A simpler alternative to the USCCB’s “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” presented in under 500 words:
“Man is a social animal,” and his good is naturally bound up with the good of others. Thus he has duties not only to himself and to God but to family, neighbors, and the wider society. This entails an obligation to act as a co-steward of the common good through participation in civic life and social institutions. Where men are enfranchised, this obligation produces a duty to exercise, and to exercise well, the right to vote (CCC 2240).
But this duty is not absolute and, like virtually all other duties, is conditioned by a number of considerations, including the all-overriding obligation to avoid sin and complicity in evil. Insofar as, in the modern age, it is virtually impossible to cast a vote for a major-party candidate who does not support some form of moral evil, we are absolutely enjoined on moral grounds for voting for such a candidate without sufficiently grave reason.
Faithful Catholics who oppose the reelection of Barack Obama are to be commended for their dutiful attentiveness to the core social teachings of the Catholic faith, especially its opposition to abortion. I can envision no scenarios in which a vote to reelect the current President falls short of being morally grave matter. But the extreme moral depravity of the agenda of the current President is not sufficient to justify an unconsidered vote for his chief opponent, who is himself a supporter of several grave moral evils (including, among other things, torture, unjust wars, and the abandonment of children to the care and upbringing of unrepentant perverts). Such a vote can only be justified if those moral evils are neither the motivating impetus for that vote nor proportionally greater than any good that might come about as a result of his victory. In other words, far from it being assumed that a vote for Gov. Romney is morally justifiable on the grounds that he is the “lesser of two evils,” the mere fact of his being evil means it must be presumed that one cannot vote for him without sufficiently grave reason.
Given his shameless duplicity on the issue of abortion, his personal financial support for the eugenic slaughter of his own grandchildren, and, of course, his appalling record in having supported a bill nearly identical in scope and consequence to Obamacare, it is very unlikely that such a proportional greater good can be found to justify a vote for him, without the benefit of soul-endangering intellectual contortions.
It would seem, then, that Catholics (and men of good faith everywhere) are absolutely enjoined on moral grounds for voting for either major-party candidate. Those who choose to exercise their right to vote should, therefore, either vote for a morally commendable third party candidate (if one can be found), write-in such a candidate of their own choosing, or else spoil their ballots. The same principles apply in general to all candidates down-ticket, as well.