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Bishop Paprocki: voting for candidate who supports intrinsic evils jeopardizes one’s salvation

Catholic World News - September 28, 2012

Strongly criticizing provisions of the Democratic Party platform, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield (Illinois) warned that “a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.”

Bishop Paprocki first discussed the controversy over the inclusion of the word “God” in the party’s platform:

After outcries of protest from outside as well as within the Democratic Party, the sentence with the same reference to God used in 2008 was restored to read, "We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential."

Before anyone relaxes and concludes that all is well now that the Democratic Party Platform contains a single passing reference to God, the way that this was done should give us pause. Convention chairman Antonio Villaraigosa had to call for the voice vote three times because each time the sound level for the "ayes" and the "nays" sounded about even, far short of the two-thirds necessary according to convention rules to amend the platform. That did not stop the convention chairman from declaring, "The ayes have it!"

What is troubling about that is the blatant disregard for the rules and for the apparent wishes of about half the delegates. The reference to God is back in the platform apparently because President Obama wanted it back in. That may be fine for now, but if a future president wants references to God taken out, apparently that can be done regardless of the wishes of the delegates if that is what The Leader wants. That does not bode well for democracy in the Democratic Party.

Bishop Paprocki then offered strong criticism of the party’s positions on abortion and same-sex marriage:

In 1992 Presidential candidate Bill Clinton famously said that abortion should be "safe, legal and rare" … Apparently "rare" is so last century that it had to be dropped, because now the Democratic Party Platform says that abortion should be "safe and legal." Moreover the Democratic Party Platform supports the right to abortion "regardless of the ability to pay." Well, there are only three ways for that to happen: either taxpayers will be required to fund abortion, or insurance companies will be required to pay for them (as they are now required to pay for contraception), or hospitals will be forced to perform them for free.

Moreover, the Democratic Party Platform also supports same-sex marriage, recognizes that "gay rights are human rights," and calls for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law signed by President Clinton in 1996 that defined marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman.

Now, why am I mentioning these matters in the Democratic Party Platform? There are many positive and beneficial planks in the Democratic Party Platform, but I am pointing out those that explicitly endorse intrinsic evils. My job is not to tell you for whom you should vote. But I do have a duty to speak out on moral issues. 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.

Turning to the Republican Party platform, he added:

So what about the Republicans? I have read the Republican Party Platform and there is nothing in it that supports or promotes an intrinsic evil or a serious sin … One might argue for different methods in the platform to address the needs of the poor, to feed the hungry and to solve the challenges of immigration, but these are prudential judgments about the most effective means of achieving morally desirable ends, not intrinsic evils.

Certainly there are "pro-choice" Republicans who support abortion rights and "Log Cabin Republicans" who promote same-sex marriage, and they are equally as wrong as their Democratic counterparts. But these positions do not have the official support of their party.

“I am not telling you which party or which candidates to vote for or against, but I am saying that you need to think and pray very carefully about your vote, because a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy,” he concluded.

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Show 8 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: sarsok8679 - Sep. 29, 2012 5:01 PM ET USA

    The rumor mill or maybe its just a hope and wish is that when Cardinal George retires Bishop Paprocki will become the Archbishop of Chicago...

  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Sep. 29, 2012 3:26 PM ET USA

    It makes me laugh when our priests and bishops say "I'm not telling you how to vote,but...." Man up and admit that you are doing just that. Your job,clergy, is to inform us of the morality of choices. Of course,if the Democratic Party is advancing an immoral choice,we must not vote for their candidate. We are not served well by double-talk. Enough of PC.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Sep. 29, 2012 8:26 AM ET USA

    ..."places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy." This statement is as unusual as it is striking. Soon some will note the 95th anniversary of the Miracle at Fatima. Our Lady gave reasons for hope, but she also warned of death. Eternal death. Christian charity involves courage. It's often uncomfortable. It's awkward and requires God's grace and a disregard for the vanities of human respect. Thank you Bishop Paprocki for your charity, for your authentic Christian love.

  • Posted by: dagbat - Sep. 28, 2012 11:27 PM ET USA

    Over 55 million unborn babies have been willfully killed in the US since 1973. It is a human and moral tragedy. Of the two parites, most Republicans want to put a stop to the killing on moral grounds. Most Democrats disagree for secular reasons. So this November we have a clear choice – vote to stop the killing, or vote to continue it.

  • Posted by: williiam ronner - Sep. 28, 2012 7:24 PM ET USA

    Thank you, Bishop Paprocki!

  • Posted by: gfdsmith9280 - Sep. 28, 2012 6:35 PM ET USA

    What Bishop Paprocki says about American Catholics refusing to vote for any election candidates who support such immoral policies as abortion, SSM, etc, applies also to Catholics elsewhere in the world. No British Catholic can support any of the main political parties, Conservative, Labour or Liberal Democrat, because they all intend to legalise "gay marriage". We are effectively disfranchised and have become second-class citizens in the UK. American Catholics, too, are now aliens.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Sep. 28, 2012 5:11 PM ET USA

    What a fantastic, straightforward, unequivocating letter! Do you think we are finally getting bishops who are MEN of God? I sure hope so.

  • Posted by: rpp - Sep. 28, 2012 2:11 PM ET USA

    Democrats have been fooling Catholics, and Christians too, for so long that such words are shocking to hear from a Catholic Bishop. Shocking, but extremely welcome. May God bless you, Bishop Paprocki.

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