Traditional Catholic Principles for Voting via the SSPX July 27, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Restoration, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sickness, Society, SSPX, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, Virtue.
I’ll just preface this post by stating this is not an endorsement of the SSPX or their current canonical situation in the Church, I have no relation with the SSPX, never been to one of their chapels, the sum total of my interaction with the SSPX was a few hours spent with one of their priests who wrote a very good book (it was a pleasant afternoon), blah blah, etc, etc.
Having given the obligatory caveats, commenter Missy Farber kindly provided this link to the Society’s position on proper Catholic principles for voting at my request. It’s been a while, because I haven’t heard anything from any of the local Fraternity priests yet this cycle (while hoping that comes soon), but from my recollection the direction given below is in accord with what I’ve heard from Fraternity priests in the past.
It’s important, because it makes plain that, at best, support for Trump could be permitted for reasons of prudence, but that his belief set falls far outside what is required to make supporting him a moral obligation, on pain of sin. I would also add that, given that there is an alternative, Trump’s stand on various issues, including a continuing tendency to flip flop a bit on pseudo-sodo-marriage/transgender rights/etc make supporting him more morally problematic than some other non-Hillary alternative.
Important points below, then I hope to leave the subject alone for a while (my emphasis and comments):
Voting, as well as involvement in political campaigns, must have as its ultimate motive these higher, supernatural principles, that the law of God, the Ten Commandments, and the rights of the one true Church be acknowledged publicly in society.
Manifestly, we are presently very far removed from achieving these aims. It does not mean that we should do nothing. It does mean, however, that whatever we do will necessarily involve the toleration of many evils, which we in no way desire or will. However, it can be permissible to tolerate the lesser of two evils for a proportionate reason, and such toleration can be for the common good, precisely because it is the lesser of two evils. Thus it is possible to vote or even campaign for a candidate whose platform contains evils with which we do not agree. Everything depends upon a hierarchy of the most important values and issues taking priority over lesser ones.
For a Catholic, there can be no doubt that the issues that take the highest priority must be the moral issues, and not personal or economic issues. The whole continuation of society as we know it depends upon this, and those who deny the most basic principles of the natural order are bringing about an unheard of perversion.Consequently, it is permissible and prudent to vote on the one single issue of proscribing abortion, or forbidding same-sex marriages, or putting an end to euthanasia, or freedom of the Catholic Church to run educational institutions. All of these issues are of the utmost importance. Consequently, it would be permissible and prudent to vote for a candidate who promotes an unjust war, on the basis of one or other of these issues. Consequently, it is likewise permissible to vote for a candidate who is known to be a Freemason, although Freemasonry is an evil society condemned by the Church and opposed to the Catholic Church, if he maintains an important principle of the natural law such as the evil of abortion. [But what if both major party candidates support a whole range of grave moral evils? Is proclaimed opposition to abortion, set against a lifetime of being a pro-abort, and at times a pretty radical one, sufficient justification to vote for such a candidate? On the basis of his extreme squishiness on “same-sex marriage,” I find it very hard to vote for Trump.]
Lesser issues are also of moral importance, such as the justice or injustice of a particular war, or the paying of a just wage to employees, maintaining the right to private property by limiting government intervention, and so on. All other things being equal, one could vote on the basis of such issues. However, it would be wrong to vote for a candidate who has a correct position on one of these issues, but a perverse and wrong position on a more important issue………[Immigration, building the wall, restoring the economy, closing the Fed, etc., would also fall under these matters of lesser importance]
……..Voting in local and national elections can only be considered a moral obligation when the candidates propose a solidly Catholic, non-liberal platform that truly promotes the Social Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not obligatory to vote for a lesser evil, but simply prudent and permissible. However, it would certainly be obligatory to use the democratic process in place in the unlikely event that it could be used to introduce Catholic candidates who do not accept the propaganda of modern liberal democracy……….So we have Darrell Castle, who is 100% pro-life from conception to natural death (and has a long record of being so), opposes pseudo-sodo-marriage, subscribes to a much more Catholic view of subsidiarity/federalism, and should be a candidate in every state ballot, even though he has no practical chance to win. Now he’s not an outwardly Catholic candidate completely in line with the Doctrine of the Faith – he does hold some errors – so perhaps voting for him is not a moral obligation as outlined below, but it can certainly be argued that Catholics should support him given that both major party candidates hold views that are offend gravely against the moral order]
………Clearly, we are no longer in the circumstance of having to choose between Catholic and non-Catholic, morally upright and liberal representatives. All the alternatives are liberal, [but Castle is much, much less so than any of the others] the deception and the manipulation of the public by the media is rampant. In practice, it generally comes down to the question of whether or not it is permissible to vote for an unworthy candidate (e.g., a candidate who only approves abortion in cases of rape or incest), for he would at least (we suppose) be the lesser evil. In such a case, there can be no obligation to vote, for all the reasons mentioned by Pope Pius XII that could oblige, no longer apply. Nevertheless, it is still permissible to vote in such a case, provided that one can be sure that there truly is a lesser evil, and that there is a grave reason to do so (e.g., to avoid abortion on demand, or promotion of unnatural methods of birth control), and one has the good intention of providing for the good of society as best one can. This is called material cooperation. However, it can never be obligatory.
Consequently, in the rare case where there are informed Catholic candidates who publicly support the teaching of the Church, there is a strict moral obligation to vote, under pain of mortal sin. Where there is a clear gain possible from the correct use of a vote for some other candidate, it can be recommended or counseled. However, when there is no clear advantage it would be better to abstain, so as not to contribute even to a material participation.
I think that sums up the Catholic view beautifully.
Morally speaking, Constitution Party candidate Darrell Castle is by far the least questionable alternative. If he were a Catholic espousing a visibly Catholic platform, voting for him would be morally obligatory irrespective of his chances of winning. But, he’s not. He’s also not a viable candidate.
I’m not certain how important that latter distinction is. Basically, support for Trump by practicing Catholics (versus Castle or any other alternative that might emerge) hinges on his electability. He’s not the most morally attractive candidate, he’s the least morally offensive candidate that has a shot to win.
Is that enough? For me, the electability of a candidate is immaterial, because decades of allowing expedient choices to be foisted on us is a large part of how we got into this mess in the first place. Last election I heard a great deal from some of you about how exhausted you were supporting mediocre candidates, and how you were going to stand on principle and vote for the best candidate, period, irrespective of his chances of winning. What is it about Trump that has caused people to swing 180 degrees in this election? Even more, from a Catholic moral standpoint, I’m not sure how much electoral feasibility enters in.
Anyway, I hope this breakdown helps. I did me, and also reminded me how awful my memory is, because I knew all of this before, but it had become much muddled in my mind in the intervening four years. I think the crux is, it may be morally acceptable to vote for Trump, but a Catholic is certainly not obligated to do so, even if there is no alternative – viable or otherwise – on the ballot. I fear in future, as the moral order in this nation continues to decay, our options are only going to grow worse – barring some unforeseen miracle. For which I pray.