Is our “eternal salvation” at stake on Nov. 6?

Consider this from the conclusion of Springfield, Illinois Bishop Thomas Paprocki's most recent column in the diocesan paper, The Catholic Times: "I am not telling you which party or which candidates to vote for or against, but I am saying that you need to think and pray very carefully about your vote, because a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy."

Paprocki's final remarks come after he reports that he has "read the Republican Party Platform and there is nothing in it that supports or promotes an intrinsic evil or a serious sin." The Democratic platform, on the other hand, includes support for abortion rights and gay marriage and thus "endorses" serious sins by supporting the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. Paprocki explicitly mentions Hillary Clinton's assertion in a recent speech that "gay rights are human rights," which appears in the Democratic platform.

So, I could be jeopardizing my salvation if I vote for a candidate who supports the Democratic platform (but not if I vote GOP), regardless of what a particular official actually does when elected. This is sketchy moral logic to say the least, but my real question is: Does it constitute an endorsement, which would jeopardize the Springfield diocese's tax-exempt status? Paprocki writes that he feels duty-bound to speak, even if he sounds "political," but wouldn't be easier just to abandon tax exemption and jump into poliics with both feet?

Regardless of the effect on the church's tax bill, bishops like Paprocki may want to consider another unintended consequence of seeming to favor the GOP: Recent polling is showing Catholics swinging toward the president right now. 


About the author

Bryan Cones

Bryan Cones is a writer living in Chicago.