(CNSNews.com) - Archbishop Raymond Burke, the prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest court in the Roman Catholic Church, told a crowd at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., on Friday that no matter what good positions a politician may hold on other issues it is never justified to vote for him if he supports abortion, euthanasia or same-sex marriage.
“In a nation set so firmly on a path of violation of the most fundamental moral norms, Catholics and others who adhere to the natural moral law are pressured to think that their religious commitment to the moral law as the way of seeking the good of all is a merely confessional matter which cannot have any application in public life,” Burke told a crowd gathered at the Hilton Washington.
“Apparently, a number of Catholics in public life have been so convinced,” he continued.
“How often do we hear Catholic legislators who vote in favor of anti-life and anti-family legislation claim that they are personally opposed to what the legislation protects and fosters, but that they as public officials may not allow religious beliefs to affect their support of such legislation?” he asked.
“How often do we hear fellow Catholics supporting candidates for office, who are anti-life and anti-family, because of political-party loyalties or for reasons of other policies and programs supported by the candidate, which they deem to be good?” he continued.
“How often is such thinking justified by the claim that religious faith is a purely private matter and has no place in the public forum?” said the archbishop. “On the contrary, the common good depends upon the active engagement of religious faith in the public forum.”
Burke then turned specifically to the question of voting.
“An important part of our moral reflection must include a clear understanding of the principles regarding cooperation in evil, especially by the act of voting,” Burke told the crowd at the Hilton Washington.
“Too often, in our time, our inability to accomplish all that we should for the sake of the defense of the right to life and of the protection of the integrity of the family is used to justify the direct choice of a political leader who espouses a position or positions in violation of the natural moral law,” he said.
“The Servant of God Pope John Paul II, in his Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae, addresses at length the question of cooperation in evil which violates the dignity of innocent human life,” Burke continued. “He offers as an example the case of a legislator who has the possibility of voting for a law which would restrict the evil of procured abortion, even though it would not eradicate it completely.
“He concludes that the legislator could vote for the legislation, while his own opposition to procured abortion remains clear, for his vote does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects,” said Burke. “In an analogous manner, as voters, we are often faced with a choice among candidates who do not fully oppose unjust laws. In such a case, we must choose the candidate who will most limit the evil effects of unjust laws.
“But,” said Burke, “there is no element of the common good, no morally good practice, which a candidate may promote and to which a voter may be dedicated, which could justify voting for a candidate who also endorses and supports the deliberate killing of the unborn, euthanasia or the recognition of a same-sex relationship as a legal marriage. The respect for the inviolable dignity of innocent human life and for the integrity of marriage and the family are so fundamental to the common good that they cannot be subordinated to any other cause, no matter how good it may be.”
Archbishop Burke, a native of Wisconsin, formerly served as the archbishop of St. Louis.