Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, Wisc., told local Catholics to not be morally complicit in “intrinsically evil” acts and to help protect religious liberty on Election Day.
“Let us pray for the electorate and let's take action, that we may vote for good and moral leaders for this great country which will only remain great, if she continues to be and to do the good,” he said in his Oct. 24 letter.
Bishop Ricken said the Church has the responsibility to speak out on moral issues, especially those that affect the common good and the dignity of the human person.
He reviewed some principles Catholics should “keep in mind” in the voting booth, including a “set of non-negotiables” that “cannot be supported by anyone who is a believer in God or the common good or the dignity of the human person.”
He listed five areas of importance: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and homosexual “marriage.”
“These are intrinsically evil,” he said.
Bishop Ricken cited a 2002 doctrinal note from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI. That note said a well-formed Christian conscience does not allow a vote for a political program that “contradicts fundamental contents of faith and morals.”
Bishop Ricken said that “some candidates and one party” have chosen some of these as their personal political platform or that of their party. Voting for such candidates could mean a voter is complicit in this choices.
“This could put your soul in jeopardy,” he warned.
He also advised voters to keep in mind the religious liberty threat posed by the Department of Health and Human Services mandate requiring most employers with 50 or more employees to provide no co-pay insurance coverage for sterilization and contraceptives, including some abortion-causing drugs.
Despite Catholic objections to providing these drugs and procedures, the existing religious exemption is so narrow that most Catholic hospitals, charities and colleges would not qualify. The administration promised to accommodate these concerns but has not released the details of the new proposal.
The bishop said the administration's “aggressive moves” to impose the HHS mandate set a “dangerous precedent” and indicate a broader societal drive to “remove God from the public square and from any relation to society whatever.”
His letter mentioned other issues like the need for jobs for the unemployed and the need for an economy that does the most for the common good.
“You have often heard it said that this is a turning point in our country's history and I could not agree more,” he said.