Faith, reason, and Catholic political engagement

What the Church expects us to do in this and every election is to follow our consciences—but also to form our consciences intelligently, in accord with Christian truth.

United States Capitol from top of the Washington Monument. (Image: Andy Feliciotti | Unsplash.com)

Before I finish this article, it will be obvious how my family and I will vote on November 3, and why. But I’ll also speak of a man whose Catholic faith and public service I greatly admire. And he’ll very likely vote in the opposite direction, for a different set of reasons. There’s a lesson in that.

The Church doesn’t tell us which candidates to vote for. Except in the most extreme circumstances, she can’t; that’s not her mission. But she can and does seek to guide us in thinking about issues and priorities. And that is part of her mission. How we vote is finally a matter of personal conscience. No one has a right to force another person to act contrary to his or her conscience. But we also need to remember that freedom of conscience, like every other freedom, carries a mortgage. We’re always responsible to do what’s morally right, as we understand it—and sooner or later, God will hold us accountable for our choices and actions. So voting is always a serious matter.

I want to start with a short list of statements that will seem irrelevant. But bear with me, and I think you’ll see where I’m going:

I believe in progress.

I believe in science.

I believe that love is love and kindness is everything.

I believe that an angel dictated the Koran to Muhammad.

I believe that sexual identity is a matter of self-discovery and choice, not biology.

I believe that life has no meaning except the meaning we create for ourselves.

I believe there is no God.

I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

All of these statements share a common thread: They’re creedal. They’re assertions of personal belief. And that leads me to make two observations.

Here’s my first point: We all believe in something. There are no non-believers. We’re not all formally “religious” in the Western sense of the word. But no matter how well we disguise or deny it, we all—in effect—worship something. We all organize our lives around certain basic convictions that can’t be proven but to which we nonetheless commit ourselves. For example, we all agree that “black lives matter.” This is so because, as Christians, we believe that all lives matter, and many people of color have suffered great injustice and been denied their God-given dignity. But why any life matters depends on our beliefs about the nature and purpose of the human person.

Some beliefs are clearly more reasonable than others. But reason itself is limited by the human sense organs that our reasoning depends on, and they provide us with measurable, material facts, not purpose or meaning. This is why the Church has always placed such a heavy emphasis on the mutual dependence of faith and reason. Human beings need both. Faith without reason becomes sentimental nonsense. And reason without faith is dangerous; it lacks direction and meaning, and therefore always ends up as a weapon of the powerful.

Now having said all that:

Here’s my second point: Being Catholic begins at baptism. But if we want to live with honesty and integrity, it can’t end there. Being Catholic means submitting ourselves, and the way we think and live, to certain organizing beliefs. Jesus Christ is the only Son of God. He founded the Church. The Church teaches with his authority, even when her leaders and people are sinners. Lots of people claim to be Catholic. But unless we trust the Word of God and the teaching of the Church, and practice our faith with prayer and actions, we’re just deluding ourselves—and God, if he’s really God, won’t be fooled.

When I say to my wife, “I love you,” her response is, “That’s wonderful dear. Now prove it.” Our relationship with God is exactly the same. Our first loyalty, and our real citizenship, is not our political party or even the American nation. Our first loyalty and home is heaven (Phil 3:20). And that fact should rule every aspect of our lives—both personal and public. If we’re not willing to witness with our actions what we claim to believe with our words, then we don’t really believe it. Again, this is a matter of simple honesty.

So what does this mean for Catholic political engagement? It means three things.

First, politics is important. Politics involves the use of power, and the use of power always has a moral dimension. Aristotle taught that politics is one of the most important forms of human activity because it’s the way in which we take part in organizing the welfare of the human community. Second, politics is limited. Augustine reminds us that we’re all sinners and even our best intentions are crippled by sin. We can’t build heaven on earth, and when we try, we create a pretty good replica of hell instead. Utopian politics and social experiments are not just delusions, they’re dangerous. We can’t simply erase the sins of the past and start over from Ground Zero as a society, because we’re all implicated in the same national story. Utopian idealism always ends badly, and the last century is one long lesson in how radically bad it can get. All politics is imperfect. As a result, Augustine would say that we need to be modest and practical in our political goals, while working incrementally to make society as good and as just as we can. Third and finally, Catholic political engagement flows from Catholic social teaching, and it’s precisely our Catholic faith that provides us with something valuable to contribute to society.

So what are the key elements of Catholic social teaching?

First, we have a duty to respect the sanctity of every life and the dignity of every individual. The disabled, the infirm, the elderly, and the unborn child are especially vulnerable in our current political environment because they usually can’t fight for themselves. Second, we have a duty to serve the common good. These two duties can’t be separated. We have obligations to both: We need to respect and protect individuals, and we need to serve the common good Moreover, there’s only one Catholic morality. There aren’t “two” Catholic moralities, one social and one sexual—one for serving the needs of immigrants, racial justice, and the poor, and another for dealing with abortion and sex.

