Some things that are always morally
wrong, and must not be allowed or promoted by a government. Catholic
Answers made a list of five issues that don't mix with Catholic belief.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the
Faith in Rome, under Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), released a statement called "On
Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion." This document mostly talks about
how bishops should deny communion to Catholic politicians in certain
cases. Near the end, it also has a few words about whether Catholics
can, in good conscience, vote for candidates who support killing people
who haven't been born yet.
Cardinal Ratzinger said that a "Catholic
would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to
present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for
a candidate precisely because of a candidate's permissive stand on
That's pretty clear. A Catholic can't,
in good conscience, vote for someone because that person is an abortion
But, what if there are other reasons for
voting for what is politely called a "pro-choice" candidate?
The cardinal's statement covers that,
too. A Catholic may vote for a pro-abortion/pro-choice candidate only
"in the presence of proportionate reasons."
In other words, a Catholic could vote
for a "pro-choice" candidate only if the other candidate supported a
policy which is worse than allowing more than a million babies to be
killed each year.
The Church teaches that "the fifth
commandment [you shall not kill] forbids direct and intentional
killing as gravely sinful," and "doing anything with the intention of
indirectly bringing about a person's death. The moral law prohibits
exposing someone to mortal danger without grave reason, as well as
refusing assistance to a person in danger." (Catechism, 2268,
The Catechism makes sure that we
understand that the unborn are including in this ban on killing. "Human
life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of
conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must
be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the
inviolable right of every innocent being to life." (Catechism
Each embryo "must be treated from
conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity,
cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being."
Prenatal diagnosis is okay, if it is done for the safety or health of
the unborn baby, but not if it is done to help decide whether kill the
baby. (Catechism, 2274)
In other words, an embryo is a person.
Like other people, embryos shouldn't be killed for convenience, or
because they don't live up to someone's standards. They have the same
right to life that any other innocent person has.
A Catholic can't support legalized
abortion or stem cell research that involves killing embryos (or
"fertilized female eggs" as one reporter put it) to get
And, a Catholic can't vote for someone
who supports something that the Church forbids, unless not voting for
that person would result in something worse than over a million murders
The Church leaves Catholics a great deal
of freedom to chose positions on the issues we face. Pope John Paul II
pleaded for a non-military solution to the Saddam Hussein's threats. But
he did not bind the conscience of Catholics to agree with his judgment
about this matter. The pope did not say that it is morally wrong for
Catholic soldiers to be involved in the war in Iraq. This agrees with
what we read in the Catechism about "just war." Statesmen make a final
judgment about whether military force is necessary, not church leaders.
"Mercy killing" is a nicer way to
describe this. The Catechism is clear on this point, too. "Those whose
lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or
handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as
possible. Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in
putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It
is morally unacceptable." (Catechism, 2276, 2277)
In other words, it is wrong to kill
people because they're sick, old, or inconvenient.
And, it is wrong to vote for someone who
wants to legalize "mercy killing."
Fetal Stem Cell Research
It is "immoral to produce human embryos
intended for exploitation as disposable biological material." (Catechism, 2274, 2275, and Donum
Vitae I, 5)
Again, each embryo "must be treated from
conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, …
like any other human being." (Catechism, 2274) It is not okay to experiment on embryos,
even if they were conceived in a laboratory. It is not okay to cut these
little people up and use their parts.
The use of fetal stem cells is
particularly disgusting, because legitimate research has shown that
adult stem cells, which can be collected without hurting the people who
provide them, are just as useful as those from butchered fetuses.
This is wrong, too.
Producing "a human being without any
connection with sexuality through ‘twin fission,. cloning, or
parthenogenesis are to be considered contrary to the moral law, since
they are in opposition to the dignity both of human procreation and of
the conjugal union." (Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its
Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation, Congregation for the Doctrine
of Faith I:6)
Another reason why human cloning is
wrong is that clones who are rejected or unsuccessful are killed, even
though they are innocent human beings.
As far as the Church is concerned,
marriage is a lifelong bond between a man and a woman.
"Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal
love of man and woman. In marriage the physical intimacy of the spouses
becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion. Marriage bonds between
baptized persons are sanctified by the sacrament.
"Sexuality, by means of which man and
woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper
and exclusive to spouses, is not something simply biological, but
concerns the innermost being of the human person as such. It is realized
in a truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which
a man and woman commit themselves totally to one another until death." (Catechism,
"When legislation in favor of the
recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a
legislative assembly, the Catholic lawmaker has a moral duty to express
his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in
favor of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral." (Considerations
regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between
Homosexual Persons 10, Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith)