Everyone, especially a Christian, must choose good however small. In my opinion the evil in both Hillary and Donald so far outweighs the good in them it is impossible for a anyone, especially a Christian, to vote for either of them. Instead, write in the name of a person you judge to be more good than evil… …If we make our choices without reference to what Jesus Christ has taught us, we are no different than our first parents in choosing to call evil good and good evil…….
……… Some would argue that when faced with an important situation we are allowed to choose the lesser of two evils. But the Church magisterium has always taught that one can only choose the lesser of two evils in cases of ABSOLUTE NECESSITY, such as whether to save the mother or the child in cases of an ectopic pregnancy. [To me, this is the core of the piece, and the most important point made. It’s an incredibly important point, and I think the fact that both of these candidates have not only held gravely immoral beliefs, but committed seriously immoral acts (and shown no remorse for same) has sort of been shoved aside in the push for an expedient method to stop Hillary’s election. I view Hillary as practically a demon incarnate, but Trump has his own warts.] In the present case no person can say that IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY THAT THEY VOTE FOR EITHER DONALD TRUMP OR HILLARY CLINTON. [Given that, from a practical standpoint, one of the two will win, and one might be markedly preferable to the other, even though still egregiously bad in many regards, is there not a sufficient difference to merit support? Bishop Gracida says no. I’d love to hear more opinions from well-formed authorities in the traditional wing of the Church. Does the SSPX have anything to say on this election?] Yes, Hillary Clinton favors abortion which kills unborn children, but Donald Trump will (in my opinion) cause America to go to war which will kill not only unborn children but men, women, boys and girls AND UNBORN CHILDREN. I do not believe that any human person can decide which of the two, Clinton or Trump, is the LESSER of the two evils. [Now many may argue with that. I’m not certain where Bishop Gracida gets this notion that Trump will put us in a war, which seems to be the basis on which he concludes that Trump is as evil as Hillary. We’re already at war, and have been for 15 years. Does he mean beyond that? He has to be speaking of a total world war, even a nuclear war, otherwise, even a fairly major regional war killing thousands would not be nearly morally equivalent to abortion, which kills over a million a year. On what evidence does Bishop Gracida foresee this calamitous war happening? Trump has spoken of breaking decades-old alliances to keep us OUT of wars, but then has also spoken of bombing the crud out of those who attack us. I don’t think anyone can definitively say what he’ll do in this regard, if elected. I don’t think this an adequate basis upon which to establish a moral equivalence between Hillary and Trump. For me, that equivalence exists more because of his unrepentant immorality and his conservatism of convenience he’s developed in the past year or two. He’s done some things to reassure me on the latter, but his total lack of Christian faith and his personal immorality remain huge issues.] They are both so evil in their actions that no Christian (especially Catholics who have the benefit of the magisterial teaching of the Church, e.g. VERITATIS SPLENDOR) can play God and decide which is the lesser of the two evils.
What is important is how they must answer to God for their choice. [I know we all despise Hillary and the demonrat party, but we must keep this in mind] My advice is for a perplexed Catholic to vote for all other offices on the ballot but to abstain from indicating a choice for President. If a Catholic is not happy with that solution, then that Catholic should write in the name of any good person for President.
Again, while I think the specific arguments advanced and conclusions reached may be a bit unfair, but the overall point remains valid: is there sufficient distinction between Trump and Hillary, from a moral perspective (not a political one), to permit Catholics to support him? On a political and personal basis, a few months ago, I was convinced the answer was no. Since then, Trump has specified some policy positions (including a quite solid list of likely Supreme Court nominees) that has caused me to find him less objectionable, politically. Personally, his massive warts remain, the convention doing nothing to allay my concerns in that regard. I still lean against Trump, though not as strongly as, say, last spring.
Last major point: my understanding of the Church’s thinking on such matters is that we should support the most moral option/option most in accord with the Faith, period, not the most moral option we believe has a chance of winning, but I’m open to correction from magisterial sources. Darrell Castle will likely be on the ballot in most if not all states by November 8.
As I said above, I would very much appreciate hearing more counsel from good priests and bishops on this subject – even though that might mean a violation of the Johnson Amendment! There hasn’t been enough clear moral direction on this most conflicted of presidential campaigns, yet. I greatly appreciate Bishop Gracida’s commentary, even if I’m not entirely on board with it.
Fortunately, I still have several more months to sit back, observe, and see what develops. Perhaps a miracle will occur, Trump will convert and become a stalwart, fiery Catholic, dump his concubines, and advance a platform totally in concert with the Doctrine of the Faith. I won’t hold my breath, but one can always hope.
I have been very glad to see that the very heated exchanges that often surround discussion/criticism of Trump on other conservative sites have been almost entirely absent here. Instead, the discussion has been quite edifying and reasonable, for the most part. Please let us keep it that way!
h/t reader MFG