Greetings lukewarm Catholic! We think you are awesome and are very glad you found us. What you are about to read is very important, and is usually not covered during the Christmas or Easter mass, or at Catholic weddings or funerals. That’s good news, as all of this will most likely be new to you!
Before moving on, you must first decide whether you want to continue calling yourself Catholic:
YES (keep reading)
NO (click here)
I. Your responsibility as a voter
First of all, the Church does not tell you how to vote. It is your responsibility as a lukewarm Catholic to put forth an effort to learn what the Church teaches so you may have a properly formed conscience. Catholicism is a religion of faith and reason, so we are expected to use both, guided by the Church. Being Catholic does not automatically make you a Republican or a Democrat. A Catholic should be be guided by their moral convictions, rather than a political party.
Deep thought: “It is necessary that all participate, according to his position and role, in promoting the common good. This is inherent in the dignity of the human person … As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life” (catechism: 1913-1915).
I should form my conscience by using my human reason and the guidance of _________ .
A. Honey Boo Boo
C. My college professors
D. My friends
E. The Catholic Church
D. All of the above
If you answered E, read on. If you answered anything else, you failed miserably. Read section 1 again.
II. Form your conscience
Below, you will see catechism references inside parentheses. We have provided these as a courtesy to other readers, as we do not expect lukewarm Catholics to click on these references because this would surely put their “lukewarm” status in danger. Don’t call me Shirley.
- euthanasia (cat: 2276)
- human cloning
- destructive research on human embryos
- targeting of noncombatants in acts of war
The Church also teaches that these are serious moral issues:
- the use of death penalty
- hunger and poverty
- lack of health care or housing
- the human and moral costs of war
- unjust immigration policies
- violation of religious freedom
- redefining traditional marriage
Obviously, this is not a complete list. We’ve only listed the issues that two candidates may disagree on. For example, genocide and rape are intrinsically evil acts as well, but you’d be hard pressed to find a candidate who favors such things.
So what’s the difference?
You are but a lukewarm Catholic, so how could you know the difference? Well, do not fret, for phatmass is here. Here’s all you have to know: The first list of the intrinsically evil issues, are non-negotiable. There is no debate on them. They are very clear, and must always be opposed. In other words, they are black & white with no room for grey areas. We understand how hard it must be for a lukewarm Catholic to get out of such grey areas, but we believe in you–do not give up hope. You can do it!
The second list of the serious moral issues should always be opposed as well. The difference is that these issues are less black & white, and there can be a legitimate debate on how to best solve these issues. This is for you to decide. As a lukewarm Catholic, feel free to legitimately debate the second list of issues without feeling guilty.
Deep thought: “A candidate’s position on a single issue is not sufficient to guarantee a voter’s support. Yet a candidate’s position on a single issue that involves an intrinsic evil, such as support for legal abortion or the promotion of racism, may legitimately lead a voter to disqualify a candidate from receiving support.” – U.S. Bishops, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship
True or False: If both candidates have the same stance on every issue, except candidate #1 is in favor of abortion, and candidate #2 favors policies that will not provide better housing opportunities for the poor, I can vote for either candidate with a clear conscience because those two issues even each other out.
The above answer is false. Abortion is an intrinsic evil, and a Catholic should not cooperate in that evil when another legitimate candidate is an option. If both candidates favor abortion, and there are no other legitimate candidates, a Catholic can then weigh the other issues when voting according to their moral convictions.
Reminder: Praying is something you can do even when you don’t need something! Unfortunately, you’ll have to do that at another time, because now you should ask God for His help trying to figure all this out. This is a required step. Unlike mass during ordinary time, don’t skip it… And don’t be afraid to make the sign of the cross when you’re finished, even if people can see you. Being a lukewarm Catholic, you may be more comfortable with the express in-the-air version where you swipe your hand back and forth quickly somewhere in the vicinity of your chin so people are not sure whether you are making the sign of the cross or swiping away a fly. Some day you may be brave enough to make the full on sign of the cross. It’s sooo retro.
III. Know the candidates
Now that you know the Church says you have a moral obligation to vote, and you’ve formed your conscience based on the most important moral issues, it’s time to figure out which candidate to vote for.