The Vilification of the Dastardly Distorters

I really have no time this week but I can tell when a blog post is just going to write itself, and this one will!

First off, I really thought Fr. James Martin, SJ was doing a stellar job managing his own martyr complex.  I mean, seriously, he really had no need for help on this front.  He’s got that locked up.  Now, maybe Bishop McElroy is sad everyone’s pretty much ignoring him, except those who can’t.  (Sorry, San Diego faithful!)  This was a probably a frantic attention grab.  “Look at me!  I’m over here and I’m a cool Catholic too!”

That said, it’s been a really bad few weeks for Fr. Martin.  Maybe the troops are just trying to re-inflate his ego after Cardinal Sarah, revoked invitations here and here, a smack-down of the “canonical approval” of his book idea– and who could forget his own misstep at Fordham where the entire panel, including him, admitted he wasn’t being candid because being a priest and Jesuit precluded him from being so.  (How stupid I felt after all of these years thinking that’s what a priest/Jesuit was supposed to do!)

Here’s Bishop McElroy’s public shaming of the meanies: 

Father James Martin is a distinguished Jesuit author who has spent his life building bridges within the Catholic Church and between the church and the wider world.

When did “notorious” and “distinguished” become synonymous?  And, wait!  “Building bridges WITHIN the Catholic Church?!?!”  I can only remotely see that being said if “building” includes a complete demolition of the Church first.

He has been particularly effective in bringing the Gospel message to the millennial generation.

Oh, he’s bringing a message to the millennial generation, alright, but it’s not quite from the Gospels unless we’re going with some sort of Gnostic Gospel.

 When we survey the vast gulf that exists between young adults and the church in the United States, it is clear that there could be no more compelling missionary outreach for the future of Catholicism than the terrain that Father Martin has passionately and eloquently pursued over the past two decades. There are few evangelizers who have engaged that terrain with more heart and skill and devotion.

I think I must have missed Fr. James Martin, SJ becoming a millennial rockstar who’s packing the churches full of millennials.  Please.  Can we be just a little honest here?  Fr. Martin, SJ reaches those who believe in an active homosexual lifestyle and those who sympathize with active homosexual lifestyles.  Now, apparently, Bishop McElroy thinks that all or most millennials are concerned with the Catholic Church and her attitude toward homosexuality.  Yeah, not so much.  Most are just worried about their lifestyle choices being accepted by whoever.  To say that millennials at large are screaming like Beatles fans over Fr. Martin, SJ is to be suffering from SJW (social justice warrior, for those not up with the current shorthand) delusions of grandeur. How about you walk up to the nearest millennial and ask them if they even know who Fr. James Martin, SJ is? 

Last year Father Martin undertook a particularly perilous project in this work of evangelization: building bridges between the church and the L.G.B.T. community in the United States. He entered it knowing that the theological issues pertaining to homosexuality constituted perhaps the most volatile element of ecclesial life in U.S. culture.

And here’s where I think Bishop McElroy is totally out of touch.  He actually thinks that this is the be all and end of all of Catholic life.  “If only we could span this active homosexual/Church doctrine divide with a bridge, our churches would be full again!”   Sorry.  You want to see THE “most volatile element of ecclesial life in the U.S. culture?”  Try birth control. Try IVF.  Try cohabitating.  Try sex outside of marriage.   Take your pick.  Bishop McElroy, Fr. Martin, and their little club don’t realize that the rest of the Church is focused on other things.

It was this very volatility that spurred Father Martin to write his new book Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the L.G.B.T. Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion and Sensitivity. Using a methodology that is fully consonant with Catholic teaching, employing Scripture, the rich pastoral heritage of the church and an unadulterated realism that makes clear both the difficulty and the imperative for establishing deeper dialogue, Father Martin opens a door for proclaiming that Jesus Christ and his church seek to embrace fully and immediately men and women in the L.G.B.T. community.