In Catholic teaching, issues of our sexual behavior and issues of social justice are organically linked. They can’t be walled off from one another as unrelated categories. They flow from exactly the same biblical understanding of who and what a human being is. So we can’t be “pro-life” and simply ignore issues of poverty, racism, and access to decent health care. And likewise, we can’t call ourselves “Catholic” and wring our hands piously while we tolerate the industrial-scale killing of 50 million unborn American children over the last four decades. The right to life precedes and undergirds every other right.

So how do we apply all this to our practical political choices, when no choice is ever perfect?

Well, we need to inform ourselves. It’s not hard work, but it does take a little time and commitment to deepen our knowledge of our faith. The U.S. bishops have a useful guide to political reasoning on their website called Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. It’s very much worth reading. But the better, clearer guide—available as a free download on their website—is the bishops’ 1998 pastoral statement Living the Gospel of Life. It’s excellent, practical, and concise.

I’d also strongly suggest reading Render Unto Caesar, the 2008 book by Philadelphia’s former archbishop, Charles Chaput. It’s a good guide to thinking about our nation and its politics from a Catholic perspective. It’s fair and comprehensive, and an easy read.

What we need to understand is that many social issues are important—genuinely important—but not all important issues have the same weight. Stealing from my company’s petty cash is bad. Cheating on my spouse is worse. Murdering my neighbor is worst. They’re all bad actions. They all cause real harm. But they don’t have the same gravity. And it’s misleading to tie them all together as somehow equal. Because they’re not.

My wife and I have a son with Down syndrome, and three of our 10 grandchildren have moderate to severe disabilities. The intentional killing of an innocent human being can never be excused. And arguments about whether an unborn child is “fully human” are deceitful and irrelevant.

So for us, abortion is the foundational political issue of our age. We simply will not vote, ever, for a candidate who supports easy access to, or loose restrictions on, abortion. Nor will we vote, ever, for a candidate who supports policies that attack the Church and her ministries, undermine the integrity of the Christian family, interfere with the religious freedom of believers, or legitimize destructive sexual behavior. To take another example: For my wife and me, when a candidate supports the idea of transgender surgery for children, he or she is not being “tolerant,” but criminally negligent. That seems like it should be obvious to anyone with common sense and a decent moral formation. So it shouldn’t be hard to figure out how we’ll vote next Tuesday, and it won’t be for the Democratic ticket. But of course, others will do the calculus of this election differently. And some of those others I do admire greatly.

Dan Lipinski is a Democratic congressmen from southwest Chicago. His father was a congressman for 21 years. Dan won his seat in Congress when his dad retired. Dan has a doctorate in political science from Duke, he’s finishing his 16th year in Congress, and he’s a man of outstanding intellect and sincere Christian faith. In every sense, Dan is a real-deal Catholic. Throughout his political career he’s been genuinely pro-life, genuinely pro-family, and a committed supporter of the rights of the Church and religious freedom. And as a result, his own party abandoned him this year and ran an opponent against him in the Democratic primary.

Dan lost that primary, and in losing—come this January—he’ll lose not just the vocation of public service that he loved, but also his family’s livelihood. But Dan will stay in the Democratic Party and work to reform it from within. For Dan, the Democratic Party, on the balance, remains the better choice for our country. Thus he’ll probably vote for his party’s ticket. I don’t understand how Dan Lipinski can reason his way to that decision this November with the issues that we face. I think he’s wrong. But I’m not God. I do know that he’s a man of integrity, that he paid a serious price for that integrity, and that good people like him will nonetheless vote quite differently from my family and me this year, and they’ll do it with a clean heart.

So here’s a final thought.

What the Church expects us to do in this and every election is to follow our consciences—but also to form our consciences intelligently, in accord with Christian truth. A healthy conscience is a blessing, but it’s never a convenience. It’s not a free-floating personal opinion machine. It needs to be fed and developed and disciplined in a way so that it can recognize what’s right, and then insist on what’s right, even when we don’t want to hear it. What the Church asks is that, before we vote, we at least make a sincere effort to understand the truths which she teaches and why she teaches them, and then try honestly to follow her wisdom. If we do that, we’ve done what our faith requires by putting our faith first. That might sound easy, but it’s very hard in our current culture, where serious thought about anything is drowned out in emotion, distraction, heat, and noise.

As Catholics it’s our job to remove ourselves from those things, and to think before we vote so that we act with our brain and an examined conscience, and not just with our bile and emotions and the latest distortions from our mass media. And finally we also need to pray for our country and for each other—because we all very obviously need it.

(Editor’s note: The views expressed by the author are his own; CWR does not endorse political candidates or parties.)


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About Francis X. Maier 3 Articles
Francis X. Maier is a senior fellow in Catholic studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and senior research associate in Constitutional studies at the University of Notre Dame.

76 Comments

  1. Brilliant!
    You have articulated in the most clear, ordered and easy to understand manner what I have been thinking. Unlike you though, I would question the sanity, intellectual honesty and Christianity of those who would still vote the other way after reading what you have written.

    I am not American but am accutely aware of the gravity the decision that is before you.

    The brilliance of this article is that it is universal. It has much to say to everyone anywhere who will be at the ballot box now and and from here on.

