Burke tells us how to vote, from the Vatican

by Maureen Fiedler

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I remember distinctly, when I was about 10-11 years old, hearing my father say after church, “That priest can have his opinions, but he is not going to tell me how to vote!” (The person at issue, as I recall, was a local candidate who was divorced).

It sounds like Cardinal-designate Raymond Burke never ran into Catholics like my father. According to CatholicAction.org, Burke is once again telling American Catholics how to vote -- this time from the banks of the Tiber.

In an interview with Thomas McKenna, president of the arch-conservative Catholic Action for Faith and Family, Burke reportedly said that Catholics are bound in conscience to vote for political candidates who oppose aborting babies, embryonic stem cell experiments, euthanasia and so-called homosexual “marriage.”

There was no mention of the central issues of the 2010 mid-term election: unemployment, the economy, the widening income gap between the wealthy and the working/middle class, home foreclosures, or even immigration. For Burke, everything apparently hinges on the “bedroom” issues, not the “boardroom” or the “border” issues.

This is a yet another example of hierarchical behavior that oversteps the boundaries of acceptable church/state relations and sends most Catholic voters up the wall -- if they pay attention to it at all.

Many Catholics do not agree with the official hierarchical position on some or all of these issues, but even those who do don’t want to be given instructions on how to cast their ballot.

Now Burke, as an American citizen, certainly has the right to express the official church positions -- or his personal opinions -- on these issues. But when hierarchical leaders suggest that voting for candidates who do not share official church views is in any way sinful it’s akin to trying to make voting itself a potentially sinful act. That’s something many church/state scholars find unacceptable.

The Catholic bishops as a body, in every major election, have said that voters need to weigh all the major issues in making a decision, not just one or two of them.

Now, that is a position my father would understand.

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