10 Years of Conversation in Four Paragraphs

I guess I’m wondering if I abide by the magisterium then what political party in your opinion would I be aligned with?

If you abide by the Magisterium, you should not align with a party but with the Church. Then you should cannibalize whatever works and is not immoral from any political school you encounter and drop them like hot rocks the moment they contradict the faith. The current practice in America is typically to cannibalize the Church and stick with the party.

Mark well said yes, but sometimes you have to pick the lesser of two evils right (nothing to do with this libertarian).

No. You don’t. You never have to choose evil. The myth that we do is no small part of the reason our civilization is in a jam. It keeps choosing evil.

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  • orual’s kindred

    but sometimes you have to pick the lesser of two evils right

    I’m probably misunderstanding this (I kind of hope I am). However, given the preceeding question, the above comment seems to frame the choices as following Church teaching vs. belonging to a political party. And not only does the implication appear to be that choosing to follow Church teaching is an evil, but that sticking with political parties (instead of Church teaching) can be regarded as choosing the lesser evil.

    If this indeed is how the comment was meant, then I don’t think it’s any wonder why so many current debates are so toxic.

    • capaxdei

      No, the “two evils” in this long-running discussion have always been two political platforms.

      • orual’s kindred

        In the general discussion, yes. I’m not so sure, though, about the above question that the reader sent.

        However, even in the wider debates, Church teaching is so often regarded as an afterthought, as a secondary aspect of living, or actual baggage. As Mark Shea has said, picking through Church teaching is not only practiced, but regarded as the grown-up thing to do. Choosing only what’s good in temporary trends and ideologies, however, is considered inconsistent as best–if such a course of action is considered at all. For many, it’s apparently unthinkable.

  • Dave G.

    We are never obliged to choose the lesser of the two evils. However according to the guidance of the Bishops:

    “When all candidates hold a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, the conscientious voter faces a dilemma. The voter may decide to take the extraordinary step of not voting for any candidate or, after careful deliberation, may decide to vote for the candidate deemed less likely to advance such a morally flawed position and more likely to pursue other authentic human goods.”

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    Well said, Mr. Shea.
    As a Catholic, I tend to baffle both my conservative and liberal friends. My liberal friends think I’m a right wing wacko and my conservative friends think I’m a well-meaning commie.
    I affirm the fact than an unborn child is a person and worthy of the full protection of the law, so the Democrats won’t have me. But I don’t believe that corporations are persons and worthy of the full protection of the law, so the Republicans won’t have me. And I don’t believe that I am the center of the universe and all of creation only exists to serve my own selfish desires, so the Libertarians won’t have me either. And I’m too well groomed to be a socialist.
    And no, you don’t have to choose the lesser of two evils. Fighting Sauron does not justify joining Saruman. Better to die trying to get that Ring into the fire.

    • KM

      Well said!

    • Cas

      “Fighting Sauron does not justify joining Saruman. Better to die trying to get that Ring into the fire.”

      Very well-put.

    • The state is not the salvation of the world, and neither is business. The state is not the source of all evil, and neither is business. Both exist to serve (in different and specific ways) the common good of the whole society, including every person in it, without exception. So does every other human institution.

      But this is incomprehensible to the current left-right axis of political/economic thought.

  • capaxdei

    The expression “choose the lesser of two evils” originated in the context of the question, “Is it allowed to counsel someone who is morally certain to choose between two evils to choose the lesser evil?” The person being counseled ought, of course, to choose neither evil.

    As the expression is used in these political discussions, there’s usually equivocation on both “choose” and “evils.” So we get derailed by telling each other not to choose evil, when the real question is, “Under what circumstances is remote material cooperation with evil morally licit, given our duty as citizens to contribute to the good of society?”

  • Willard

    I’m glad Mark is saying it but how many “pro-life” Catholics know that Pope Saint John Paul II declared deportation to be an intrinsic evil?

    • chezami

      Having in view, of course, the mass deportations of the great totalitiarian regimes of the 20th century, not extraditions of criminals, etc. But yes, this is a favorite diversionary tactic of the torture zealots.

  • Stasa

    If I’m presented with two candidates for whatever…..one of them is pro abortion at any stage under any circumstance while the other is pro abortion only in cases of rape. I know that one of them will win no matter what, and I’m against abortion under any circumstances would it be wrong to vote for the second candidate since that will at least save some babies?

    • sez

      I’ve yet to see a ballot with only two names on it. And isn’t there space to write in the name of a good person?
      Voting 3rd party this year helps make that 3rd party more viable next time around. If we only choose between the R and the D, then we’ll only ever get to choose between the R and the D.

      • Stasa

        The reason I used this example is because Catholic teaching is not for USA only. Different countries have different voting system and issues. I never had a reason to choose lesser evil but I would like to know would I or anybody else choose lesser evil in the example I gave. Now, we can just go in a circle and discuss would any of us be faced with a choice like that but my point was…is it really never ok to choose lesser evil. Great number of people are faced with fewer than two choices.

        • Dave G.

          The best answer I heard was that the Bishop’s teaching (at least here in the US), was focused on getting us to ask why we are really voting the way we are voting, and then line it up against, and become informed by, what the Church teaches. At that point, there is no automatic ‘best way’. The way is that you are allowing the Church’s teaching to inform your decision. How that ends up looking in the voting booth will vary. Some will choose this candidate, others that candidate, some will pick anyone else no matter what the chances, and some just won’t vote. All acceptable as long as they are being informed by Church teaching. And likewise, all can be unacceptable if some other motivation or agenda or loyalty is trumping the Church’s teachings or the common good.

    • capaxdei

      No, it would not be wrong to vote for the second candidate in order to at least save some babies.

      If you have the time to ask these sorts of questions before an election, though, you should probably also ask whether voting for the second candidate will in fact save babies — i.e., if the election of that candidate will contribute to fewer abortions or at least better laws. If it won’t, then you need a different reason to choose how to vote, because it is wrong to choose means that cannot achieve the end for which you’re choosing means.