Friday, September 17, 2004

Archbishop John Meyers on Catholic disagreement w/ the war

In an editorial for the Wall Street Journal ("A Voter's Guide: Pro-choice candidates and church teaching", Sept. 17, 2004), Archbishop John Myers of Newark, NJ addressed issues of proportionality and voting for pro-abortion candidates. He also briefly addressed -- and challenged -- the arguments put forth by those who contend that the Catholic Church had authoritavely condemned the war in Iraq as immoral and saw opposition to the war as sufficient grounds for voting for a candidate who stood clearly at odds with Church teaching on abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, same-sex marriage, and other "non-negotiable" issues:

. . . Certainly policies on welfare, national security, the war in Iraq, Social Security or taxes, taken singly or in any combination, do not provide a proportionate reason to vote for a pro-abortion candidate.

Consider, for example, the war in Iraq. Although Pope John Paul II pleaded for an alternative to the use of military force to meet the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, he did not bind the conscience of Catholics to agree with his judgment on the matter, nor did he say that it would be morally wrong for Catholic soldiers to participate in the war. In line with the teaching of the catechism on "just war," he recognized that a final judgment of prudence as to the necessity of military force rests with statesmen, not with ecclesiastical leaders. Catholics may, in good conscience, support the use of force in Iraq or oppose it.

Abortion and embryo-destructive research are different. They are intrinsic and grave evils; no Catholic may legitimately support them. In the context of contemporary American social life, abortion and embryo-destructive research are disproportionate evils. They are the gravest human rights abuses of our domestic politics and what slavery was to the time of Lincoln. Catholics are called by the Gospel of Life to protect the victims of these human rights abuses. They may not legitimately abandon the victims by supporting those who would further their victimization.