A Catholic's Trump quandary

A Christianity Today editorial calling for the removal of President Donald Trump  out of “loyalty to the creator of the Ten Commandments,” has blown a storm through the ranks of evangelicals who have supported him, and still do.

It amounts to a crisis of conscience for some believers because as much as Trump’s behavior appears to be sinful, they cherish his pro-life judicial appointments and other conservative actions he has taken.

But evangelicals aren’t the only faithful who are mired in this quandary. Many Catholics, of which I am one, are likewise troubled by a man of low (or absent) morals who, when it comes to abortion, is doing the Lord’s work. It grieves many of us that–to use his words–“a bad person” is carrying our banner.

Put succinctly: Does the end justify the means?

I didn’t vote for him, nor did I vote for either Clinton–whose

Sorry, Mr. Trump. That's not you in the painting.

Sorry, Mr. Trump. That’s not you in the painting.

morals (honesty, corruption and more) are not exactly simon pure.  But, as a conservative, I’m stuck with Trump. For now, anyway.

One might argue that conservatives had to vote for Trump because he was “the lesser of two evils.” That’s not comforting because that means he’s still evil. Just as my 16 years of Catholic education informs me.

Take his “uncharitable” slurs and smears. I  turn to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, where I find this listed under item 2479:

Detraction and calumny destroy the reputation and honor of one’s neighbor. Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity.

That’s going too easy on Trump in my opinion. It’s just one of the vile, unChristian behaviors he stoops to repeatedly. So as a Catholic, should I tolerate this because the end justifies the means? I turn once again to the Catechism, item #1753:

A good intention (for example, that of helping one’s neighbor) does not make behavior that is intrinsically disordered, such as lying and calumny, good or just. The end does not justify the means. Thus the condemnation of an innocent person cannot be justified as a legitimate means of saving the nation. On the other hand, an added bad intention (such as vainglory) makes an act evil that, in and of itself, can be good (such as almsgiving)

Seems this might have been written with Trump in mind.

So, here’s my dilemma: I wouldn’t mind seeing him thrown out of office by the Senate (assuming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ever sends the articles of impeachment over). That would mean that Vice President Mike Pence would become president. That would be a decent man carrying out many of the same conservative policies as Trump, but without the sickening tweets, personal attacks, lies and exaggerations.

But could Pence beat former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election? (I exclude any of the hard-left characters running for the Democratic nomination as not having a chance against Pence or Trump.)

I honestly don’t know. But if Pence were the Republican nominee, I could at least vote with a clear conscience.



My historical novel: Madness: The War of 1812

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  • I'm a Catholic too. A progressive liberal one. But your dilemma is not about political views or positions. It's about a corrupt and immoral man who was elected to lead our nation but has violated not only every norm of governance, but the Constitution itself. In the present instance, he has, in accordance with our Constitution, been legitimately impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors. For this this alone, not to mention the long pattern of official misconduct and the innumerable personal attacks against fundamental decency, no citizen of good will should vote for him.

    Furthermore, Trump's deep-seated immorality is totally incompatible with the teachings not only of my faith, but of all good men and women whether of faith or not whose lives are guided by the Golden Rule.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Catholic teachings on social justice are quite clear, but I'm not sure they have anything to say about impeachments.

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