He's written a book on faith and politics, and in an interview tackles a thorny question:
I think the real question is how you interpret the part of the document, which flows from Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter to us when we met in Denver. It’s this: what is a ‘proportionate reason’ [to vote for a pro-choice candidate]? ... [Non-Catholics: Cardinal Ratzinger is now Pope Benedict XVI]His previous book, "Living the Catholic Faith" is an excellent read as well.
I think there are legitimate reasons you could vote in favor of someone who wouldn’t be where the church is on abortion, but it would have to be a reason that you could confidently explain to Jesus and the victims of abortion when you meet them at the Judgment. That’s the only criterion. It can’t be that we favor a particular party, or that we’re hostile to the war, or so on.
Charleston diocese is currently without a bishop, since Archbishop Baker was transferred to Alabama and the diocese where EWTN is located. I pray we get a Chaput or a Burke, who writes a great letter, in his place!
H/T Curt Jester
I believe that the document referred to is Faithful Citizenship which is
The letter from then-Cardinal Ratzinger is here and refers to a letter to the USCCB when they met in Denver in 2004 to consider the same document. (I can't find a copy of the 2004 version online in my limited time today, to find the exact quote regarding the proportionate reason.)
I think they update the same document prior to big elections. If I'm wrong and you know it, please drop me a comment! I'm not an episcopal expert, just an armchair quarterback.
The new document explicitly says this, about the temptations to rationalize a pro-choice vote:
In other words, there basically is no proportionate reason to justify the killing of an unborn person. It is a clarification to confusion caused by the bishops in 2004 assuming Catholics in the pew were properly catechized. Priest for Life takes up that issue with the 2004 document here.
“The first is a moral equivalence that makes no ethical distinctions between different kinds of issues involving human life and dignity,” it says. “The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life is always wrong and is not just one issue among many.”
The second temptation, the draft says, “is the misuse of these necessary moral distinctions as a way of dismissing or ignoring other serious threats to human life and dignity,” citing racism, the death penalty, unjust war, torture and war crimes, hunger and health care, and unjust immigration policies.
In essence, The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was saying that the bishops were in harmony with the principles of the Faith with their document Faithful Citizenship. Clear as mud now, isn't it?
Now, I've got JW's coming over, so I must go brush up on the reality of the physical Resurrection of Christ. A little light reading for a rainy afternoon, eh?