Catching Up with Fr. Frank Pavone On the Election and Voter Guides
Next, I asked him about the Catholics and other Christians who write to me claiming they were not pleased with either major Party Presidential candidate. Some tell me they are considering either not voting - or voting for an alternative candidate who is incapable of winning.
"Father", I inquired, "what do you say to those who have decided that neither of the two major candidates are fully Pro-Life and so have decided to not vote or vote for a third party candidate who cannot win. They write to me and tell me in person that they do not want to vote for "the lesser of two evils"".
Fr Frank responded bluntly, "Choosing the better of two imperfect candidates is not choosing the lesser of two evils. We can never choose evil. But we can choose to limit evil, and that is a good." To which I heartily responded, "Amen". I hope all who have told me this - in writing or in person - not only read his astute and accurate response but act accordingly!
I next asked how he deals with the opponents of our Pro-Life work who accuse Catholics of trying to impose our beliefs on the American people. I knew how I would answer the question, I have written extensively about it.
"Fr Frank", I asked, "how do you deal with those who accuse you as a Catholic Priest and human rights activist of trying to impose Catholic values on America?" His answer was again brief, and right to the point. "I am not calling for a Vatican takeover of America; I'm calling for an American takeover of America!"
I have worked with Fr Frank over the years in many Pro-Life efforts. One of the efforts is "Deacons in the Service of Life"an outreach of Priests for Life. I know that during every election cycle, as we draw close to the time to cast our ballots, Voter Guides begin to be circulated.
As a constitutional lawyer I know the requirements for such guides to be acceptable for Churches and other non-profit organizations under Section 501 c3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Yet, as a Deacon, I have also experienced the reticence on the part of many Catholic Clergy to allow such guides to be distributed, even when they are in compliance with the law.
Priests for Life just released a Non-Partisan Voter Guide for the 2012 US Presidential election which is completely compliant with the law. It is entitled "Where Do the Candidates Stand on key Issues?" So, I asked Fr Frank two final questions concerning Voter guides.
"Fr Frank, many Catholic clergy are concerned about offering Voter Guides. Can you help us to understand if there is a proper use for them? Are they an improper political activity for a parish?" His response was accurate and simple.
"For the Church to inform her people, in a non-partisan way, of the positions of the candidates is not a political activity - it is a pastoral activity. In fact, it is one of the spiritual works of mercy: instructing those who do not know. It is an equipping of the People of God to go into the world and make a change, consistent with the Great Commission and the New Evangelization."
"We will hear in the coming weeks, as we do in every election cycle, of numerous refusals by Churches and dioceses to permit the distribution of voter guides. When someone tells me, 'We can't distribute yours,' I challenge them, 'Well then where is yours?' But unfortunately, the alternative ends up being none at all."
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Fr Frank Pavone, Fr Frank, Pavone, priests for Life, Deacons for Life, Abortion, pro-Life, Pro-Choice, Anti-Life, campaign 2012, Romney, Ryan, Obama, Biden, Deacon Keith Fournier
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