    • NO, Amazing, that this political issue, government, can be construed to direct people. Redeem thou thy sins with alms, and thy iniquities with works of mercy to the poor. Charity to All, malice to none, must be the True Spirit of the Catholic Church, and its leaders.
      But not in the USA, we spend a Trillion a year to exterminate the poor from the face of the Earth last Year.. Murder, EXTERMINATION by Starvation, Genocide, to Yemen fully supported by the US Catholic leaders.. Haiti, Cuba, Mexico, and all of the Americas “Venezuela and Guatemala” in dire straights, all Catholic in significant numbers. Trump and the Wall defies all Catholic Charity demands, as exploding drug and sexual revolution that recognizes women in the USA are mere objects.
      Charity to all, malice to none, is the REAL UNNEGOTIBLE.

  2. A key point not mentioned in the article on faith and reason, is that through abortion millions upon millions of babies have been butchered. That is a fact, not some abstract point for a pointed headed discussion. Just to add to this sad fact, a huge portion of the butchered babies were Black, who the Dems are supposed to be defenders. A figure made in a previous article was that about 1,000 black babies are aborted each day. Just think about that for a minute! So any point (by a Dem. politician) that the Dems. are better for America is complete nonsense. Any Catholic who can ignore this basic fact in their voting decision (that Dems have no problem with the millions upon millions of aborted babies that never saw the light of day) are Catholics in Name Only (CINO). Many will say that is harsh, who are you to judge etc. I say your right, it is harsh, it is judgmental and it true.
    One last harsh, judgmental comment. If Lipinski left the Dem party because of abortion, he would absolutely have no cushy post Congressman career. It’s one thing to lose a primary, it’s quite another to destroy one political after life. Good Catholic that he is claimed to be, there is no way he will make that sacrifice to leave the Dem part over a few million aborted babies.

  3. Unfortunately, the author believes in fairy tales and the three little pigs as well. You simply cannot read the Bible and support the things he supports…unless your opinions are more important than God. It isn’t rocket science. The Bible is from God and unequivocally true…or it isn’t. One thing is sure, if the Bible is true the positions in this article article aren’t.

  4. The Democratic party left Dan Lipinski a long time ago. It’s too bad he hasn’t figured that out. I don’t know how you can defend his position. It is indefensible.

  5. No REAL, true, faithful Catholic Christian can vote Democrat. None. Dan Lipinski cannot call himself a faithful Catholic no matter what anyone says. If he were truthfully in opposition to abortion, he would not be a Democrat. If you “pretend” to be Catholic like Pelosi, Biden, Cuomo, etc., and you support abortion for any reason, you will pay the price when you stand before God at the end of your earthly life. God bless President Trump! GBA! KAG! Deus Vult!

    • Exactly. These true to themselves folks lack the final step in their failed position. I read recently that Abortion on one side far outweighs Social Justice, immigration, welfare, even Capital Punishment if you want. You can weigh them against abortion and it still is far below a fair balance. I liked this article. Never read him before. But in the end of it he makes his point with which I totally agree.
      Would the left agree with eliminating abortion in a trade off for those other issues ? Of course not !

      • Or if I were to say to a conservative that I do not support the death penalty, do you think I would receive the same response that I would get from a Democrat if I say I do not support abortion. No, for democrats abortion is a holy sacrament. Nany Pelosi even said so.

    • Jane, you paint with a very broad brush! I try never to use “all” and “none” without qualification. I fail, but I also try not to use labels. I could be considered to be a CINO since I adhere to the Hyde Amendment. Because my GOP has left me and who I can no longer identify with. My former party has genuflected before the altar of Caligula and his Roman Pretorian Guard.

      I am one who cherishes his faith without reservation. I have long ago discarded my branding iron. I hope you will to.

      • The bitter, hate filled invectives that constantly litter your posts puts the lie to your statements here. You cannot cherish faith while actively hating and slandering people, which you do here on a regular basis. Your branding iron certainly isn’t gathering dust in your garage. Please seek help.

      • You keep talking about the Hyde Amendment. It is an endeavor to limit abortions by forbidding the use of federal funding on it, supported by those who know that it is not perfect but it is the best that can be done since the disgraceful decision that was Roe v. Wade. It’s not supporting the Hyde Amendment that makes you a bad Catholic, or a Catholic in name only; it’s your support of abortion and those who push for it.

        “I am one who cherishes his faith without reservation.”

        I have seen nothing *but* reservations in your posts. You deny that abortion is always wrong, you disagree with the Church’s teachings, you have said flat out that you aren’t Catholic.

  6. The Catholic Church has its own problem with the recently much discussed principle of “severability,” aka, the Seamless Garment. N this egalitarian age, hierarchy becomes almost a profanity when introduced the not an argument. We have deep problems In our church. Your article does much to recognize this serious reality

    • The seamless garment argument is passe. Spouted by squishy bishops and priests. I confronted a priest one day after a homily that was promoting this from the puplit and his response was not pretty. I don’t hear it much anymore.

      If all the babies being aborted today were being publicly slaughtered and televised ( I am sure with 3D ultrasounds this is now possible), abortion would end in a nanosecond.

  7. Abortion is, of course, an abomination. But the candidate Francis Maier will be voting for ignores every other thing Christ teaches. He has no compassion, no empathy, does division, foments violence (even from the platform when addressing his supporters, lies constantly, seeks out praise and adulation, has self promotion at the heart of everything he does: the list goes on! MAGA is like Satan offering our Lord the world is only Jesus would worship him. Except, unlike our Lord, so many like Maier have fallen for the lie. We’re still waiting for Mexico to send us 5 cents towards the cost of the wall. Vote out this sociopath and escalate the fight against abortion!!

      • Yeah, sure.
        Trump knew VERY well that publicly supporting anti-abortion would achieve countless votes. Personally, is he an honest, forthright American, supporting ALL Americans in his position to defend and protect the WHOLE country, its democracy and constitution? Or less… his own political party? Unless you’ve been gone from the country for the last 4 years ,the answer is unequivocally…NO! Is abortion the ONLY subject to vote for in this election? Abortion is HORRIBLE! The 5th commandtment says “Thou shalt not kill” .Their are no ands, ifs, or buts to that commandment. However, in this election it is OK to elect a president who supports electric chair execution, removal of immigrant children from their parents, reduction of healthcare to millions, etc. etc. etc? Let bthge lord decide in this case the greater sin, NOT YOU.

    • All the descriptors used in your post equally apply to Biden, so where does that leave you? You don’t seriously think Biden is a viable moral alternative to Trump, do you?

    • Always good to hear from Never Trumpers who distorts the facts. One thing truly consistent about Never Trumpers is that they have no problems supporting the abortion of millions of babies.

    • What you suggest are Democratic talking points and could not be further from the truth. Bombast is not a crime and all of us do it every day ( “I thought I was going to kill him when he spilled that soda; she drove me crazy; She almost gave me a heart attack”.) We all do it its just that nobody is looking at US with a microscope and trying to play “gotcha”. BLUNT is a very New York thing and as I live in NY, I can tell you Trump is not grossly different than most New Yorkers I know. That attitude doesnt always play well in other less assertive parts of the country. New Yorkers feel that is too bad, but we have no intention of changing who we are. I will take the blunt truth over a smooth lie any day. ( “I never said I was opposed to fracking”—a LIE Joe Biden!!) If you imagine that Blunt is on the same scale as supporting INFANTICIDE ( which is where the DEM platform has now taken , or allowing the transgendering of 8 year olds ( which Biden is on tape as supporting) ), I would suggest you are very misguided. And by the way, tariffs sure are a way that Mexico is paying for the wall. Finally, I can;t imagine anything more important than the fact of all the thousands of JOBS Trump brought back to the US after the DEMOCRATS exported so many of them to China. Such that we couldnt even make enough of our own meds or protective gear during the pandemic. Gee, thanks Joe Biden!!!

      • And speaking of China — not until Donald Trump entered the White House did this country seriously begin to address the reality of China’s enmity toward us. Inasmuch as his opponent not only doesn’t see the PRC and its ruling communist party as an opponent, he and his family are selling out this country for Chinese money. Voting for Biden-Harris is grasping for an illusion, based on lies — one of which is that if you like your freedom of religion you can keep it.

    • You are so wrong about President Trump! WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! It angers me that so many of you cannot see the man for the real person he is. Sure he can be rough around the edges but he does not play that political game as so many do in this country. How do you accept Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden? These so called CATHOLICS live a lie. I can judge them because of their stance primarily on abortion. Don’t portend to judge President Trump because as far as I’m concerned he IS more of a Christian!

    • James writes “Abortion is, of course, an abomination”. Then by all means cast your vote for the person that fully supports this abomination.

      Trump is a guy from Queens. He is the first republican that fought against the corrupt media. Trump’s campaign was spied on by the previous administration, falsely accused of being a Russian agent, and then impeached for a crime that your candidate actually committed. These actions sound more like the work of Satan than the vague opinions you express. Trump has done more for the black community than all presidents have done since Lincoln. The robust economy lifted all wages.

      The vast majority of democrats and republicans have supported the idea of securing the border and where necessary the building of a wall to stem the flow of ILLEGAL immigrants, many of whom are here doing crimes. Sex trafficking is very real my friend.

      People just love to hate Trump though and it is what they live for. It appears as though the Republicans will hold the senate so the damage that Joe and nancy will inflict will not be as great as it could be.

  8. I won’t sully this space by stating that any Catholic who votes for the Democrats in this coming election is as bad as a Catholic voting for Hitler in 1933.

    That would be, after all, reductio ad Hitlerum in its grossest form.

    Plus, in point of fact, as of 1933, Hitler was not yet guilty of the Holocaust or the rest of his monstrous crimes. So his evil was not yet fully realized.

    Of course, by the time it was finished, historians guess that Hitler’s hideous regime was eventually responsible for the purposeful murder of somewhere between 10 and 15 million innocent people, not including those who were killed in his pointless wars.

    Naturally, the Nazis never called it murder. It was given terms that were much more palatable — e.g., “special treatment” or “the final solution.”