Wow!  I thought that the Church’s teaching was constant with Catholic teaching but, hey, whatever.  Why is it that Fr. Martin, SJ feels the need to open a door for any of us?  Who are all of these people saying anything different than “Jesus Christ and his church seek to embrace fully and immediately men and women in the L.G.B.T. community?”  Please don’t fall for the “If I say it enough it’ll be true!” tactic of Martin, Cupich, McElroy, and club.  They know quite well we’re begging those suffering from SSA to embrace the Church because we love them  In short, while we tell them the Church loves them, we also tell them what the Church teaches and how the Church has helped us to struggle with our own sins.  Fr. Martin and fan club don’t want that to get out, so they’ll try to convince as many others as they can to join in the martyr complex.

Building a Bridge is a serious book, and any such work invites substantive criticism and dialogue.

If I had been drinking, my keyboard would be toast.  How did he type that one with a straight face?  I believe Cardinal Sarah just gave you plenty of substantive criticism and dialogue, along with MANY others.  It apparently fell on rather deaf ears so let me just remind you, Bishop McElroy: http://catholicherald.co.uk/news/2017/09/01/cardinal-sarah-critiques-fr-james-martin-on-homosexuality/

This is particularly true with a complex subject like the relationship of the L.G.B.T. community and the church. Many analyses of Father Martin’s arguments have pointed to important problems that do not have easy answers and to the reality that dialogue must always proceed both in respect and in truth.

Wouldn’t this be quite similar with any group struggling with sin?  Hey, here’s an idea: how about some generic homilies on overcoming temptation and sin?  Oh wait.  I think you’d actually have to use the words temptation, sin, struggle, etc. and those words are so judge-y.  Silly me.

But alongside this legitimate and substantive criticism of Father Martin’s book, there has arisen both in Catholic journals and on social media a campaign to vilify Father Martin, to distort his work, to label him heterodox, to assassinate his personal character and to annihilate both the ideas and the dialogue that he has initiated.

How can you distort something that’s already distorted?  That was on Fr. Martin.  While there are some people out there with evil intent, there are many out there with VERY just anger!  We have friends who suffer.  We have friends whose kids suffer, etc.  We don’t live in the SJW ivory tower.  We live in the real world.  We get to live with the very real effects of a world that gives up its struggle against sin.  So, please, drop the proxy martyr complex.  And, by the way, Fr. Martin assassinated his character a long time ago.

This campaign of distortion must be challenged and exposed for what it is—not primarily for Father Martin’s sake but because this cancer of vilification is seeping into the institutional life of the church. 

I can hear the violins now.  Let’s break out a little honest, shall we?  The cancer in the Church is not those of us angry with sin, it’s those who placate sin.  That kind of means you, Bishop McElroy.  You speak of distortion but you don’t even bother to offer evidence.  So who is really the one distorting what’s going on here?  Is it you or, say, Cardinal Sarah? Let me guess.  Your position as a priest and bishop limits you to ambiguous accusations, right?

Already, several major institutions have canceled Father Martin as a speaker. Faced with intense external pressures, these institutions have bought peace, but in doing so they have acceded to and reinforced a tactic and objectives that are deeply injurious to Catholic culture in the United States and to the church’s pastoral care for members of the L.G.B.T. communities.

Bravo “major institutions!”  Your stance for clear, concise Catholic teaching in the case of Fr. Martin is laudable!  Your aid to those of us who struggle with sin, and in this case particularly those struggling with same-sex attraction, is appreciated.  Go Catholics!

The concerted attack on Father Martin’s work has been driven by three impulses: homophobia, a distortion of fundamental Catholic moral theology and a veiled attack on Pope Francis and his campaign against judgmentalism in the church.

Oh, ho!  Not good enough to be a proxy martyr for Fr. Martin, now it’s Pope Francis?  And judgmentalism?  Uh, hello!  Judge away, as far as sin goes, people!   Here’s a nice little section of the catechism on judgement.  Not shockingly, it’s in the conscience section and, also not shockingly, Bishop McElroy and pals seem to hope to keep you hopelessly in the dark to its existence with their nice little vilification (a word Bishop McElroy is fond of) of judging.

1795 “Conscience is man’s most secret core, and his sanctuary.  There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths” (GS 16).

1796 Conscience is a judgment of reason by which the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act.

1797 For the man who has committed evil, the verdict of his conscience remains a pledge of conversion and of hope.

1798 A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful.  It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator.  Everyone must avail himself of the means to form his conscience.

