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Traditional Catholic Principles for Voting via the SSPX July 27, 2016

Posted 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.
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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.

 

Comments

1. Camper - July 28, 2016

This is not true. Catholics outside of deep red states are obligated to vote for Trump because the alternative is America turning into a Stalinist wasteland pronto. Those in deep red states could vote for the Constitution Party candidate, though I think in a deep red state, it would be better not to vote for president and vote Republican for Congressman.
I’m with the SSPX and the clergy of the SSPX are in a difficult place because of the Johnson Amendment (which, BTW, Trump wants to abolish- OUTSTANDING reason to vote for him). The Johnson Amendment changes the tax code to punish clergy who speak about politics. A law made in Hell. It would be better for religious congregations to lose their tax exempt status if it meant that bishops and clergy could speak on politics again.
Those who want to show their colors should go door to door to evangelize like the “Jehovah’s Witnesses” do. There needs to be an organization that produces the door hangers that the JHs and others use to promote their message.

Tantumblogo - July 28, 2016

Well everyone was welcome to join me praying/evangelizing last night, but few did.

2. Tim - July 28, 2016

I saw “Hillary’s America” for the second time and she MUST be defeated. Trump may be “squishy” on some very important issues but Hillary is firmly in the EVIL column on those same issues. Are we willing to “roll the dice” on those facts?

Also, just curious as to why folks seem to think “prefacing” any discussion about the SSPX is necessary. I know them, the FSSP and the ICK well and have high regard for them all. I can tell you from direct experience that the SSPX is the most Catholic group in the Catholic Church. We don’t need to appease “squishy” trads or “Pope Voris”.

3. Kathleen - July 28, 2016

This election is going to be a VERY close thing.

The Dems have a virtually insurmountable advantage in the electoral college at this point.

And wins must be large enough to over come the inevitable voter fraud.

So to not end up with Hillary will take serious upsets.

But it looks like it might just be possible.

Barely.

Under these circumstances one must weigh very carefully any assumptions about the lack of impact of voting third party or abstaining from voting.

Without upsets we get Hillary.

4. oneholyapostolic - July 28, 2016

Trump will win in landslide even with trying to cheat the voting polls for Killary.

5. Judy - July 28, 2016

Castle does not have a snowball in hell’s chance of winning. Every vote for him is a vote for a Hillary presidency. That woman wants to export acceptance of sexual deviancy, population control, and abortion on demand to the entire planet and has taken action to do so in the past. And a border wall is a very pro-life issue.

Tantumblogo - July 28, 2016

Our first female pope, what a progressive turn of events.

Tim - July 29, 2016

Huh?

Tantumblogo - July 29, 2016

Comment may not have shown up in the right place.

6. MrT - July 28, 2016

Since God bestows His authority on earthly leaders and the people in this country vote on our leaders, voting for those who would govern us or dictate the public welfare is a Fourth Commandment issue (Romans 13:1). Government actions and decrees that promote committing the Four Sins That Cry Out For Vengeance To Heaven (1. Genesis 4:15, 2. Genesis 18:20, 3. Exodus 2:23, 4. James 5:4) are intrinsically evil. Two of those sins are direct violations of the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage. The other two sins involve complex government and marketplace policies that violate the dignity and basic material welfare of people. The intrinsically evil acts most recognizable then are abortion, embryonic stem cell research, therapeutic cloning, euthanasia, and unnatural human unions. Any politician in support of or indifferent to these five acts is morally unacceptable, regardless of his or her positions on the economy, foreign policy, immigration, national security, etc. By voting for a candidate that can avert evil but will not do so or who will not promote the good, the voter is guilty of two of the Nine Ways Of Being An Accessory To Sin, by consent and by partaking.

There are four candidates on the Texas ballot for President. The Democrat, Libertarian, and Green candidates all peg the Morally Offensive Meter at 5. The Republican candidate registers between 3.5 and 4.5 on the meter. The question each Catholic voter must ask is, Does the Republican candidate represent a chance to advert evil and promote good. If not, it is morally permissible to abstain from voting for any of the four candidates for president. Not contributing to evil is not “throwing your vote away”. His Excellency Bp. Gracida recently wrote on his blog abyssum.org that abstaining for voting for President this year is moral. The only chance is if a candidate who is measurably less morally offensive registers as a write-in candidate by August 23. The Constitution Party in Texas is in the process of doing that for the national candidate, Darrell Castle. The platform is pro-life and pro-marriage.

7. c matt - July 28, 2016

What is it about Trump?

