If you have ever been overwhelmed by what needs to be considered when voting, here is a beginner's guide for you! Thanks to Catholic Answers for bringing the 5 Non-Negotiables into the mainstream of Catholic apologetics, this is a breakdown of each issue and where the Church stands, including examples and a summary of each subject. These five topics are imperative for every conscious Catholic voter to consider this election season.
So what are the 5 non-negotiables? They are
- Human Cloning
- Euthanasia (assisted suicide)
- Stem Cell Research
- Homosexual "Marriage"
The Church has strict teachings on all of these, so before you consider your candidate's stances on these subjects, here is a breakdown of what the Catholic Church teaches on each matter:
CCC 2258: "Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being."
CCC 2261: "...The deliberate murder of an innocent person is gravely contrary to the dignity of the human being..."
CCC 2270: "Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life."
It is the social teaching of the Catholic Church that abortion is immoral and a grave sin. Anyone who has, or even participates in (with full knowledge) an abortion is committing a grave sin against not only his own soul, but also against Our Lord and Creator, Jesus Christ, and His creation of man. It is our duty to educate and comfort those in pain, especially when effected by such an atrocity as abortion.
Definiton of cloning, as defined by Merriam-Webster: "a person or thing that appears to be an exact copy of another person or thing."
CCC 354: "Respect for laws inscribed in creation and the relations which derive from the nature of things is a principle of wisdom and a foundation for morality."
CCC 1700: "The dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God."
1995 Encyclical Letter of Pope John Paul II 'The Gospel of Life': "The various techniques of artificial reproduction, which would seem to be at the service of life and which are frequently used with this intention, actually open the door to new threats against life. Apart from the fact that they are morally unacceptable, since they separate procreation from the fully human context of the conjugal act, these techniques have a high rate of failure: not just failure in relation to fertilization but with regard to the subsequent development of the embryo, which is exposed to the risk of death, generally within a very short space of time. Furthermore, the number of embryos produced is often greater than that needed for implantation in the woman's womb, and these so-called 'spare embryos' are then destroyed or used for research which, under the pretext of scientific or medical progress, in fact reduces human life to the level of simple 'biological material' to be freely disposed of."
The Catholic Church is against the concept of human cloning because it goes against the natural law that God created. He alone is to be in control of human life and we are to respect His laws. God's law is that new life can only come from the conjugal act, making it against God's law to clone humans without that act.
Euthanasia (assisted suicide)
CCC 2277: "Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable. Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded. "
CCC 2278: " Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of "over-zealous" treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one's inability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected. "
CCC 2280 (on suicide): "Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of. "
It is the teaching of the Catholic Church that euthanasia in regards to the elderly and handicapped for the motive of eliminating suffering is morally unacceptable. God is the ultimate power when it comes to our lives and when our time has come. While one can still discontinue medical procedures when the treatment becomes too burdensome or extreme that, while extending the life a small amount, the party accepts that death is imminent (besides the attempts to impede it), and is therefore acceptable, though this decision should be made by the patient, if competent enough. I included CCC 2280 to clarify that it is the individual's responsibility in the end and between them and God.
Stem Cell Research
Declaration on the Production and the Scientific and Theraputic Use of Human Embryonic Stem Cells: "... A human individual has the right to its own life; and therefore every intervention which is not in favour of the embryo is an act which violates that right. Moral theology has always taught that in the case of Ajus certum tertii" the system of probabilism does not apply."
USCCB: "... the Church supports ethically responsible stem cell research, while opposing any research that exploits or destroys human embryos.... Because the Church opposes deliberately destroying innocent human life at any stage, for research or any other purpose, it opposes embryonic stem cell research as currently conducted. However, when scientists proposed avenues for possibly obtaining embryonic stem cells or their pluripotent equivalent without creating or harming embryos.... Clearly, the Church favors ethically acceptable stem cell research. It opposes destroying some human lives now, on the pretext that this may possibly help other lives in the future. We must respect life at all times, especially when our goal is to save lives."
While this is a relatively new subject, the Catholic Church stands firmly with a pro-life stance. Similar to abortion, every life is sacred and must be treated with dignity. Whether it is for research or to save future lives, we are not to murder any current life for the furtherment of future research.
CCC 2357: "Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved."
CCC 2358: "The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. "
CCC 2360: "Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman. In marriage the physical intimacy of the spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion."
It is the teaching of the Catholic Church that homosexual "marriage" is not marriage and goes against God's instituted natural law. The concept of two people of the same sex being able to procreate (as is the reason for marriage: procreation and unity) goes against the logic of nature. Marriage was created for a man and a woman who are open to life to express to each other the full self-giving and unity of the sacrament and each other. Since this cannot be obtained through same-sex unions, the Church teaches that the act of homosexuality is morally wrong. While it condemns the act, the sinner is to be loved and helped in any way possible. There is to be respect and compassion directed towards them as they struggle to find their way to Christ and His calling for them.
These five issues are extremely important when voting this election season.These are five issues that the Catholic Church stands firm on, so, as practicing Catholics, we need to stand firm with her. Whether you consider yourself Republican, Democrat, Independent, or other, it is imperative that you vote on your beliefs and as Catholics, here is a starting list of the things that are hot-button and important when you go into that voting booth!
Now, it's time to go out and research your candidate on these issues!