Voting, the Third Way

(photo: KRT Illustrations)

Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., advises Catholics who are contemplating a vote for Barack Obama for president to “give consideration to your eternal salvation.”

Those are some of the strongest words yet from a U.S. bishop regarding the incompatibility of voting for Obama and acting in accordance with a properly formed Catholic conscience.

But Bishop Finn’s point, that no proportionate reason justifies voting for a candidate who is as extreme on abortion as Obama, has been expressed by scores of other American bishops this fall.

That doesn’t mean that the only choice for faithful Catholics is to vote for Republican candidate John McCain, however.

Some thoughtful American Catholics, such as Register contributor Mark Shea, have concluded that neither the Republican nor the Democratic candidate deserves their support. Shea’s thoughts on the issue have been articulated at his blog, Catholic and Enjoying It.

Another well-known Catholic commentator, Dawn Eden, is a huge fan of Shea’s. But Eden says that this time she must take issue with the reasoning of Shea, who she describes as “a friend, a brother in Christ, and also, in a very real sense, one of my spiritual fathers.”

“So, it is with sadness that I observe his tireless and emphatic efforts to convince Catholics to follow him in supporting a ‘quixotic,’ unelectable third-party presidential candidate,” Eden writes here on her blog, The Dawn Patrol.

Adds Eden, “Mark’s concern is that he’s ‘tired of being played’ after voting for candidates who fails to live up to their party’s platforms. So, he’s effectively using his vote and his online voice towards enabling the election of a candidate who, say what you will, has every intention of living up to his party’s platform: unlimited abortion on demand at taxpayer expense. And worse will come if Obama has the opportunity to make good on the vow he made to Planned Parenthood, signing the Freedom of Choice Act.”

Shea responds to Eden’s post here. Read both sides of the debate — one that Shea and Eden conduct with commendable civility — and judge for yourself who’s made the better case.

— Tom McFeely