1799 Faced with a moral choice, conscience can make either a right judgment in accordance with reason and the divine law or, on the contrary, an erroneous judgment that departs from them.

1800 A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience.

1801 Conscience can remain in ignorance or make erroneous judgments.  Such ignorance and errors are not always free of guilt.

1802 The Word of God is a light for our path.  We must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice.  This is how moral conscience is formed.

 

The attacks on Building a Bridge tap into long-standing bigotry within the church and U.S. culture against members of the L.G.B.T. community.

Or it’s a load of hooey.  I vote that.

The persons launching these attacks portray the reconciliation of the church and the L.G.B.T. community not as a worthy goal but as a grave cultural, religious and familial threat. Gay sexual activity is seen not as one sin among others but as uniquely debased to the point that L.G.B.T. persons are to be effectively excluded from the family of the church. Pejorative language and labels are deployed regularly and strategically. The complex issues of sexual orientation and its discernment in the life of the individual are dismissed and ridiculed.

 Prove your case, Bishop McElroy, and stop with all of the ambiguous accusations.  I realize it’s just easier to say “There’s a boogeyman under your bed!” but wouldn’t it be nice to treat people like they have half a brain?

Now, Bishop, I know you’re hoping that people are just going to take your word for it but I am going to actually put the link to the teaching: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm

Yeah, I know many have seen this before but I see a whole lot of other “offenses” against chastity listed there.  I see some for married folk, single folk, and same-sex attracted folk.  What I always find a bit ironic is that, while you seem to think same-sex attracted people deserves special treatment when it comes to their sins, you also claim offense that the Church has a special section right before the special section for married folks.    Also, did anyone see the part of Church teaching which dismisses or ridicules the complex situation of sexual orientation?  Yeah, me neither.

The coordinated attack on Building a Bridge must be a wake-up call for the Catholic community to look inward and purge itself of bigotry against the L.G.B.T. community. If we do not, we will build a gulf between the church and L.G.B.T. men and women and their families. Even more important, we will build an increasing gulf between the church and our God.

Well, that IS funny.  I so wish we could have a coordinated attack against anyone leading those suffering from SSA into sin but, sadly, we have a lot of fronts we’re fighting. Wait!  Did I just not get the call?  Come on guys!  I know I’m small time but could you just clue me in everyone once in a while????

  The second corrosive impulse of the campaign against Building a Bridge flows from a distortion of Catholic moral theology.

Oh my.  He is a bit paranoid, no?  Honestly, Bishop, there is no campaign. There’s just a whole lot of us who think the book stinks and will further lead people to ditch the struggle in hope that Truth conforms to their will.  No big conspiracy, although I’m totally going to be bummed if I found out there is one and nobody let me in on the secret handshake!

I think this is the third time or so I’m going to call you on your accusation, Bishop.  I mean, I, as well as many others, have happily quoted Fr. Martin, SJ as our evidence time and again.  Might you do the same in regards to the grand conspirators?

The goal of the Catholic moral life is to pattern our lives after that of Jesus Christ. We must model our interior and exterior selves on the virtues of faith, love, hope, mercy, compassion, integrity, sacrifice, prayerfulness, humility, prudence and more. One of these virtues is chastity. Chastity is a very important virtue of the Christian moral life. The disciple is obligated to confine genital sexual activity to marriage.

But chastity is not the central virtue in the Christian moral life. Our central call is to love the Lord our God with all our heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Many times, our discussions in the life of the church suggest that chastity has a singularly powerful role in determining our moral character or our relationship with God. It does not.

What the what???  Nice try, Bishop McElroy.  Are you purposely trying to confuse people?  Why are you mixing commandments and virtues?  Chastity falls under the CARDINAL virtue of temperance.  Again – READ. THE. CATECHISM.  Do not take anything at face value.  I will happily link to avoid “distortion:” http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm

By the way, if you gander at this link, you will find chastity a vocation to all.  Meh. Small potatoes.  (Sarcasm alert!)

