Saturday, May 15, 2004

Pastoral letter from Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs on the duties of Catholic Politicians and Voters

Wow! What a bishop they have in C. Springs! This is getting much of attention because of the line concerning Catholic "voters":

There must be no confusion in these matters. Any Catholic politicians who advocate for abortion, for illicit stem cell research or for any form of euthanasia ipso facto place themselves outside full communion with the Church and so jeopardize their salvation. Any Catholics who vote for candidates who stand for abortion, illicit stem cell research or euthanasia suffer the same fateful consequences. It is for this reason that these Catholics, whether candidates for office or those who would vote for them, may not receive Holy Communion until they have recanted their positions and been reconciled with God and the Church in the Sacrament of Penance.

Some feel those who vote for President Bush who happens to support abortion in some cases and has allowed some federal funding for ESCR, must refrain from communion.

I think this is nuts but deserves some response.

Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life) states:

When it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a proabortion law, an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences... . This does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects. (73)

Given this teaching I would say a vote for Bush is a desire to limit the evil of abortion and ESCR and thus is not sinful. Also, I would question whether or not President Bush's policy on funding some ESCR is "illicit". I think it is not, but I admit that it could be open to some debate.

Over on Amy Welborn's blog there is a good discussion going on concerning this letter.

I only hope and pray that Bishop Sheridan's words here do not make Catholics feel better about supporting Sen Kerry.

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