SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Drawing particular attention to the Democratic Party platform’s support for “intrinsic evils” like abortion and same-sex “marriage,” Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., has said that Catholics need to “think and pray very carefully” about their votes in the upcoming election.
“My job is not to tell you for whom you should vote. But I do have a duty to speak out on moral issues,” Bishop Paprocki said in his Sept. 23 column for the Catholic Times diocesan paper. “I would be abdicating this duty if I remained silent out of fear of sounding ‘political’ and didn’t say anything about the morality of these issues.”
He said that voting for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are “intrinsically evil and gravely sinful” makes a voter “morally complicit” and places the eternal salvation of his or her soul in “serious jeopardy.”
There are “many positive and beneficial planks” in the Democratic Party platform, the bishop said, but some promote “serious sins.”
In 2008, he noted, the platform dropped its call for abortion to be “safe, legal and rare” in favor of the language “safe and legal.” It now supports abortion “regardless of the ability to pay.” He said this means either taxpayer funding for abortion, mandatory insurance coverage or coercion of hospitals to perform the procedures for free.
Bishop Paprocki added that the Democrats’ national platform supports same-sex “marriage,” deems “gay rights” to be “human rights” and calls for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman in federal law.
The bishop noted the existence of Republicans who support legalized abortion and others who support same-sex “marriage.” He said they are “equally as wrong as their Democratic counterparts,” but their positions do not have official party support.
Bishop Paprocki also examined the Republican Party platform and found that it has “nothing in it that supports or promotes an intrinsic evil or a serious sin.”
The platform’s support for allowing courts the option of imposing the death penalty in capital murder cases is not inherently opposed to Church teaching. He cited the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s teaching that the death penalty is permissible if it is the only possible way to defend human life.
Bishop Paprocki said that party’s differences about the needs of the poor and the challenges of immigration are “prudential judgments about the most effective means of achieving morally desirable ends, not intrinsic evils.”
He concluded his column with a prayer that God give Catholic voters the “wisdom and guidance to make the morally right choices.”