The following comes from a September 17 LifeSiteNews.com story.
As the November general election approaches, America’s Catholic bishops have been walking a fine line as they strive to avoid appearances of partisanship while at the same time they wage a high-profile battle against the Obama administration over religious freedom.
Earlier this month, one of the leading lights in the U.S. episcopate insisted he “certainly” could not vote for Obama, while not specifically endorsing his Republican opponent Mitt Romney.
Asked whether a Catholic could vote for Obama in good faith, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia replied: “I can only speak in terms of my own personal views. I certainly can’t vote for somebody who’s either pro-choice or pro-abortion.”
In a wide-ranging interview with John Allen, Jr. of the National Catholic Reporter, published Friday, the archbishop drew a sharp distinction between a candidate’s “prudential judgments” about how we care for the poor, and his position on an intrinsic evil like abortion.
Responding to concerns over the budget proposed by Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, which some Catholic bishops and other critics had called immoral because it cut programs to the poor, the archbishop pointed out that people of good faith can legitimately disagree over the role of government in providing aid to the poor.
“Jesus tells us very clearly that if we don’t help the poor, we’re going to go to hell,” he insisted. “But Jesus didn’t say the government has to take care of them, or that we have to pay taxes to take care of them. Those are prudential judgments.”
“You can’t say that somebody’s not Christian because they want to limit taxation,” he continued. “To say that it’s somehow intrinsically evil like abortion doesn’t make any sense at all.”
The archbishop, while noting he is a registered independent, said he has “deep personal concerns about any party that supports changing the definition of marriage, supports abortion in all circumstances, wants to restrict the traditional understanding of religious freedom.”
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