November 02, 2012

On Voting for Lesser of Two Evils

"Concerning democratic voting, the Jesuit moralist Father Henry Davis wrote in the 1930s, "It is sinful to vote for the enemies of religion or liberty, except to exclude a worse candidate, or unless compelled by fear of great personal harm, relatively greater than the public harm at stake."

...It is therefore quite clear from the moral theology tradition and specific magisterial teaching that a Catholic may vote for a candidate who does not wholly embrace Catholic teaching on the non-negotiable issues.

This can be done:

in order to limit the evil that would result if a worse candidate on these issues were elected;

provided that this is predominately the intention of voting (other good but lesser motives may also be present); and

that the other candidate is indeed worse, and any scandal caused by the appearance of voting for evil is corrected, such as by explaining Catholic teaching and one’s full adherence to it."

--Colin Donovan, STL, is vice president for theology at EWTN.
Read more: here

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