Now, what is a Cardinal Virtue, you might ask (or at least Bishop McElroy should)?  “The four principal virtues upon which the rest of the moral virtues turn or are hinged. http://www.newadvent.com/cathen/03343a.htm

No biggie.  Oh, by the way again, it’s mighty hard to achieve the commandments of Christ you so confusingly stated without these virtues.  But yeah, chastity isn’t central at all.  It’s just a little itty-bitty footnote under the Cardinal Virtue of temperance.

This distortion of our faith cripples many of our discussions of sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular.

Oh, I totally agree on this.  Too bad you are part of the problem and not part of the solution.

The overwhelming prism through which we should look at our moral lives is that we are all called to live out the virtues of Christ; we all succeed magnificently at some and fail at others. Those who emphasize the incompatibility of gay men or lesbian women living meaningfully within the church are ignoring the multidimensional nature of the Christian life of virtue or the sinfulness of us all or both.

OOOhhhh!  This is actually kind of a good analogy you stumbled upon, Bishop McElroy.  The geeky, science-loving girl is going to point out that when you look through a prism, it refracts or distorts!  Maybe that’s your problem.  Get a good pair of glasses and stop looking through prisms!  You’re the one who supposedly hates distortions.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Internal Forum

Alrighty!  Thanksgiving is over and my Christmas shopping is all done. Now I can focus on doing some more penance during Advent.  Readers have been asking me to address Bishop McElroy of San Diego, and there’s no penance like trying to read McElroy’s inane statements.  Since the Diocese of San Diego (or at least those focused on eternity) is now waiting for someone to save them, I figured it would be a good topic for this time of year.

The latest faux pas by Bishop McElroy can be read in its entirety here: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/san-diego-bishop-praises-pro-gay-parish-for-being-welcoming

SAN DIEGO, California, December 6, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The director of the young adult ministry at a parish San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy recently praised for its “welcoming” attitude toward “LGBT worshippers” is an openly gay man who works for an organization that supports same-sex “marriage” and women’s ordination.

Let me just start by saying, any Catholic interviewing Bishop McElroy should ask him two questions: 1) Do you believe that the Church will one day ordain women? 2) Do you believe that the Church should accept “gay marriage?”  Pin him down and don’t let him wriggle out of it.  You could also throw in, “Do you think “gay sex” is equal to the marital embrace?”  if he tries to divert with the usual “Who am I to judge?” tell him you’re not asking him to judge but to give an opinion.

The San Diego Union Tribune reported that McElroy cited St. John the Evangelist in Hillcrest as an example of a parish where “LGBT worshippers ‘feel particularly welcome.'”

What does “welcome” mean, Bishop McElroy?  What Catholic doesn’t want people to feel welcome?  If, however, welcome means that we don’t encourage all to live a chaste life with the end goal of everlasting life with Christ, how loving is that?

Let’s remember that we are the Church Oscar Wilde turned to at the end of his life.  We are a Church full of sinners.  Welcoming the sinner is kind of what we do.  We don’t,  however, embrace sin.  It’s not loving to do so.  I’m afraid this has been lost on some.  We are the epitome of welcoming and integration of people into the Faith.

“That’s a very good thing,” he said. McElroy was commenting on the Diocese of San Diego’s recent synod on the family, after which he encouraged priests to give Holy Communion to the divorced and “remarried” and embrace “LGBT families.”

Please, Bishop McElroy!  Can we cut the ambiguity now and actually define what in the heck you are talking about?  This touchy-feely word play is done.  I don’t know a priest out there who doesn’t welcome sinners to his parish.  What I do know are priests who welcome SIN to their parishes.  Let’s just cut to it.  Is this what you are suggesting, Bishop McElroy???  Do your flock a favor and answer the dang questions! 

While you’re at it, please, let’s look at the permanency of Catholic marriage.  I could be wrong, but last time I checked, the parish priest was not the arbiter of a valid/invalid marriage.  Honestly, heaven help us if priests with no canonical training, who are not on the marriage tribunal, and likely were poorly formed, start deciding who is or is not married.

Canon Law states http://www.intratext.com/IXT/ENG0017/_P3U.HTM :

Can. 1060 Marriage enjoys the favour of law. Consequently, in doubt the validity of a marriage must be upheld until the contrary is proven.

