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Someone forwarded to me your discussion of voting, and in my opinion much of what you have written is very useful and fully in keeping with the teaching of the Catholic Church. I would commend to you, however, some consideration of St. Alphonsus Liguori’s distinction between formal and material cooperation in evil. In Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul uses this principle to explain how a Catholic legislator can in good conscience vote for flawed legislation with the explicit intention of limiting harm. I think this same reasoning can be applied, mutatis mutandis, to voters choosing among imperfect candidates . . . [etc. quotations and more quotations etc.].

 
As I say elsewhere, everyone who calls himself Christian has essentially two choices in living a Christian lifestyle.

1.

You can do anything it takes to be purified in this life of anything that is not love so that you can live according to the principles of chaste divine love, fighting all battles with nothing but love for God, regardless of what happens around you. Mind you, it’s far harder to live a true Catholic lifestyle than it is to argue about politics.

  

Neither shall you allege the example of the many as an excuse for doing wrong.

  

—Exodus 23:2

2.

Or you can attempt to squeeze past hell along the path of least sacrifice of personal satisfaction, fighting battles along the way with agrumentativeness, intellectual pride, and political maneuvering, all the while in grave danger of falling into the very chasm you hope to avoid. But, if you are so lacking in faith and trust in God that you want to risk your salvation by taking matters into your own hands like this, then there is no point in telling you otherwise because you won’t listen anyway. So go ahead and do what you want.

Whatever your decision, the path you choose and the price that will be exacted from you is all your own personal responsibility.

 
Pressure From Others

Speaking of personal responsibility, what can anyone do when pressured with tedious arguments, such as the above? What if family members oppress you with arguments and criticism to get you to do what they want you to do, despite what you believe to be right and truly in accord with a pure holy lifestyle?

Well, what you need is the courage to say to your family, ďMind your own business.Ē You may not actually use those exact words, but you can say words that carry that implication.

For example, if you donít like to eat some particular food, thatís your personal preference. Children may be forced to eat things they donít like, but adults have responsibility for their own lives. No one has any right to tell you, an adult, that you have to eat something you don’t like. Nor do you have to justify your preferences to anyone other than to God. If you wanted to discuss the matter with someone, you could. But, in general, if you donít like the taste of something, you donít like it, and if you donít want to eat it, you donít have to explain yourself to others.

Therefore, if your husband, for example, decides to vote or not, and for whom he votes, if he chooses to vote, are all matters of his business, and it’s all between him and God. If he chooses to vote for a pro-abortion candidate, for example, then he will have to answer to God for his sin. Moreover, what you chose to do after reading what I have written is your own business. Whether you vote or not, and for whom you vote, if you choose to vote, are all your business, and it’s all between you and God. (Just be careful that you have chosen to act according to a pure and holy lifestyle and are not condoning sin.) Your husband has no right to tell you that you should take a course of action that would jeopardize the salvation of your soul, and so, if he tries to tell you what to do, you can say, ďListen. You can do what you want. Thatís your business. But Iím going to do what I believe is morally right, and, furthermore, I donít want to argue about it.Ē Thatís the equivalent of saying, ďMind your own business.Ē

Those four words, at least by implication, will do much to preserve your sanity when you are accosted by the insanity of your family.

 


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