We Australians are not usually too excited about the things that go on at the US Catholic Bishops Conference. However, this statement–“Faithful Citizenship” is a “how to vote” guide from the recently completed session of the USCBC just in time for our election next week. It was prepared for their upcoming 2008 Presidential election, but in general it is applicable here as well.
John Allen says that the text “was approved by an overwhelming 97.8 vote in favor, and the result drew a standing ovation from the bishops.” That’s quite something for the Americans, as far as I understand. It is notable for its “seamless garment” approach to Catholic Social doctrine which nevertheless strongly favours the “non-negotiables” of the protection of human life.
Regarding voting for a pro-choice candidate, it says:
There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences or to ignore a fundamental moral evil.
When asked what a “truly grave reason” might be, Archbishop Chaput opined:
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.