Yet now bishops like McElroy are suggesting we simply have a pow-wow with a priest and decide for ourselves?  Think about it, people.  Why in the heck would we ever need a marriage tribunal???  Think that can’t possibly be what Bishop McElroy is saying?  Well, these three bulletins have articles about the “synod” that all follow the same talking points:

http://www.sdcathedral.org/uploads/mce/edd6bb4181065a5b9fb559ad9fddeef16a975d07/970271%20November%2013%202016.pdf

http://www.stmoside.org/pastorcolumn/Pastor2016-1113.pdf

http://sanrafaelparish.org/home/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/November_13_Bulletin.pdf
Colin Donovan, STL, (that’s a Canon Law guy) spells out their errors nicely here https://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/annulment.htm:

Internal Forum. Sometimes it is suggested to individuals or couples that they can resolve marital issues concerning a first marriage in the “internal forum.” This means essentially in the confessional or in the privacy of their conscience. Someone who is divorced and remarried will be told that they do not have to seek a Decree of Nullity to validate the present marriage, rather being convinced in their own conscience that their first marriage was invalid they can return to the sacraments. This is not, however, the case. Marriage is not a private affair but a social institution, one safeguarded by the Church according to the will of Christ. The Holy See has ruled out the internal forum solution as a valid way of resolving marital validity questions. Such issues must be submitted to the Church’s canonical processes (a marriage tribunal).

In short, “internal forum” and “integration” don’t mean what YOU decide, Bishop McElroy.  For those of you wondering what it is and how it applies to the “divorced and remarried” scenario, this was a good synopsis.  https://www.osv.com/OSVNewsweekly/Article/TabId/535/ArtMID/13567/ArticleID/19679/Understanding-Francis-and-the-internal-forum.aspx

St. John the Evangelist advertises on its Twitter page: “In worship and in sacrament, our Catholic parish is called to extend God’s kingdom to young and old, gay and straight, single, married or divorced.” Its rainbow Twitter profile photo reads, “All Are Welcome.”

On November 18, the parish Facebook page advertised a “Modern Mass…where all people find a place at the table!” Its advertisement for the Mass featured a cross imposed on the rainbow flag, a universal symbol of homosexual activism.

What the heck is a “Modern Mass?!”  Last time I checked we had an Ordinary Form and an Extraordinary Form of the Mass.  Sorry, my homosexual Catholic brethren looking to push an agenda rather than fight against temptation, the Mass ain’t your personal football.  I don’t say this in hate, but you are the proverbial princess in the family.  For some reason you think the Sacraments must dance around you and pay you homage.  Get a clue and get a little humility!  There is, indeed, an eternity heading your way, so you really might want to attend Mass to worship God rather than to have everyone else worship your lifestyle choices.

St. John the Evangelist bulletins list Aaron Bianco as the young adult ministry leader.

Bianco’s LinkedIn page lists him as a “Pastoral Associate” with Call to Action, a dissenting anti-Catholic group that opposes the Church’s teaching on homosexuality, marriage, and the nature of the priesthood. In 2006, members of Call to Action were excommunicated over their dissenting advocacy.

Call to Action’s website features a “prayer for all loving marriages” that reads, in part:

We thank You for all the different types of marriages in our world:

Pause!  There is only one type of marriage: a valid one.  All others are just deformed representations of God’s plan for married love.

young couples beginning a life together,

as well as couples celebrating decades of love,

re-married couples and those who found each other later in life,

couples whose marriages are recognized by our state and our Church,

and same-sex couples who are denied that recognition

but who continue to bravely model love and commitment in the face of discrimination…”

Help us support marriage and family in all of its diversity

and guide us as we speak out against oppression in our Church.

Lead us toward the day when all loving unions will be seen as sacred

and all couples will have the support and recognition of their faith communities.

The call to the priesthood should be celebrated regardless of gender,” Call to Action’s website says on its “Women and Girls Equality” page. “We work in many different ways to restore the full participation of women in the liturgy, pastoral life and leadership of their communities…We support the ordination of women with local actions, national media advocacy and with our partners in the movement. Many of our members attend liturgies led by womenpriests.