Some thoughts:

1. He says what everyone is thinking (especially on immigration) and cares not a whit for the PC consequences
2. He actually has a personality (whether or not you like it).
3. He has no qualms calling out Hildebeast on anything and everything (no Queen of Marksbury Rules for him).
4. He at least promises what people want done (whether or not he will do it or even believes it).
5. He has positioned himself as an “outsider” – the establishment hated him (whether for effect or reals, who knows), and to get an outsider elected seems to breath some hope in a future GOP nominee closer to Castle than McCain.

c matt - July 28, 2016

6. Oh yeah, forgot the most important – Hildebeast scares the bejeezus out of any sane person, and Trump is the best shot at taking her down.

8. oneholyapostolic - July 28, 2016

Never confuse personality with character. Yes he is brash, bold, and a New Yorker. A man’s man. There is a great article on the history of righteous men being used for the greater good to defeat evil. Catholics4Trump have an excellent article: http://www.catholics4trump.com/the-modern-christian-temptation-to-confuse-personality-with-character/
Based on current tren 73.3 Million Repubs, Independents & Dems will vote Trump. It will be YUGE!

9. Michael Sestak - July 28, 2016

I appreciate your summary of this issue. The most reasonable response to this election is detailed by the commentators.

Allow me to say, what is disappointing here is the ‘preface’ as you attempt to distance yourself from any possible affiliation with the Society, lest the those on the sidelines (i.e. Fraternity and Institute) be scandalized.

In unfiltered Trump-speak: Get a backbone and stop being afraid to give the Society credit where it’s due — without the disclaimers.

Tantumblogo - July 28, 2016

Huh. Funny, someone who is very close to the Society actually advised me I was quite right to do so.

Good thing I don’t blog to win people’s approval.

Ann Malley - July 28, 2016

That advice was wrong, Tantumblogo. Much like the advice to shinny on pretending oneself principled in helping Hillary Clinton to be elected.

Hillary is very clear about what she intends and will follow through.

So while you may “fear” what Trump may or may not do, to toss off your vote – one purchased by the blood and sacrifice of others – so that we can do a quick dive into the heights of perversion, no gun rights, massive Muslim invasion, etc, then go for it.

But it’s that kind of weakness that has ruined this country and the Catholic Church. Sorry.

This isn’t a matter of blogging for approval. But seriously. What kind of Catholic would tout the SSPX guidelines while at the same time shinnying around wanting to be “perceived” as a-okay regarding “full communion.”

Word is out that that last bit is an utter joke. A joke because it is a letter of the law used to act against the Catholic Faith and the faithful. That’s why you’ll get straight speak from the Society website. If there were “full communion” there’d be the requisite gag order.

Same thing with Trump. The guy is learning. But getting rid of the Johnson amendment is precisely the way to let priests do their jobs in teaching, preaching, and forming individuals.

Grace builds upon nature. And from a natural perspective, tossing off your vote in the hopes that God will work a miracle – when He’s given you a tool to use (Trump) – is presumption.

This is the lifeboat. It may be leaky and look scary, but that’s the only one comin’. So let’s hop on.

Tantumblogo - July 28, 2016

Please. Listen to yourself. Voting my conscience, for a far more reliably moral and conservative alternative, is now “tossing off my vote.” Instead I should hold my nose yet again and vote for a man thrice married who brags of how many marriages he’s ended through his philandering. A man who at one time said even partial birth abortion should be legal, and who steadfastly maintained a very pro-abort position for decades prior to deciding he might want to try his hand at politics. But I’m the one disrespecting the right to vote earned with blood, because I should compromise and take a flyer on a man of highly dubious beliefs instead of voting for the most morally upright option available. Not to do so is tantamount to voting for Hillary. Gotcha.

When it comes to the Fraternity and what they are “allowed” to say, the only hard prohibition I know of is……..criticism of the Society. For the rest, some of the most thorough denunciations/deconstructions of Vatican II I’ve ever heard or read came from Fraternity priests. There have also been very good criticisms of the current pontiff. It varies, but the SSPX propaganda that the Fraternity is completely neutered of any criticism by being in full communion is patently false.

I doubt any reader of this blog is more cognizant of, or has greater respect for, the blood of those who have fought and died for this country. It is that respect that to a great degree has made me disgusted with constant moral compromise when voting for many candidates. I find your comment extremely offensive and ill-mannered and an apology is in order. I have seen this kind of over-the-top behavior from Trump supporters all over the internet and I’m not going to have it here. I’m not going to be morally blackmailed – especially on such specious grounds – on my own blog. In fact, I’d rather just ban you outright, because you’ve left a lot of nasty comments, but for some reason I’m being nice. I’ll probably regret it.

