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Catholics and Political Parties

Tim Staples

Responding to a caller who struggles picking one political party over another, Tim Staples explains that the Church is not definitively for or against any political party, but that voting Catholics should keep in mind non-negotiable issues like abortion, euthanasia, and same-sex “marriage” when deciding who to vote for.


Host: Patrick in Temecula, California, listening on 1000 AM. Patrick, you’re on with Tim Staples. What’s your question, Patrick?

Caller: Well, it seems to me that most people–most Catholics identify with the Republican party. The quandary that I have is, I see “Thou shalt not kill” as…I’m having a hard time articulating this, but I can see how people would identify the Democratic party with abortion, and the Republican party with repealing it. I see the Republican party as dragging us into war, and I’m having a hard time picking a side.

Tim: Right. That’s a great point, Patrick. First of all, you know, we have what we call at Catholic Answers the Voter’s Guide For Serious Catholics, you might want to check that out. We put it out in 2004, and has, oh my goodness, it’s sold millions of copies. Which is, that’s quite a feat in Catholic circles. You know, in the world, ehhh, big deal, but Catholic circles, when you sell millions of anything, that’s amazing. But in our Voter’s Guide For Serious Catholics, one of the points that we make there is, really, the Catholic Church is not Republican or Democrat. In fact, we call both Democrats and Republicans to repent.

And we challenge our people in our Voters Guide to vote in accordance with the issues, ’cause imagine, Patrick, imagine if you have–if you have folks who are saying, “Okay, I’m gonna vote Republican because I’m Catholic,” well, what happens if you have a Republican candidate who is pro-abortion, pro-homosexual marriage, running against a Democrat who is pro-life and for traditional marriage? I mean, are you gonna vote Republican? Of course not. So that’s point number one.

But point number two: you make a very important point here. You know, what about war and such? Now, we could debate, you know, who has led us into more wars, you know, in fact I argued in this last election that we had a Democratic candidate who never saw a war she didn’t like. And we had quite a few Republican candidates as well who never saw a war they didn’t like. I find it somewhat refreshing that President Donald Trump has at least said, “Let’s not do this nation-building and, you know, going to war with everybody,” I mean, my goodness, we’ve got guys like John McCain who, I think if he had his way, we’d be fighting wars all over the place.

So, but, you know, we can debate those issues, right, who is really more the warmonger? But I think the most important thing, Patrick, to consider, is that there is an essential difference between war and abortion, in this sense. Now if we’re talking about an unjust war, alright, that’s…that’s a different animal. But war per se, wars can either be just or unjust. And we can debate as Catholics–let’s take the Iraq war, for example. There were Catholics in good standing that were on both sides of the issue there; many who said, “That’s an unjust war,” and some who said, “It’s a just war.” You are not barred from Communion for holding either position. Catholics can legitimately disagree when it comes to that.

However, when it comes to abortion, my friend, we’re talking about something that is objectively, intrinsically immoral; there are no exceptions whatsoever. We’ve slaughtered, as I mentioned before, well over 50 million innocent babies. So I don’t believe you can put these two–these two are not on the same level. Abortion is the most grave evil of our time, and we need to consider it as such.

And this is why, Patrick, by the way, in our Voter’s Guide For Serious Catholics, we talk about abortion, euthanasia–which has spread all over this country in just the last 12 years. The amount of euthanasia in our country has been–it’s gone through the roof. Astonishing. And the line of demarcation, I believe, was the Terri Schiavo case, where we had, basically, this poor woman was euthanized basically on television. They took the cameras out for the last couple of weeks, because of course they don’t want to show the grim end to this woman’s life, but the bottom line is…whereas, 20, 30, let’s say 30 years ago, we were called extremists if we said, “Hey, abortion’s gonna lead to euthanasia.” My friends, it has, and now we have physician-assisted suicide, and we go down the list there in our Voter’s Guide, we talk about embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, which is now being experimented on all over–government doesn’t pay for it but it’s fully legal, it’s being experimented with all across the United States, and a lot of folks don’t even realize it.

And now, homosexual so-called “marriage.” We have these matters that are intrinsically evil that we as Catholics have a duty–in fact, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, I’m trying to remember the year, it put out a document on certain proposals to legalize same-sex unions. And notice, it didn’t use the word “marriage,” it said “union.” I believe that’s 2004, as I recall. And it said that we, as Catholics, have a duty to oppose the legalization of homosexual unions of any sort mimicking marriage. It doesn’t have to be marriage, but any sort mimicking. These are deal-breakers for Catholics, whereas when it comes to war, we can have a real debate as to what is just and what is unjust.

So we’re not trying to be overly simplistic in our Voter’s Guide, we recognize you can have particular situations, let’s say if you’re living in Nazi Germany and you’re living under a government that you know is slaughtering Jews, is starting unjust wars all across the country, where you have a situation where that is more grave than the abortions going on. Of course that’s a possibility. But we’re laying out objective truths here, Patrick. We have to look at our situation, look at the objective truth, and then we can apply the subjective situation.

But if we don’t understand that there’s a difference between, you know, killing an innocent human being and killing someone who unjustly is attacking our nation or–look, I’m a father of seven children. Somebody comes into my house and wants to kill my wife and children, guess what? They’re gonna have to come through me. And I’m packin’, my friends, just so you know. If you come in my house–in fact, I sleep with my 9mm right under my pillow every night. Normally I have my hand on it, so don’t come in my house. I’m gonna defend my family, even up to and including, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, delivering the lethal blow, if it is necessary.

But you can never, in any circumstance, slaughter innocent human beings. So Patrick, you can see why Catholics are so up in arms over abortion, whereas when it comes to something like the Iraq war, I know lots of Catholic friends who are strongly opposed to the Iraq war. Bishops, priests, and so forth. But there is not the same level there as there is when it comes to abortion, because we’re talking about something like abortion. I mean–just–Cy, I think sometimes, and Patrick, we miss this. We’re talking about over 50 million babies that have been slaughtered, and now we’re right at almost a million a year that continue to be killed.

And then we’re talking about the wars total in Iraq and Afghanistan for all the years we’ve been there, what, 12 years or whatever it is now…we’ve lost something like 2500, I believe, men and women who have fallen. I mean, that’s a huge number, but to put things in perspective: you know, we’re talking about fighting–these are combatants that are fighting, and so forth, and we’re talking 2500; we lost almost 500,000 in four years in World War II. We lost right about 50,000 in ten years in Vietnam. And here, in Iraq and Afghanistan–now, we’re talking about losses on our side, of course there are losses on the other side, but we have to put these things in perspective.

I think at times, as the great Bishop of Rockford, Illinois said years ago, Bishop Doran, I remember he said, “Anyone who can vote for a pro-abortion candidate when you have a viable pro-life candidate has lost a sense of what we’re talking about when we’re talking about abortion.” And now we can add the other non-negotiables, like homosexual “marriage” as well.

Forgive me for ranting a bit there, Patrick, but I think that you’ve asked a really, really important question, and I hope I’ve helped some.

Host: Thank you, Patrick.

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