According to Call to Action, Bianco began as a Program Outreach Associate in 2015. In one blog post for the organization, he describes attending a Dignity USA conference on behalf of Call to Action. Dignity USA is a pro-gay group that rejects the Catholic Church’s teaching on human sexuality.”

What a load of hooey!  I’m going to just assume Bianco agrees with Call to Action.  That alone disqualifies him from any position of authority in a Catholic Church.  Ministry leaders are supposed to conform their will to the will of the Church, not the other way around. 

It appears that McElroy is well aware of Bianco’s gay advocacy. In 2015, the Wall Street Journal wrote that after he became bishop, McElroy told Bianco that he could continue running cathedral parish education programs even though he is openly gay:

Shortly after his installation as the sixth bishop of San Diego this spring, Robert McElroy was approached by a church employee in the city’s downtown cathedral.

Aaron Bianco, a 41-year-old openly gay man who had helped run Catholic education programs for seven years, said that before the bishop’s appointment, a parishioner who knew of Mr. Bianco’s sexual orientation had complained to the diocese, a traditionally conservative one that once denied the owner of a gay nightclub a Catholic funeral.

Fearful of losing his job, Mr. Bianco removed his name from the weekly parish newsletter and brought someone in to help him teach.

But the new bishop assured Mr. Bianco that he wouldn’t lose his job because he is gay. Bishop McElroy “let me know that [being gay] should not hinder me from participating fully in the life of the church,” said Mr. Bianco, who has since taken another position outside the church.

So I’m just going to directly ask Bishop McElroy, do you think that people who are actively engaging in the homosexual lifestyle (sodomy and masturbation), or advocating for the active homosexual lifestyle, should present themselves for Communion?  I mean, again, stop with the ambiguity.  Call a spade a spade and say what you mean and stop the ridiculous game.

The Wall Street Journal article also noted that in 2010, McElroy became an auxiliary bishop in San Francisco, where he celebrated Mass at “a largely gay parish in the city’s Castro district.”

The Diocese of San Diego did not immediately respond to LifeSiteNews’s inquiries on whether the “welcoming” nature of St. John’s is in line with Catholic teaching on homosexual feelings and actions (not people) being intrinsically disordered, or whether the diocese finds it appropriate for St. John’s to advertise the rainbow flag on its social media pages.

The simple fact is that Bishop McElroy must continue on the ambiguous track, because he knows answering the question would be showing his cards, and he would lose the game he’s playing.  He knows it and so do we.

He Can’t Handle Intrinsic Evils

Seriously, Bishop McElroy can’t handle intrinsic evils or much of the Church’s teachings.  I think those pesky little details just get in his way.

http://cal-catholic.com/?p=25557

San Diego bishop: forget about intrinsic evils when voting

Bishop Robert McElroy says using “intrinsic evils” not the best standard for deciding how to vote because there are so many of them.

So glad I wasn’t drinking when I read this one.  Can’t you just see him feeling kind of the same way about the teachings of the Church?  Canon Law? Ten Commandments?  “There are just so many of them, it makes my brain hurt, so let’s just ignore them all.” (That it should have been read in the whiniest voice you could muster.)

<snip>

The church teaches that certain acts are incapable of being ordered to God since in their very structure they contradict the good of the person made in God’s likeness. Such actions are termed “intrinsically evil” and are morally illicit no matter what the intention or circumstances surrounding them. Those who focus primarily on intrinsic evil make two distinct but related claims: 1) that the action of voting for candidates who seek to advance an intrinsic evil in society automatically involves the voter morally in that intrinsic evil in an illicit way; and 2) Catholic teaching demands that political opposition to intrinsically evil acts, like abortion, euthanasia and embryonic experimentation, must be given automatic priority over all other issues for the purposes of voting.

The recent statement of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” shows why this argument is simplistic and thus misleading.

Not so much, Your Excellency.  I think it’s you and your buddies like Archbishop Cupich who think we’re a little too simplistic to figure this out, so you’re going to “help” us. My guess is you two have done the high-five on social media for this one.

The bishops’ statement clearly asserts the absoluteness of the prohibitions against concrete intrinsically evil acts, emphasizing that no circumstances or intentions can justify performing or illicitly cooperating with such acts. At the same time, “Faithful Citizenship” recognizes that voting for a candidate whose policies may advance a particular intrinsic evil is not in itself an intrinsically evil act.