DM - July 28, 2016

Tantum you must be very lucky with the Fraternity priests you’ve had, because what you describe is nearly the complete opposite of my experience with the FSSP, and I’ve been at half a dozen of their parishes. It’s almost always been a disappointment for me. Maybe Texas just gets all the good ones.

Tantumblogo - July 28, 2016

We did have three very good priests. They aren’t around any more, and I’ll admit certain things are no longer talked about as much. The one now in Tyler was the best in that regard. But there are others, one who is now a pastor, who were quite willing to speak out. Fr. Romanowski in Guadalajara is also really good in that regard.

Tantumblogo - July 28, 2016

I’m in a difficult position. I’ve generally been very kind to the SSPX, more kind than many I’m close to would like me to be. I’ve lost friendships and collaborations due to my refusal to criticize the Society. All I did was clarify that it wasn’t an endorsement per se. Doing so was disappointing to you, but if I hadn’t others would have been. It’s a no win situation for me, hence the frustration, but that’s also why I did it in a somewhat flippant manner.

10. LaGallina - July 28, 2016

I cannot wait till next week when we are traveling to Silver City, NM to celebrate with the Benedictine Monks of Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery for their 25th anniversary. (SSPX!!)

I only wish I had more opportunities to be involved with those wicked Lefebvreists!🙂

Tantumblogo - July 28, 2016

I didn’t say anyone was wicked. I pray you have a very fruitful trip. I’d like to go to the mountains of NM, too.

Tim - July 29, 2016

This is insane. Hillary’s evil influence has got even us attacking each other over Hillary/ Trump and SSPX/FSSP-ICK. We Americans and our collective rejection of God have earned us Hillary being on the brink of becoming the president. In His Mercy, God has given us a quite flawed alternative, which is more than we deserve. This our last chance. We can’t afford the luxury of our individual consciences. We must accept what God is willing to allow us even if we don’t like it. There is no possible Catholic justification for a vote for the most evil candidate for this office ever. Michael and Chris just offered a reasonable Catholic justification for a vote for Trump. Sometimes our ideals, while good, can be pursued over zealously resulting in disaster. Please, please let’s keep our eyes on the target and that is Hillary must not become president. If Trump turns out lousy in the office he can be primaryed. It will take Hillary less than 4 years to complete the job Obama started. We’re at 11:59:59 pm……let’s not turn into pumpkins. God Bless you all fellow Catholics.

Ann Malley - July 29, 2016

Well said, Tim. But divide and conquer is the method. And sadly, while pinching our noses is not something any of us like, doing so is exactly what must be done to change the soiled diaper we’ve left too long.

Can’t toss out the baby either.

LaGallina - July 29, 2016

I know. I’m just teasing because I used to think the SSPX must be wicked because of all the dire warnings about them in the Father Z comment box and throughout the “devout Norvus Ordo” world — publications and blogs. But time & time again I kept coming across beautiful Catholic things (books, Mass on YouTube, encouragement from Archbisop Lefebrve’s writings) and I decided to start investigating the SSPX on my own.

Tantumblogo - July 29, 2016

Well I think we all owe them a debt of thanks for their existence, because without them, there would be no Ecclesia Dei or Summorum Pontificum. Even more, we all may be desperately glad they’re around in a few years if the modernists start rolling back all the “permissions” for the TLM.

11. Domenic Di Girolamo - July 28, 2016

Pope Pius XII reasons no longer apply — why not?.

12. Brian E. Breslin - July 30, 2016

Tantum, you have indeed fought the good fight and your support of all who have served is topped by no other blogger I have read. Your defense of the Faith also is peerless. Today at Mass we heard the story of John the Baptist’s death and the evil Herod who, though seemingly intrigued by John, gives in to the baseness of his lust for Salomé. He did not spare any conscience he had left in his sinned-tossed mind. I am with you in seeing the evil in both of these major candidates; I will vote my conscience and cast my ballot for neither Clinton nor Trump. I am a proud Catholic Navy veteran who backs you all the way no matter how you decide- because you clearly weigh everything as if your very soul depends on it. I am proud to read your material.

13. Margaret Costello - July 30, 2016

Hang in there, Tantum:+) Don’t let the drama or accusations blind you:+) I love the SSPX and got why you said what you said. It’s sad you had to say it at all…being that the Society are the heroes in all this…but like you said, we can’t please everyone. I guess the answer is to please nobody except God:+) And I think that’s what will guide you in this…pleasing Him:+) God bless you always my brother:+)


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