    By comparison, the Democrats’ advocacy of abortion has directly resulted in the deaths of more than 60 million innocent Americans — so far anyway — plus the deaths of hundreds of millions more innocents around the world, spanning six unimaginable decades.

    Which is evil on a scale many, many times that of the Nazis. Even the Nazis in 1945, let alone 1933.

    Needless to say, like the Nazis, the Democrats do not call their murders “murder.”

    They call them “choice” and “women’s health” and “family planning.”

    Nice.

    So, no, I won’t say that Mr. Lipinski voting Democratic this year is like a Catholic voting for Hitler in 1933.

    Because it is far, far, far, far worse.

    • Also, remember that there were doctors working in Nazi death camps, so they were “following the science,” too. I mention that because the “truth” being propagated by media is that the administration doesn’t follow the science. Many people will vote based on that information, unfortunately.

  9. While I am against abortion since I believe it is murder, I cannot and will not vote for someone who stands with white supremacists and locks children in cages. You say right to life means more than just abortion, where do you see that same feeling in this administration. There is no care about Black lives or any other lives for this current president except for those who he feels will re-elect him. You also say we all believe that Black Lives Matter. Really? Ask the white supremacists who support Trump if they feel that way. Simply because he talks about ending abortion (which should end) you run out and vote for him. Are you blind to the ways he sticks up for those who promote white power “Stand down and stand by?” He invites and encourages violence from his supporters. So he says he wants to end abortion –did you ever stop to think that he says that simply because he knows there is a large group of people who support him who will vote for him base on that. ALWAYS REMEMBER: GOD GIVES US WHAT WE NEED; THE DEVIL GIVES US WHAT WE WANT. DON’T BE FOOLED.

    • Well, I suppose I must be a white supremacist then & my children also because we support the preservation of historic monuments in Charlottesville.
      I wish folks would not keep repeating deliberate disinformation about what the president said -which was that there were good people on both sides of the issue.
      There were also bad people on both sides.
      Most good people listened to law enforcement & stayed home during the protests.
      Donald Trump is an accidental conservative & no reactionary. If you don’t like his personality & views, fair enough. He’s an acquired taste. But please don’t repeat the political spin.

    • Your statement – “The white supremacists who support Trump.”

      1) Define the term ‘white supremacist.’
      2) Name one – by name – who supports Trump.

      • Okay, David Duke for one. But what does that signify? I expect there are a few black nationalists supporting Biden/Harris. Out of millions of people you have a few folk like that on either extreme side of the spectrum.
        Donald Trump is really an accidental president and barely conservative but he has delivered on his promises which is why I’m voting for him again.

    • Please take the time to review some conservative websites suppressed by Google and Twitter
      And see all the news you’ve missed. I would suggest Whatfinger .com, One America News(OANN) or Citizen Free Press

      • Low information voters will again be a problem, and possibly sway the election. If that happens then we all have to takr a step back. I would like to see much more effort on accompanying parents in their life-long effort of forming Christ-centered persons.

    • Wow! You sound like a CNN or one of the other media outlets who talk that way. That is their warped interpretation of the Trump presidency and the man. I try to listen to his speeches for myself so that I can judge without interpretation and have found Trump to be a man who has grown morally and continues to grow. On the other hand, Biden is a man who has decided that he is god and he can pick and choose what he believes the Bible to teach (although I bet he couldn’t defend his positions by quoting anything from the Bible). He is also settled in his idea of what faith in God is (his own interpretation again) and he cannot be moved. Come Holy Spirit!!
      As for black lives matter, being married to an African-American with 2 children and 2 grandchildren, has taught me that those blacks who think for themselves and work to improve their lives with all the opportunities this country gives them, are the ones who succeed. My husband and I became Republicans when our small business saw their platform to be better for us and became firmly entrenched over life issues. After all, it is the black population of this country who have been most decimated by the pro-choice agenda of the Democrats. I won’t give my grandchildren or great grandchildren over to abortionists. Vote Trump and do take a hard look at the party platforms, not just the candidates. We are a country of more than 2 people running for office. The party platforms are much further apart than any two men. All lives matter in my God’s world. He gives us what we need to take care of them all.

    • “While I am against abortion since I believe it is murder, I cannot and will not vote for someone who stands with white supremacists and locks children in cages.”

      Give me an example of a white supremacist with whom President Trump stands.

      And just exactly what do you suggest be done with children who have been brought to and through dangerous situations by people who may or may not be their parents or other relatives, while those adults are detained for breaking the law? Or do you think we should just throw open the borders and say “Come one, come all, and we won’t bother even to screen you?” And have you, to be consistent, removed the locks from your doors and windows and issued a blanket invitation to anybody who wants to enter your house?

      “You say right to life means more than just abortion, where do you see that same feeling in this administration.”

      Where do you see a lackof that feeling in this administration? Specificallly, not the mindless repetition of talking points that are fed to you to regurgitate.

      “There is no care about Black lives or any other lives for this current president except for those who he feels will re-elect him.”