Duh.  They’re not contradicting themselves, you are.  Is there a reason you won’t quote when commenting on “Faithful Citizenship?”  How’s this? 

34. Catholics often face difficult choices about how to vote. This is why it is so important to vote according to a well-formed conscience that perceives the proper relationship among moral goods. A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. In such cases a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil. At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity.

  1. There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences or to ignore a fundamental moral evil.

  2. 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.

  3. In making these decisions, it is essential for Catholics to be guided by a well-formed conscience that recognizes that all issues do not carry the same moral weight and that the moral obligation to oppose intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on our consciences and our actions. These decisions should take into account a candidate’s commitments, character, integrity, and ability to influence a given issue.

See?  You need to look at 36 to clarify 34.  You can’t ever vote for someone who’s pro-abortion if there is a better option or if you are voting for them specifically because of their pro-abortion stance, but you can vote for someone who is pro-abortion if they are the ones who will do the least damage in this area. 

In the end, this is a decision to be made by each Catholic guided by a conscience formed by Catholic moral teaching.

Oh, he leaves out one key word: “well.”  They must be guided by their well-formed conscience.

Voting for candidates is a complex moral action in which the voter must confront an entire array of competing candidates’ positions in a single act of voting. It is crucial that in voting for a candidate who supports the advancement of an intrinsic evil, Catholic voters not have the intention of supporting that specific evil, since such an intention would involve them directly in the evil itself. But voters will often find themselves in situations where one candidate supports an intrinsically evil position, yet the alternative realistic candidates all support even graver evils in the totality of their positions.

Note the heavy focus on the “voters must not have the intention of supporting that specific evil.”  He actually did OK there.  And then he goes onto blow it:

This is particularly true in the United States today. The list of intrinsic evils specified by Catholic teaching includes not only abortion, physician-assisted suicide and embryonic experimentation but also actions that exploit workers, create or perpetuate inhuman living conditions or advance racism. It is extremely difficult, and often completely impossible, to find candidates whose policies will not advance several of these evils in American life.

No. No. No. No. No.  There are some intrinsic evils that have priority.  Anything that deprives life surpasses all others.  If you don’t have life, you have nothing.  Bishop McElroy must have missed this:

http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/abortion/living-the-gospel-of-life.cfm

  1. The losers in this ethical sea change will be those who are elderly, poor, disabled and politically marginalized. None of these pass the utility test; and yet, they at least have a presence.  They at least have the possibility of organizing to be heard.  Those who are unborn, infirm and terminally ill have no such advantage.  They have no “utility,” and worse, they have no voice.  As we tinker with the beginning, the end and even the intimate cell structure of life, we tinker with our own identity as a free nation dedicated to the dignity of the human person.  When American political life becomes an experiment on people rather than for and by them, it will no longer be worth conducting.  We are arguably moving closer to that day.  Today, when the inviolable rights of the human person are proclaimed and the value of life publicly affirmed, the most basic human right, “the right to life, is being denied or trampled upon, especially at the more significant moments of existence: the moment of birth and the moment of death” (Pope John Paul II, The Gospel of Life [Evangelium Vitae], 18).
  1. The nature and urgency of this threat should not be misunderstood. Respect for the dignity of the human person demands a commitment to human rights across a broad spectrum:  “Both as Americans and as followers of Christ, American Catholics must be committed to the defense of life in all its stages and in every condition.”4  The culture of death extends beyond our shores: famine and starvation, denial of health care and development around the world, the deadly violence of armed conflict and the scandalous arms trade that spawns such conflict.  Our nation is witness to domestic violence, the spread of drugs, sexual activity which poses a threat to lives, and a reckless tampering with the world’s ecological balance.  Respect for human life calls us to defend life from these and other threats.  It calls us as well to enhance the conditions for human living by helping to provide food, shelter and meaningful employment, beginning with those who are most in need.  We live the Gospel of Life when we live in solidarity with the poor of the world, standing up for their lives and dignity.  Yet abortion and euthanasia have become preeminent threats to human dignity because they directly attack life itself, the most fundamental human good and the condition for all others.  They are committed against those who are weakest and most defenseless, those who are genuinely “the poorest of the poor.”  They are endorsed increasingly without the veil of euphemism, as supporters of abortion and euthanasia freely concede these are killing even as they promote them.  Sadly, they are practiced in those communities which ordinarily provide a safe haven for the weak — the family and the healing professions.  Such direct attacks on human life, once crimes, are today legitimized by governments sworn to protect the weak and marginalized.

