Tuesday, September 14, 2004

In case you have not heard...

Vatican Document Misused by Kerry Supporters in the Church and Media

From Culture of Life Foundation:

A memo released privately two months ago by the Vatican's leading theologian, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, is being portrayed by the media and liberal Catholics as giving Catholic voters permission to vote for the pro-abortion Democratic candidate for President.

So far, a moral theologian and a high-ranking official of the Detroit Archdiocese, where the story first broke, say the document's precise language is being distorted.

Ratzinger issued a private memo in the spring that explored whether pro-abortion politicians ought to be denied communion. He concluded that they must be denied communion if, after consistent teaching by the bishop, they persist in their error regarding abortion.

It is the final and separate paragraph to his memo that is causing all the confusion and controversy. In a short "nota bene," Ratzinger answers the question whether a voter may receive communion if he has voted for a pro-abortion politician. He concludes that any vote for a pro-abortion politician is cooperation in "evil." He goes on to say that a person who votes for a pro-abortion politician may receive communion but only if he voted that way for "proportionate" reasons. And this is the phrase that the media and liberal Catholics have used to give permission to vote for the pro-abortion John Kerry. Some are claiming that "proportionate" reasons may be any serious issue that the voter cares about, the war in Iraq, for instance.

Father Stephen Torraco, chairman of the theology department at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusettes, says this interpretation of "proportionate" is wrong. Taracco says the term "proportionate" has a very specific meaning within Catholic moral theology and that "proportionate reasons" for voting for a pro-abortion candidate would have to be limited to stopping other intrinsically evil acts similar to abortion. Even a candidate's support for capital punishment or war could not be used to justify voting for a pro-abortion candidate, he said, because neither of those things are intrinsically immoral according to Catholic teaching.

Besides Taracco's, a response was issued by the chancellor of the Archdiocese of Detroit, where the story first broke. Presumably writing for the Archbishop of Detroit, Cardinal Adam Maida, Father Robert J. McClory, wrote that the issue was "much more nuanced than was reported in the Free Press article . . ." He said that Ratzinger's note did not clear the way to vote for a pro-abortion candidates. "The distribution of this text has led to much debate over what might be 'proportionate reasons' in the context of the moral evil of abortion, including how this might apply when all the candidates for a given office support abortion to varying degrees. Suffice it to say that 'proportionate reasons' go far beyond simply 'agreeing with the candidate's other stands.'"

Many other news outlets including The Washington Post have reported on the note but have omitted an adequate explanation of the term "proportionate reasons." Culture and Cosmos has learned that at least one, possibly more, prominent bishops are planning to address the problem in the coming days.

Copyright, 2004 --- Culture of Life Foundation

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