Militant Monday | NOT Voting is a SIN

  • Posted October 24, 2016

Not Voting is a SinThis week’s Militant Monday is going to focus on the upcoming election in the United States of America. It also applies to every citizen of every nation for every election, if one has the ability to vote. This Monday’s topic, NOT voting is a SIN.

For those who have the ability to vote, their ability is actually an obligation. We have a moral duty to elect good leaders for our country, lest we sin. Not Voting is a sin.

Though priests are not to engage in politics from the pulpit, they are to discuss principles and themes of the Christian faith. Further, free discussion of all issues affecting the general interest of the community and country is encouraged in the parish halls. The Christian then has the moral obligation to elect candidates who are most in step with the Christian principles. It is a moral duty to condemn those who will do harm to the country.

What the Church Says about Not Voting

Regarding the importance of voting, and the obligation binding upon us all, The Most Rev. John McNicholas (1877-1950), Archbishop of Cincinnati, wrote pastoral letters on the matter between 1929 and 1939.
He rejected the notion that the single vote is of no consequence, and asked that both men and women “vote in all elections” and “to make a sacrifice to discharge this important civic duty.”
He asked that all Catholics not yet citizens become such as soon as possible and to use the right of voting as soon as they had secured it, saying “It is most important that the good citizens be thoroughly impressed with the importance of voting. Those who habitually vote and those who habitually refrain from voting cannot but exercise an influence for good or evil on the community.”

While urging Catholics to vote, priests must NOT interfere with their liberty of action, with regard to their party affiliations, or selection of candidates. But priests MUST inform the faithful of what are the principles which must guide them in order to fulfill the duty of voting without sin. By not voting, and relinquishing the duty, sin is committed.

Pope St. Pius X spoke of the duty of the church to oversee the political interests when he said, “We know that it will be displeasing to some that we intend to occupy ourselves with political affairs, however, whoever judges things dispassionately will realize that the Sovereign Pontiff can not separate politics from the Magisterium that he exercises in faith and morals.”

More strong declarations about not voting came from Pope Pius XII.

In 1946, he gave this advice in Italy: “The exercise of the right to vote is an act of grave responsibility, at least when there is the question involved of electing those whose office it will be to give the country its constitutions and its laws, particularly those which effect, for example, the sanctification of feast days, marriage, family life and school, the various phases of social life. It therefore falls to the Church to explain to the faithful their moral duties which derive from their right to vote.”

In 1948, he furthered: “It is your right and duty to draw the attention of the faithful to the extraordinary importance of the coming elections and to the moral responsibility which follows from it for those who have the right to vote. In the present circumstances it is strictly obligatory for whoever has the right, man or woman, to take part in the elections. He who abstains, particularly through indolence or cowardice, commits thereby a grave sin, a mortal offense.”

Theologians say that in an ordinary election, voting binds every one who has the power to vote, at least under pain of venial sin, and sometimes under pain of mortal sin.


Not Voting as a Venial Sin

If one realizes that their vote will have little effect, that the good candidates will be elected, even without their vote, not voting is still a sin. If they are sure that good issues will be passed and bad issues will be turned down, even without their vote, not voting is still a sin. This is a venial sin providing that not voting does not cause serious harm to the country.


Not Voting as a Mortal Sin

When serious issues are at stake, or there is the duty to prevent bad candidates from getting in office, then there is a serious obligation to vote. Not voting in this case would result in a mortal sin.


The Principle of Double Effect

What if there is no one worth voting for? Am I excused from voting?

No. Not Voting is never excused.

By not voting, there is a renunciation of the duty to participate in the government of one’s country. It is a defeatist attitude and one that the church never allows nor promotes, even when there is only a choice between bad candidates.

There can be a duty to vote for the lesser of two evils when it prevents a worse candidate and worse evils from falling on a country. It is permissible even to vote for one who will uphold principles contrary to church teachings, and who will do harm to the church, IF that is the only way of ensuring that someone who will do worse harm is not elected into office.

Theologians say it is not permitted to promote a candidate who’s the lesser of two evils, to promote him as a good candidate, but only to promote someone as the lesser of two evils. Then one should vote for him who is less evil, if he makes known the reason for his choice, and if the election is necessary to exclude a worse candidate. There must be no praise of the unworthy candidate.

Theologians also point out that whenever there is a good HOPE of electing a good candidate, it is never permitted to vote for a lesser of two evils candidate. This is ONLY if there is any reasonable hope of electing a good candidate through any lawful means, even by write-in vote. However, if one realizes that by voting for a good candidate or write-in vote, that there was no reasonable hope that the good candidate would be elected, (even though it would be possible to vote for that candidate) it would then be permissible still to vote for the lesser of two evils.

In the United States of America, there doesn’t even need to be a declaration of one’s reasoning, because voting is done with a secret ballot. It’s between the voter and God.


Not Voting in the US Election is a Sin

Today in America, there are grave dangers and many evils that threaten every way of life. We will speak to the specifics next week, but it is the grave duty of all Catholics to inform themselves of the Church teachings.

The world now is even more morally bankrupt than it was under Pope Pius XII. The evils we face are as great as ever, so we must realize the great duty we have in casting a vote. Pius XII urged priests to tell everyone to vote, or else they would be giving up on confidence in God. We are not to assume a poor attitude and say that there is the nothing we can do.

How much more true is this today? We must not think things are too far gone in our country. There are still things that can be done. We must still try to promote good Catholic principles.

Not Voting is a Sin, so we should fulfill our duty. But lastly, let’s remember an opposite and common error today….lack of prayer! Some may spend hours engaging in political activism as a remedy on it’s own, and neglect prayer. Prayer should be our very first remedy. Without prayer, nothing else we do will be of any use. If we are going to be Catholics who only pray on Sundays when we go to Mass, and only a few occasional prayers throughout the week, we aren’t meeting our obligation. We must make an effort to have a solid prayer life, and study Church teaching to make ourselves better informed. If we want to save our country and our souls, we must Pray, Learn , and Vote!

Next week, we will discuss the principles and themes in making a conscientious judgement on choosing a candidate.

God Bless.

Last week’s Militant Monday – The Holy Trinity

Next week’s Militant Monday – Guiding Principles on How to Vote

Send this to a friend