    Just in case you didn’t know, the definition of preeminent is “surpassing all others.”  And I, Bishop McElroy, believe you missed this in the document you speak of but never link to:  http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/upload/forming-consciences-for-faithful-citizenship.pdf

 

  1. Two temptations in public life can distort the Church’s defense of human life and dignity:

  2. The first is a moral equivalence that makes no ethical distinctions between different kinds of issues involving human life and dignity. The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must always be opposed.3

  3. The second is the misuse of these necessary moral distinctions as a way of dismissing or ignoring other serious threats to human life and dignity. The current and projected extent of environmental degradation has become a moral crisis especially because it poses a risk to humanity in the future and threatens the lives of poor and vulnerable human persons here and now. Racism and other unjust discrimination, the use of the death penalty, resorting to unjust war, the use of torture,4 war crimes, the failure to respond to those who are suffering from hunger or a lack of health care, pornography, redefining civil marriage, compromising religious liberty, or an unjust immigration policy are all serious moral issues that challenge our consciences and require us to act. These are not optional concerns which can be dismissed. Catholics are urged to seriously consider Church teaching on these issues. Although choices about how best to respond to these and other compelling threats to human life and dignity are matters for principled debate and decision, this does not make them optional concerns or permit Catholics to dismiss or ignore Church teaching on these important issues. Clearly not every Catholic can be actively involved on each of these concerns, but we need to support one another as our community of faith defends human life and dignity wherever it is threatened. We are not factions, but one family of faith fulfilling the mission of Jesus Christ.

While we follow both, you seem to fall right into the temptation mention when you directly contradicting number 28 .  You’re playing the “it’s just one issue among many” card to the hilt in your little statement.

Even more important, a fatal shortcoming of the category of intrinsic evil as a foundation for prioritizing the major elements of the political common good lies in the fact that while the criterion of intrinsic evil identifies specific human acts that can never be justified, it is not a measure of the relative gravity of evil in human or political acts. Some intrinsically evil acts are less gravely evil than other intrinsically evil actions.

Riiiggghhhhtttt!  Did you read what you just wrote?  In fact, the Church has shown us (just like the USCCB did above) the ones that get priority.  You, however, seem to want to downplay these for a reason.  Why is that? 

Intrinsically evil action can also be less gravely evil than other actions that do not fall under the category of intrinsic evil. For example, telling any lie is intrinsically evil, while launching a major war is not.  But it would be morally obtuse to propose that telling a minor lie to constituents should count more in the calculus of voting than a candidate’s policy to go to war.

And, Bishop McElroy?  Nobody is comparing the two.  This is what we like to call a red-herring.  It is just you trying to use an action that isn’t happening to downplaying the severity of the preeminent intrinsic evils that the Church has laid out. 

It is the gravity of evil or good present in electoral choices that is primarily determinative of their objective moral character and their contribution to or detraction from the common good. Moreover, because voting is a complex moral action involving mitigating circumstances, a vote for a candidate who supports intrinsic evils often does not involve illicit cooperation in those acts. For these reasons the category of intrinsic evil cannot provide a comprehensive moral roadmap for prioritizing the elements of the common good for voting.

We don’t need more of a road map than already given to us.  The person we should vote for should pass the test of rejecting the preeminent intrinsic evils of our time which, again, as our very own USCCB has stated, are the no brainer offenses against life.  That is PREEMINENT.  I’m not sure how many ways the Church has to say it before Bishop McElroy stop trying to confuse the voters that when two candidates are pro-choice, you can’t ever vote for the worse one, but you may be able to vote for the one who will do the least damage in this area.  If two candidates are apples to apples in this area, then you should go on to look at all of the other issues that go along with the dignity of life.