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 CNS Story:

ELECTION-AMERICA Oct-22-2008 (470 words) xxxn

Race must never motivate vote, Bishop Cupich says in America article

By Catholic News Service

NEW YORK (CNS) -- Race must never be a motivating factor in deciding for whom to vote, Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Rapid City, S.D., said in the Oct. 27 issue of America magazine.

"As we draw near an Election Day on which one of the major party candidates for president is for the first time a person of African-American ancestry, we should be able to do so with a sense that whatever the outcome, America has crossed another threshold in healing the wounds that racism has inflicted on our nation's body politic for our entire history," Bishop Cupich wrote.

But he said media reports about possible race-based voting show that "this potentially healing moment could turn into the infliction of one more wound if racism appears to determine the outcome."

Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, the Democratic nominee for president, is African-American.

Recalling the "central affirmation" of the bishops' 1979 pastoral letter, "Brothers and Sisters to Us," that "racism is a sin," Bishop Cupich said, "The promotion neither of abortion nor racism can ever be a motivation for one's vote.

"Voting for a candidate solely because of that candidate's support for abortion or against him or her solely on the basis of his or her race is to promote an intrinsic evil," he added. "To allow racism to reign in our hearts and to determine our choice in this solemn moment for our nation is to cooperate with one of the great evils that has afflicted our society."

The Oct. 27 issue of America, the New York-based, Jesuit-run magazine, also featured an editorial on "Voting One's Conscience."

"Some have argued -- misleadingly -- that our moral obligation to defend innocent human life means that it is never morally permissible for a Catholic to vote for a candidate who supports abortion rights," the editors wrote. "Given the specific choices facing voters, disqualification of pro-choice candidates is neither automatic nor universal."

The editorial notes that the U.S. bishops' 2007 document on "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship," allows for the possibility that a Catholic could support a candidate despite his or her stand in favor of legal abortion, as long as there are other "truly grave moral reasons."

"In other words, Catholics are not automatic single-issue voters, regardless of the issue," America magazine said. "The church's teaching ... is not a political platform, nor is it a penal code that can be cited in part without reference to the whole."

The editorial said the bishops also urge voters to take into consideration "a candidate's commitments, character, integrity and ability to influence a given issue."

"Repeated failure by a candidate or a party to make good on campaign promises must be calculated into a voter's judgment," it said. "Prudence also requires voters to recall that there are different ways of responding to compelling social problems that are morally acceptable."


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