I've just been to 'The Cafeteria is Closed' website and been somewhat unsettled with US catholic attitudes towards the forthcoming presidential elections. I felt compelled to put in my farthing's worth.....
Primarily I have the deepest concerns with US catholic attitudes to delegating their democratic executive power in their vote during presidential elections; and fear that through ignorance and poor doctrinal catechesis they are being led astray and technically excommunicating themselves.
Canon law is very specific : Irrespective of the pronouncements from the US conference of Bishops and the meek equivocations leaking out from the Vatican.
Canon 1329§2 In the case of a latae sententiae penalty attached to an offence, accomplices, even though not mentioned in the law or precept, incur the same penalty if, without their assistance, the crime would not have been committed, and if the penalty is of such a nature as to be able to affect them; otherwise, they can be punished with ferendae sententiae penalties.
Judicial murder is a latae sententiae excommunicable act - this includes
a] illegal, unjust war
b] abortion and euthanasia
c] the actuation of capital punishment upon the incarcerated ; this is not congruent with a 'last recourse double-effect' death penalty which prevents immediate direct aggression in order to preserve threatened life [ref. CCC & Evangelium Vitae]
Any catholic who conspires in these actions through their executive democratic vote [i.e. a presidential election differs from all other types of election in that the person, not the party is being given direct power by a voter] is guilty of conspiring in latae sententiae excommunicable acts and may have automatically excommunicated themselves.
I do not understand why the US bishops and cardinals are being so lenient against catholic politicians who have excommunicated themselves [ pro-choice politicians are no longer in communion with the church - merely denying them access to the Blessed Sacrament is tantamount to a leniency which conspires in the act.]
In the last election it was technically canonically impossible for a catholic to vote for either Bush or Kerry. Both have records of conspiring in judicial murder via war, life issues and execution.
What of the next election ?A catholic must not, indeed cannot vote for candidates who conspire in the culture of death.
Secondly I feel I have to refer to both the Gospels and Catholic Social teaching esp. since Rerum Novarum: A catholic is obliged to promote the Corporal and Spiritual works of mercy - and this MUST be a consideration in regards to a social and welfare policy. To those right-wing catholics who wish for small government, low taxation, minimal welfare benefits and oppose universal healthcare and free education; my I remind them that they are in direct contravention of the teaching of Christ in Matthew 25!
Thirdly there are exigencies which must be given due consideration ; the principles of the NRA, pro-nuclear weapons and aggressive foreign policy organizationns, prejudicial groups, or anti-immigration groups, or xenophobic insular societies which promote the lowering of the budget, if not removal of food,aid,medical supplies to our overseas neighbours in the developing world; are NOT conducive to catholic teaching.
We are commanded by Christ to Love our Neighbour and never to demean ourselves by treating any other as a lesser individual, or to promote the wasting of money and resources and manpower on endeavours which are antagonistic and contrary to this.
To clarify, may I remind those who support the NRA or nuclear weapons or a high defence expenditure or an aggressive hawk overseas policy - guns and WMD are designed solely for one purpose - and it is not the promotion of life - a gun is designed to kill via penetration and hydrostatic shock- there is nothing defensive about it - I should think we are aware of the effects of nuclear weapons.
I am deeply saddened that too many US catholic citizens compromise, indeed jeopardise, their faith during these periods leading up to elections; a catholic simply cannot promote or ostensibly vindicate anything which is contrary to their Faith - and this is not because they are in a quandary induced by moral dillemma where the choice is either an intrinsically moral disordered position over a position of pure evil [e.g. I have to vote for the anti-catholic morals republican because the democrat is pro-choice] this is fallacious thinking - A catholic is only morally obliged to vote in an executive election where they can do so without compromising their executive democratic delegative power - to conspire in that which is contrary is not permissible; even though it is during normal non-executive elections [i.e. where you can vote for the 'least worst'].
That opportunity is NOT available to a catholic in an executive election; for they technically conspire in all the policies that are actuated by said president.
This may seem harsh and irrational and unrealistic ; but there are times when it is neither feasible nor tenable to vote for any candidate as to do so would jeapordise one's faith.
I say to US catholics that they need authentic, sincere, devout, orthodox catholics to come forth and participate in these presidential elections in order for them to be both represented and ABLE to vote.
Otherwise they may compromise their very position within the One,Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.