Guam – Archbishop Anthony Apuron has entered the political fray with a letter written Friday to the island’s faithful, advising Catholics to “avoid voting for any candidate who intends to support programs or laws that are intrinsically evil.”
The letter is published on the Archdiocese of Agana’s website.
It says a “Well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law that contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals.”
In particular, the Archbishop cites 5 issues it opposes which he calls “non-negotiable.”
Those issues are (1) Abortion, (2) Euthanasia, (3) Embryonic Stem Cell Research, (4) Human Cloning, and (5) Same-Sex Union.
And he also goes into some detail to explain the Church’s position 3 of those issues, Abortion, Same-Sex unions and Euthanasia.
About Abortion, the Archbishop writes: “The church teaches that any law permitting abortion, it is “never licit to obey it, or take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such law, or to vote for it.”
On same-sex union, he writes: “Catholic lawmakers have a moral duty to express their opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against same-sex union. To vote in for, or advocate such action, is harmful to the common good and is gravely immoral.”
On Euthenasia, ” Euthanasia is also known as “mercy killing” and is another form of homicide. No person has the right to take his own life, and no one has the right to take the life of any innocent person.”
The Letter is reprinted below:
August 27, 2010
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
May the Peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ Be With You!
We are called to participate in the upcoming elections of our local leaders for the positions of Governor and Lt. Governor, Senator, Attorney General, and Delegate to the U.S. House of Representative. As we exercise our civic duties, we are faced with issues that affect the common good of the People of Guam.
Catholics have a moral obligation to promote the common good by voting in the upcoming primary and general election. By participating in the political process, a well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law that contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals. Thus, to the greatest extent possible, Catholics must avoid voting for any candidate who intends to support programs or laws that are intrinsically evil. When the candidates endorse morally harmful issues and policies, we must be responsible and vote in a way that limits the harm likely to be done.
For the Catholic voters, there are at least five (5) issues that concern actions that are intrinsically evil and must never be promoted by the law. Intrinsically evil actions are those that fundamentally conflict with the moral law and can never be performed under any circumstances. It is a serious sin to deliberately endorse or promote any of these actions. Candidates who promote and want to advance the common good will not support any action contrary to the non-negotiable actions involved with these issues.
The issues that are non-negotiable actions in the Catholic Church are the following: (1) Abortion, (2) Euthanasia, (3) Embryonic Stem Cell Research, (4) Human Cloning, and (5) Same-Sex Union. I would like to highlight at least three of the five that relates more to us on Guam.
Abortion is the intentional and direct killing of an innocent human being, and therefore it is a form of homicide. The church teaches that any law permitting abortion, it is “never licit to obey it, or take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such law, or to vote for it.”
The unborn child is always an innocent party, and no law may permit the taking of this life. Even when a child is conceived through rape or incest, the fault is not the child’s who should not suffer death for other’s sins.
2. Same – Sex Union
Marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Legal recognition of any other union as ‘marriage’ undermines true marriage. Any legal recognition of same-sex union actually does individuals with tendencies for same sex a disfavor by encouraging them to persist in what is an objectively immoral arrangement.
Catholic lawmakers have a moral duty to express their opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against same-sex union. To vote in for, or advocate such action, is harmful to the common good and is gravely immoral.
Euthanasia is also known as “mercy killing” and is another form of homicide. No person has the right to take his own life, and no one has the right to take the life of any innocent person.
In euthanasia, the sick or elderly are killed by action or omission, out of a misplaced sense of compassion or misguided mercy. True compassion cannot include intentionally doing something intrinsically evil to another person.
The Church asks for each Catholic voter to adequately develop a well-formed conscience regarding key moral issues. A well-formed conscience will never contradict moral teaching. If you are unsure where your conscience is leading you, place your trust in the unwavering moral teachings of the Church. You can turn to your Catechism of the Catholic Church as an excellent source of authentic moral teaching.
Furthermore, the Church encourages every Catholic voter to not just vote based in part on your party affiliation, your earlier voting habits, or family voting traditions. Past voting habits may be how we determine support for the candidate, but we need to look further and understand the issues and where does each candidate stand on the issue. Be careful not to cast your vote based on the candidates’ appearance, personality, or ‘media savvy.’ Do not vote for candidates just because they declare themselves Catholic. Unfortunately, many self-described Catholic candidates reject basic Catholic teachings. Also, do not vote based on “what’s in it for me?” Make your decision based on which candidates will most likely promote the common good, even if you will not benefit directly or immediately from what they propose. Finally do not vote for the candidates who are right on lesser issues but who will vote contrary to the Church teachings on key moral issues (i.e. the five non-negotiable actions listed).
Therefore in the upcoming primary and the general election, please participate and exercise your civic duties as Catholic voters and make known your position by selecting the candidates who are willing to be accountable towards the common good of the People of Guam.
Through the intercession of Santa Marian Kamalen, Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores, and Blessed Pedro Calungson, let us pray that as we participate in the upcoming primary and general election, that the exercise of our civic duties will lead to eventually selection of responsible and accountable leaders who seeks the common good for the People of Guam. May we continue to be guided by the Holy Spirit in proclaiming the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Most Rev. Anthony Sablan Apuron, OFM Cap., D.D.
Metropolitan Archbishop of Agana