      Again, give specific examples. What has President Trump done that displays lack of care about the lives of black people or any other people? (And you seem to be ignoring the 250,000+ black babies who are aborted each year. If the President succeeds in limiting abortion, their lives would be saved).

      “You also say we all believe that Black Lives Matter. Really? Ask the white supremacists who support Trump if they feel that way.”

      I don’t know any. Do you?

      “Simply because he talks about ending abortion (which should end) you run out and vote for him.”

      Not simply because of that, but it is certainly an important factor in the decision.

      “Are you blind to the ways he sticks up for those who promote white power “Stand down and stand by?””

      Well, if he told them to stand down, he told them not to do anything. As far as their being white supremacists, there appears to be considerable dispute about that.

      “He invites and encourages violence from his supporters.”

      Provide examples, please, and I’m sure I can provide a huge number of counter-examples of his opponents. It’s not Trump supporters who are out rioting, burning, looting, and beating up people who aren’t doing anything to them.

      “So he says he wants to end abortion –did you ever stop to think that he says that simply because he knows there is a large group of people who support him who will vote for him base on that.”

      And did you ever stop to notice that he is following through on his promises to do what he can to end abortion?

      “ALWAYS REMEMBER: GOD GIVES US WHAT WE NEED; THE DEVIL GIVES US WHAT WE WANT. DON’T BE FOOLED.”

      You appear to be the one who is being fooled. If you are supporting the Democrats you are supporting a group whose official position is to support abortion as some sort of intrinsic right, and who do nothing to contradict the Democrats who state that infanticide of born-alive infants is just fine; who do their best to force Catholics to support and pay for contraception and abortion through insurance mandates; who are quite content to have people rioting and destroying statues of saints, among other things. And you sit in judgment on President Trump? Is your middle name Hypocrite, by any chance?

      • Are you not aware that Trump has disavowed supporting white supremacists over 20 times? Just echoing Democrat talking points doesn’t make it true. It is Biden who has had relationships with white supremacists like Robert Byrd. It is Biden who has made many documented racial slurs. You sound as if you watch CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, all Trump haters who never have a good thing to say about him regardless of his multitude of accomplishments, many for Blacks and other minorities. They, along with print media such as the New York Times and Washington Post lied about him colluding with Russia for 3 years. Why would you believe any media that we now know consistently lies? Trump Derangement Syndrome is a truly pathological thing.

        • Senator Byrd did not die a white supremacist. He changed and repented for what he believed in his younger days and did his best to serve his state of West Virginia.
          As Christians we believe in forgiveness and redemption.

    • Black lives matter is a Marxist group which no one should support if they care about freedom and equality.

      So what if white supremacists vote for Trump? That doesn’t automatically make anyone else who votes for him one, nor does it make Trump one.

      As a Catholic, we need to vote for the pro-life candidate first and foremost, because ALL social justice issues stem from this one issue. A nation that kills it’s unborn is selfish, pure and simple, and God will not continue to bestow His blessings on this nation if we don’t act to end this. It starts in voting booth. Trump 2020!

    • Its a shame that church bishops and/or priests have waited until so late in the game this election to open their mouths about moral issues.In fact it may be too late as I have heard little about the abortion factor in this election until the last 4 months or so. I am in my 60’s. It has to be 40 years or more since I have heard ANY moral teachings from the pulpit. Young people routinely life together without marriage now. I cant recall the last time I heard the topic addressed in church. It is the next slippery slope to an abortion.I think the church gave this sort of preaching up in fear of losing their tax exempt status some time back when I seem to recall threats of that. They decided to toe the govt line rather than stand firm in their personal teaching on abortion and advice on voting. Father Altman and such are a breath of fresh air. Even if you dont agree with what they say, at least they make the boundaries clear. That is badly needed in these days where it seems ” anything goes.”

    • “…someone who stands with white supremacists and locks children in cages.”

      Mr. Marcus — both those claims have been proven, over and over, to not be true. It doesn’t require a great deal of effort to learn the truth, only that you turn off CNN or MSNBC and look at other easily accessible sources. President Trump has denied — repeatedly denied — standing with or seeking support from any white supremicists, and the cages you refer to originated under the Obama administration.

  10. “Dan will stay in the democratic party and work to reform it from within.” How has that worked out for him the last 16 years? The democrat party has become more pro-death over that time. Would someone join the Klan thinking to reform it from within? His very membership in the democrat party as a representative helps to keep the democrats in power in the House, with the results we have seen the last two years. I think Father Altman’s statement is true – “You can’t be a Catholic and a democrat. Period.” They are the party of death.

  11. This is an excellent article. However the author buys into a flawed premise that is repeated by everyone from the bishops on down—- namely that we are faced with a weighty choice between voting ‘pro life’ (i.e. against abortion) and voting for fairness in issues of race and immigration.
    That is simply not true. No one has explained to me how the Democratic platform is somehow more in line with Church teaching on these issues. Because it’s not. Open borders and handouts are not in line with real Church teaching. In fact, the church decries socialism and what it stands for. This premise is a tired bit of rhetoric.

