LifeSite News, the allegedly Catholic pro-life webpage, wants you to vote Republican this fall; to re-elect President Trump. To that end, it published an article in late July asserting, “No Catholic can vote for Joe Biden.”
Mr. Biden is two things: Catholic and pro-choice. So, the Catholic Right will be working doubly hard this year to make sure Catholics do the right thing (in the Catholic Right’s estimation) and vote for Mr. Trump.
LifeSite is leading the charge. Mr. Biden’s faith, LifeSite says, “is completely foreign to vast swaths of Catholics.” While Mr. Biden veers further and further Left, he creates an “evermore distinct contrast with President Trump’s strong pro-life, pro-family record.”
Maybe LifeSite thinks Mr. Trump bedding a porn star just after his third wife gave birth to his fifth child, and then paying hush money to the porn star, constitutes a “strong pro-life, pro-family record.” I do not, but then what do I know?
The case against Joe Biden
LifeSite enlists the aid of three priests, Fr. Frank Pavone, Fr. Michael Orsi, and Fr. Stephen Imbarrato, all of whom repeat the usual canards about pro-choice Catholic politicians. Fr. Pavone would have us believe he can see into Mr. Biden’s soul:
“This leads to the conclusion that a person like this should not even try to receive Communion,” Fr. Pavone told LifeSiteNews. “In fact, he doesn’t want to, because to exclude the unborn is to exclude Christ; so you may want ‘Communion,’ but you don’t want actual union with Jesus.”
Fr. Imbarrato goes so far as to call Mr. Biden an anti-Catholic:
“He is a walking and talking scandal to his Catholic faith and has rightly been refused the Eucharist because he persists in ongoing mortal sin thus separating himself from communion with the Church. He scandalizes the Catholic faith in so many ways that objectively he actually seems “anti-Catholic” in his beliefs.”
And Fr. Orsi of course blames the bishops for their “scandalous failure to sanction Biden.” Fr. Orsi references a 2004 memo from then Cardinal Ratzinger to then-Cardinal McCarrick, Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles:
“Accordingly, a 2004 Memorandum from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, signed by Cardinal Ratzinger, states, ‘a politician consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion laws’ the politician’s pastor is to inform him that he should not receive Communion,’” noted Fr. Orsi.
LifeSite then brings in all three priests for a resounding chorus:
“As for voting, not only can Catholics not vote for Biden in good conscience, but they can’t vote for Democrats, period. And neither can anyone else,” Fr. Pavone told LifeSiteNews.
“The devil has made his home among the leadership of the Democratic Party for some time now, and found it a most hospitable environment,” Fr. Orsi wrote in a widely read analysis earlier this year.
“It’s time to stop pretending we can be neutral. The Democrat Party has set itself up against the Church, against the unborn, and against America,” said Pavone. “They do not deserve one ounce of power in this country, and anyone who gives it to them shares the guilt of all the evil they do. And that starts with our religious leaders.”
Fr. Imbarrato declared simply, unequivocally, “No Catholic can vote for Joe Biden.”
Enlisting one more crackpot
Just in case LifeSite’s Catholic crackpots don’t get the point cross, LifeSite then quotes a Protestant crackpot, Mr. Trump’s spiritual advisor, televangelist Paula White:
“President Trump has been a staunch defender of people of faith, and the Evangelical community is fired up and ready to rally behind him in November,” said Pastor Paula White, spiritual adviser to President Trump. “While Joe Biden radically shifts further away from the American values that Christians hold dear, President Trump continues to fight for our religious freedoms and the principles of faith that make our country great.”
If putting children in cages, coddling white supremacists, trampling the Constitution, and presiding over one of the biggest public health disasters in U.S. history are what constitute “the American values that Christians hold dear,” then I certainly hope Mr. Biden radically shifts us further way.
A radical suggestion
But never mind that. I have a radical suggestion of my own: how about we, as Catholics, ignore both Protestant and Catholic crackpots, and instead listen to the Catholic Church? For starters, it is interesting that Fr. Orsi quotes from Cardinal Ratzinger’s 2004 memorandum. Fr. Orsi is correct in his reference to the 2004 memorandum. But as Fr. Orsi himself says, the issue is between Mr. Biden and his pastor. Neither Fr. Orsi nor anyone else has any say in the matter.
As for whether a Catholic may vote for Mr. Biden, did Fr. Orsi read the footnote at the end of the memorandum?
N.B. 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 the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.
A Catholic may in good conscience vote for Mr. Biden “for other reasons” besides Mr. Biden’s pro-choice beliefs, and “in the presence of proportionate reasons.” Indeed, a Catholic may in good conscience vote for any pro-choice Democrat.
What Vatican II says
I also would direct LifeSite and its three priests to the Vatican II document, Gaudium et Spes, specifically, to point no. 27, which, in part, reads:
Furthermore, whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia or wilful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where men are treated as mere tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are supreme dishonor to the Creator. (emphasis added)
Let me emphasize: any attempt to coerce the will, which is what LifeSite and its three priests are up to, “violates the integrity of the human person” and constitutes a “supreme dishonor to the Creator.”
Vote your conscience
No Catholic is bound to listen to any priest (or deacon) who lies and who commits emotional blackmail such as this, especially as one of the three priests in this article, Fr. Pavone, likely isn’t even a priest in good standing.
My brother and sister Catholics: listen to the Church, not these people. Vote your conscience. If your conscience tells you to vote for Mr. Trump, well, ok, though I’d suggest you review the Gospels, particularly Matthew 5-7 and Matthew 25:31-46. And maybe Matthew 22:39 and John 13:34-35 for good measure.
But if your conscience calls you to vote for Mr. Biden, then do so (as I will) with a clear conscience. And do not let anyone, priest or layperson, bully you into violating your conscience. Those who do that are the ones who flout Church teaching, not you.