Suppose there is a national election and two candidates are running in your district, candidate A and candidate B. The issues they are discussing include national security, health care, immigration, education and the environment.
Candidate A advocates surgical bombing strikes on Iran’s nuclear sites, a larger role for private health care, the return of all illegal immigrants to their own countries and aspirational targets to control gas emissions.
Candidate B advocates the return of all troops from Iraq,, hard targets on gas emissions, a way for illegal immigrants to gain their citizenship and universal health care.
The two candidates also differ on the difficult subject of abortion. Candidate A is pro-life, believes every abortion is murder and would only support anti-abortion nominees for the bench.
Candidate B does not personally believe in abortion. He would support every social measure such as raising the minimum wage and low cost housing to reduce abortions, he never speaks of abortion unless asked but in the last analysis, he supports a woman’s right to choose.
What should a Catholic do who disagrees with candidate A on every major issue and agrees with candidate B on most issues? Where does a Catholic obtain guidance in this dilemma?
I would suggest a conscientious Catholic should read a document put out by the American Catholic bishops at their meeting this month in Baltimore. The document is meant as a guide for American Catholics in the up-coming presidential elections. But it is equally helpful for Canadian Catholics. In the section on abortion there is the following sentence:
“In some cases, if a Catholic who fully accepts fundamental principles such as the right to life were to vote for a candidate despite the candidate’s opposing position but because of other proportionate reasons, their vote would be considered ‘remote material cooperation’ and can be permitted only if there are indeed proportionate reasons.”
In the situation I outlined above, I consider their are indeed proportionate reasons to vote for candidate B.
Therefore I would do so with a clear conscience.