  12. But I’m not God. I do know that good people like Dan Lipinski will nonetheless vote quite differently, and they’ll do it with a clean heart (Francis Maier). Francis if you’re not God, how do you conceive yourself as God capable of favorably judging Dan Lipinski and others who are voting for a candidate and platform that favors abortion with no limitation, homosexuality and its promotion within society including schools as the justice rights issue of our time, who vows to remove the religious liberty protections recently provided the Little Sisters of the Poor. You of course are not God, and your argument despite your disapproval of Lipinski’s vote favorably sanctions and in fact encourages those who will support a program of religious repression and dehumanization of our Nation. And seriously offend Our Lord. Conscience is not at all the arbiter of truth or right and wrong as you convey. A good man isn’t a nice mannered guy. A good man opposes evil doesn’t promote it. Conscience must be formed within the Magisterial teachings of the Church. Conscience also, to guide it to the truth, conscience meaning to act with knowledge possesses inherent knowledge of right and wrong in the Natural Law Within written upon the heart of Man by God. No one can in good conscience vote for Lipinski’s candidate and neither do you have the slightest capacity to absolve those who fall into serious sin by doing so. Truth in respect to the precious value of human life in the womb is absolutely inviolable, as is sexual immorality and its egregious perversion absolutely reprehensible.

  13. I agree wholeheartedly with Fr. James Altman, who I just enjoyed listening to on the Eric Mataxas radio show. How uplifting to know there are brave shepherds who are not afraid to stand up for the true Catholic Church. Cancel culture and bullying doesn’t faze Father Altman.

  14. I fail to see where President Trump promotes “White Supremacy.”
    His policies have placed the unemployment rate for Blacks and Latinos at the lowest point in recorded American history.
    Certainly lower,and more compassionate than the same figures under Obama.
    What nonsense to call him a “White Supremacists.” That nonsense is exponentially multiplied when one sees the revolting support for the rioters who are murdering our grossly underpaid police officers by wicked people in the Democratic Party.

  15. As a Catholic I believe in Progress, also. That is why God gave us Life, Liberty (free will) and an Intellect. The problem with so called Progressives is that then are really Regressive, only interested in exercising raw power. They believe there are no absolutes. That all values are relative to be made up of those who hold power. it is why they abhor Our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

      • If you’re having conniptions because your comment is awaiting moderation – *all* the comments on here are moderated.

        In any event, Catholic World Report is perfectly free to refuse to publish any comments. The website belongs to CWR.

        And, just out of curiosity – what’s with all the weirdly capitalized letters?

    • Read the whole article. Those statements were not opinions of his, he was trying to make the point that we all believe in something, even if that belief is a non-belief.

  16. The writer wrote: “I don’t understand how Dan Lipinski can reason his way to that decision this November with the issues that we face. I think he’s wrong. But I’m not God. I do know that he’s a man of integrity, that he paid a serious price for that integrity, and that good people like him will nonetheless vote quite differently from my family and me this year, and they’ll do it with a clean heart.”

    I think he had done better had he simply left it at “I think he’s wrong. But I’m not God.” The rest is dubious and undermines the points of his article.

  17. If you only would educate yourself; just a little bit. Then you would know that it was the Obama/Biden administration who built the cages.

  18. If Dan Lipinski continues to support the Democrat Party, his pro-life convictions don’t mean very much. Years ago, the writer Bill Kauffman penned a piece on the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, on whose staff he had served. He recounted how, late in his career and life, Moynihan, who often knew better than he voted, had decided to repudiate his prior support for abortion and the portion of the Democrat platform dealing with the issue. In the 90’s, he actually voted for the ban on partial birth abortions. A party big shot, whom Kauffman inexcusably declined to name, got wind of what was going to be a major public statement and prevailed upon Moynihan not to do it because of the damage it would have inflicted on the Party at a supposedly critical time. It could have been an act that would have saved his soul, but for the good of the Party he kept silent. Dan Lipinski should ponder how his political choices now will help determine his fate on Judgement Day.

  19. The intentional killing of an innocent human(s) being can never be excused.

    The current US Genocide of Yemen, more murderous than Hitler, incited by past President Obama, extended as the most evil crime against humanity in all of World History, by current President Trump.
    Denial of this single issue, by “assumed” Catholic leaders with this pending election, recognizes looking to Catholic news or Catholic/Christians for guidance is a farce. Acceptance to Trump continuing this path of murder, for The intentional killing of an innocent human(s) being can never be excused, is highly questionable.
    The forever unjust wars on Iraq, Iran, and Yemen, defies the Catholic faith, at every avenue. Proves past Kennedy was martyred for his stand against, war, murder of innocents..
    As the Wise Man said, War is Murder, bigotry is a disease. A disease of the USA.
    What do we leave our children in the USA, should be the central Question of this election? A nation facing the Wrath of God, in our evil we inflict on the poor of the World?

    • You’re very big on shrieking accusations, but very bad at making any reasoned point. Quite simply, I don’t believe you. If you had an actual argument, you’d make it.

    • lyle:

      As if Biden and the (D)s aren’t beholden to the neocons and others who are pulling the strings on American foreign policy.

