Pope Forbids Catholics from Voting for Hillary Clinton
Pope Francis Forbidding Catholics From Voting For Hillary Clinton
Hoax or Fact:
A story that became popular online came to claim that Pope has forbidden Catholics from voting for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for U.S Presidential elections in 2016. Some versions specifically mentioned Pope Francis declaring the same. No, the claims are not facts.
Origin of Story
On 20 October 2016 Tell Me Now website tmn.today published a misleading article with a politically incorrect title saying "Pope Benedict XVI Forbids Catholics From Voting for Hillary!" As the story became popular, the claim was attributed to current Pope Francis as well.
The article mentioned a 2004 'blistering' letter written by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (who became Pope Benedict XVI in 2005 and served through 2013), and said he was forbidding Catholics from voting for pro-abortion Hillary Clinton or anyone who espouses her ideas. The article even went on to say Hillary Clinton and her colleagues have even plotted to undermine (and destroy) the entire infrastructure of the Catholic Church, and that she is also supporting ISIS through Saudi Arabia.
The aforementioned letter on Tell Me Now website was actually a memorandum sent by Cardinal Ratzinger to Cardinal McCarrick that was made public in the first week of July 2004 - before Ratzinger became Pope in 2005. In the letter Cardinal Ratzinger explained his 'Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion' and General Principles; it was not meant to address Hillary Clinton. A para from the letter quoted in the article is given below:
2. The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is a grave sin. The Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, with reference to judicial decisions or civil laws that authorize or promote abortion or euthanasia, states that there is a "grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. [...] In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to 'take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law or vote for it’" (no. 73). Christians have a "grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God’s law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. [...] This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it" (no. 74).
Notably, the letter carried the below footnote:
[N.B. A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.]
Nowhere in the Cardinal Ratzinger's letter Hillary Clinton's name was mentioned, and contradicting the claim, the footnote mentions that a Catholic who does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia can consider voting for the person in the presence of proportionate reasons.
As the claim in question became popular, some thought it was the current Pope Francis who has forbidden Catholics from voting for Hillary Clinton, which again, is not the case. So no Pope declared that Catholics cannot vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential elections, the stories saying so are hoaxes.
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