So I just sent in my absentee ballot.

Here's what one of the US Bishops has to say on the subject (courtesy CNS):

"Catholics, like all other citizens, are bound by duty and responsibility to cast their vote," said Bishop Richard J. Malone of Portland, Maine, in a recent letter. "Voting is a right and responsibility we cannot forgo, even when confronted with moral dilemmas."

"The power of a single vote can be enormous," he said, "and no vote should ever be cast without regard for its consequence and implications."

It wasn't easy, especially with the Proposals. Some states have it rough, like Missouri:

Archbishop Raymond L. Burke of St. Louis said Missouri is facing "an unimaginably severe moral crisis" as it prepares to vote on an initiative that could make embryonic stem-cell research and human cloning a constitutional right.

"The passage of Amendment 2 would be a moral disaster for our state" and the nation, Archbishop Burke wrote in a column for his archdiocesan newspaper, the St. Louis Review. "If Amendment 2 succeeds in the state of Missouri, which has the reputation of being pro-life, then the proponents of human cloning and the destruction of embryonic human life will surely be emboldened to undertake the same deadly initiative in other states of our union."

I encourage everyone to read Faithful Citizenship, if you haven't already. Here are some choice selections from that document:

...the task of every public authority is "to safe guard the inviolable rights of the human person," beginning with the right to life itself. Peace begins with justice. And justice is grounded in the sanctity of each and every human life...

...No matter how enlightened a nation's economic and social policies may seem, unless the right to life is respected at every stage of human development, the structures of community life are built on sand...

...Citizens create the future not by being silent, but by advancing their beliefs vigorously by every ethical and legal means at their disposal. In fact, the more we involve our convictions in the public square, the more we serve the community by building a dialogue of truth. And truth is the inner structure of freedom.

If we want to remain a free people, we must begin by rededicating ourselves to the sanctity of every human life and holding our elected representatives to the same standard.
I also enjoyed Crisis magazine's tips on How to Vote Catholic:

Those who treat [procured] abortion as just one of many issues are misleading Catholic voters. Abortion is unique among policy issues because it is not a matter of prudential judgment . From a Catholic perspective, politicians are not making an application of a principle to a specific situation: All instances of abortion are morally wrong.
The article goes on to conclude, as I so often have, that procured abortion is one of the gravest instances of social injustice currently enforced by law. It is the human rights violation, bar none.

The demands of social justice begin with the right to life and end with the right to be protected from euthanasia or the temptation of assisted suicide. It's a mistake to detach the idea of social justice from the protection of vulnerable life: The moral obligation to protect the unborn and to feed the hungry springs from the same source—the inherent dignity of the human person ( CCC 1929).

The Church's pronouncements on abortion as an evil are spoken with the highest level of authority—there is not the least hint that either a Catholic voter or a Catholic candidate can ignore them. The reason that abortion is the dominant issue in determining how to vote is twofold:

First, the protection of life—the right to life—is a moral principle that sits at the foundation of morality itself. This right is “inalienable,” meaning that it cannot be removed, even by the choice of the mother or father.

Second, the Catholic injunction to oppose abortion is unqualified: Individuals are not required, or allowed, to make prudential judgments of the principle to a specific case. Appeals to private “conscience” cannot override this infallible teaching.

So get out and vote. We have a moral imperative to safeguard the most basic human rights of our fellow citizens by electing those officials who work "to protect the family, to help the poor, to welcome the immigrant, to improve public education, employment, housing and health," and who work "to protect the right to life from conception to natural death".

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