      If you recognize that you have no say over American foreign policy, you can choose to not participate in a rigged system and not vote at the federal level (and other levels, too, possibly), and you can do other things as well. Doesn’t mean that other people’s reasoning as to whether they will vote and for whom they will vote isn’t legitimate as well. One of the main points of the whole article was about conscience and how reasoning with conscience may actually differ for people.

    • You are clearly a disturbed individual, and your thinking is deeply disconnected from facts and reality. I’m not sure why you are posting these screeds on this site, but please stop. Your comments are disrespectful, false, and inappropriate for the content of this site.

  20. Every one’s conscience should tell one to do what is right and what is wrong. No one has the right to decide what is right or wrong. Who then decides what is right and wrong. Who has the infallible power to say what is right or wrong? God! Only God decides what is right or wrong? Therefore all christians must align their consciences in accord to what God says what it right and what is wrong. God commands all murder is wrong. Abortion is the murder of innocent life in its very moment of conception. Yes, one is still free to choose contrary, but one also will suffer the consequences.

  21. We should all be guided by the 10 Commandments, as Catholics and Christians. Nowhere in the Scriptures does it say one sin is more punishable than the other. In Sarachi we read: “Do not commit a sin twice, not even for one will you go unpunished.”
    We should live our lives according to Christ and not Trump or Biden. We should not be misled by politics and empty deceit of human beings who justify adultery, lies and murder to strengthen their political power.
    The consequences of getting involved in politics is that you start breaking the First Commandment, idolatry by putting importance to a mere human being. You start to worship a man who does not even know you exist, at the expense of your soul. Just look at how Catholics have become so divided in this presidential election. Families have been torn apart and neighbours have become enemies. The serpent that deceived Eve and Adam is tearing apart God’s children who have lost a sincere devotion to Christ in glorifying a mere man.

    “And no wonder! Even satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”
    (2 Corinthians 11:14).

    • “Nowhere in the Scriptures does it say one sin is more punishable than the other.”

      Yes, it does. For one example: 1 John 5:16-17 “I John 5:16-18:

      If anyone sees his brother committing a sin that is not a deadly sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not deadly. There is sin which is deadly; I do not say one is to pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not deadly.” You can read a whole article about mortal and venial sin here: https://www.catholic.com/magazine/online-edition/mortal-and-venial-sin

      “The consequences of getting involved in politics is that you start breaking the First Commandment, idolatry by putting importance to a mere human being.”

      It is not idolatry to think that some “mere human beings” have political importance. And what an utterly weird way to phrase things – as if no “mere human being” has any importance. Your family must just love being told that, as mere huans, they have no importance.

      “You start to worship a man who does not even know you exist, at the expense of your soul.”

      Don’t be absurd. Supporting someone politically is not worship.

      “Just look at how Catholics have become so divided in this presidential election. Families have been torn apart and neighbours have become enemies.”

      That has nothing to do with any alleged worship of a politician; it is because of quite legitimate concerns about, for example, the sanctity of life and the freedom to practice our Faith.

      “The serpent that deceived Eve and Adam is tearing apart God’s children who have lost a sincere devotion to Christ in glorifying a mere man.”

      Voting for someone, and advocating for his candidacy, is not “glorifying.” I know of nobody who is claiming deity, or even sanctity, for either of the two candidates.

  22. Has the site been hacked? The beliefs state
    “I believe there is no God.
    I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
    That makes no sense.

    • It makes sense if you read the article. The author gave a list of statements of what various people believe. Neither the author nor CWR was saying that those were a list of Catholic beliefs.

  23. My goodness lyle take a breath…your faith is in the american government even though you rail against it..I might be wrong but I assume you will vote democrat…I hope I am wrong and you vote non of the above…our hope is in Jesus Christ and his church..we are called to works of charity the greatest being to protect the life of the unborn…did you not read the article..seek the lord’s face in this to clarify where our duties lie

  24. Nov. 5th: Very good and clear article. But I have a question about this: “What the Church expects us to do in this and every election is to follow our consciences—but also to form our consciences intelligently, in accord with Christian truth.” The thing is that not many people are going to read books or pamphlets but they will listen and more easily understand what is spoken from the Pulpit, yet although I attend different Churches for daily and Sunday Mass, I have never heard a Priest speak about the ‘issues’ in this election. Biden and Harris openly stated they would extend the legal right to kill a baby up until a moment before birth – this is not abortion, this is infanticide. And they would mandate that the Little Sisters of the Poor and all Religious communities pay for these killings through their employee health care plans. Yet none of this had ever been spoken about by our Pastors and Priests. This saddens and frightens me more than I can express. There’s a sense that we Catholics stand alone without most of our Shepherds and we are weary and discouraged while trying to hold on to our faith and our belief that God is still in charge and can bring good out of evil. Let us pray for one another and for our Shepherds and our country.

    • One of our deacons gave a wonderful homily about that very subject. He pointed out that the US Bishops had stated that abortion was the “preeminent priority” (more important than social justice or anything else). I wish that more parishes had heard the same sort of sermon.

      Meanwhile I have conversing on another site with a man who claims to be Catholic but refuses to recognize that abortion is wrong. God help us all.

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