Forming Consciences


In the recent article, “When Political Choice Is Tough, Pray and Vote Your Conscience,” (CNY, Oct. 13) Catholic News Service reports on a response by Pope Francis to a journalist’s question about the U.S. presidential election. The journalist stated that both the Republican and the Democratic candidates hold positions that contradict the teachings of the Catholic Church.

I know that the Democratic ticket led by Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine supports abortion on demand and favors repealing the Hyde Amendment that prevents taxpayer money from being used to fund abortions. The ticket also favors gay marriage, embryonic stem cell research and is open to legalizing physician-assisted suicide.

Can Catholic News Service and Catholic New York please inform me, a Catholic and a U.S. citizen who plans to vote, which position of the Donald Trump-Mike Pence ticket conflicts with church teachings? I ask as a voter who wants to be informed, so that my decision serves my Catholic faith and my country.

Catholic News Service quotes Pope Francis as saying, “choose in conscience” when voting for a candidate. Nothing in the article tells me how that conscience might be formed or whether there are objective criteria for examining that conscience. Pope Francis advises voters to “study the proposals well,” but he does not say which proposals. I have to assume that he means all proposals.

The article convinced me to accept the Holy Father’s suggestion, unless Catholic New York and Catholic News Service have something to add. I will consider tax and immigration policy on the same plane as issues of abortion, marriage and end of life care.

When the Clinton-Kaine ticket prevails, after which the Hyde Amendment is repealed and my tax dollars are used to fund abortions, a new Supreme Court insists that Little Sisters of the Poor comply with contraceptive mandates, and, as a physician, I can legally expand the way I treat dying patients, my conscience will be assuaged. After all, I studied the proposals well. 

James O’Neill



No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment