Lawler on Faithful Citizenship

by Michael Sean Winters

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In my post yesterday on the USCCB decision not to modify their document Faithful Citizenship I noted that some coneervative critics engage in a shell game regarding how abortion should be treated. It did not take long for Phillip Lawler of to step up with his shells in hand.

Lawler writes: "Faithful Citizenship does not draw the necessary, clear distinction between the issues on which good Catholics might disagree (such as economic policy) and those that are non-negotiable (such as abortion)—not to mention the distinction between issues on which prudent compromise is wise (economics again) and those on which compromise is odious (abortion again)." But, no one is voting on the morality of abortion when they enter the voting booth. They are voting on whether or not a given candidate presents a plausible political strategy to restrict or eliminate the evil that all Catholics believe abortion to be. All Catholics are equally pledged to fight poverty, but poverty is not on the ballot anymore than abortion is. Voters have to consider whether a given candidate's positions will, or will not, alleviate poverty.

When Lawler complains that Faithful Citizenship should not gum up its focus on abortion with "so many other considerations" he is advocating for the one thing the bishops explicitly decry: reducing Catholic moral concerns to one or two issues.

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