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During a press conference on his return flight from Azerbaijan, Pope Francis gave some solid advice on how to vote in an election where both candidates hold positions contrary to church teaching: “Study the proposals well, pray and choose in conscience.”

The Pope made his remarks in a response from a question from John Sullivan of the New York Times Magazine asking “How would you counsel the faithful in America and what wisdom would you have them keep in mind next month when the election occurs?”

“When it happens that in whatever country there are 2, 3, 4 candidates that no one likes, that means that the political life of the nation perhaps is too politicized.” said the Pope.

Pope Francis was very clear that he was not telling people whom to vote for in any particular campaign saying “In electoral campaigns, I never say a word. The people are sovereign.”

Full Transcript of the questions and reply via CNA:

John Jeremiah Sullivan, New York Times Magazine: Holy Father, as you know the United States is nearing the end of a long presidential campaign that has been very ugly and has received much attention in the world. Many American Catholics and people of conscience are struggling with how to choose between two candidates, one of whom diverts from some aspects of the Church’s teaching and the other of whom has made statements vilifying immigrants and religious minorities. How would you counsel the faithful in America and what wisdom would you have them keep in mind next month when the election occurs?

Pope Francis: You pose me a question where you describe a difficult choice, because, according to you, you have difficulty in one and you have difficulty in the other. In electoral campaigns, I never say a word. The people are sovereign. I’ll just say a word: Study the proposals well, pray and choose in conscience. Then, I’ll leave the issue and I speak of a fiction, because I don’t want to speak to this concrete issue. When it happens that in whatever country there are 2, 3, 4 candidates that no one likes, that means that the political life of the nation perhaps is too politicized but perhaps it doesn’t have that much politics. And,one of the jobs of the church, also in the teaching in the (university) faculties, is teaching to have political culture. There are nations, and I’m thinking of Latin America, which are too politicized. But, they don’t have political culture. They are from this party, or this one or this one. Effectively, (they are) without a clear thought on the foundations, the proposals.

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44 COMMENTS

  1. I was hoping he would tell us it was important not to vote for someone that was Pro Choice. On the site Catholic online they say it would db be a sin. I dont believe in abortion but God gave everyone Free Will so is our fault when they have a abortion. They passed that law which I don’t agree with so why would I be responsible for someone elses sin? Iam so confused but I do realize that one candidate would cause so much hate and chaos…

    • Even many pro choice people who support Roe vs Wade (which originally limited abortion to the first trimester), are vehemently opposed to late term abortions and killing babies who are aborted but are born alive and breathing! NO ONE can support that, nor should we. We can argue until the cows come home about just when life begins, but NO ONE can support these late term abortions of viable babies!

    • I don’t think, in good conscience, a Catholic can vote for anyone who will promote abortion, like Hillary has stated that she plans to do! She says that a child in the womb “has no constitutional rights”! She even approves Partial Birth Abortion (which kills the baby when he/she is partially delivered! She plans to continue funding Planned Parenthood, which kills over 300,000 babies a year!

  2. Look to St Mother Teresa. She would vote for the ONLY pro-life candidate. The president who would install pro-abortion justices in the US Supreme Court is the one we must oppose. The person who would fund Planned Parenthood, which sells baby parts, is the one we must oppose.

    • I agree Priscilla. I guess Hillary is pro-choice and stands strong on Planned Parenthood. Trump wants to get rid of planned parenthood which I agree with. It is a facade to women who think it is for physicals, mammograms, etc. That is just a facade. The real purpose of Planned Parenthood is for abortions and selling baby parts. Long term abortions also. Babies who are born almost 9 months and they kill them anyway. What ever happen to adoptions??

      • I’m sorry but that is absurd. Planned parenthood really does take care of all aspects of women’s health. I should know. As a ypong girl unable to afford health care they took care of routine exams and tests. The baby parts story was PROVED false and intentionally edited to make it appear otherwise. Republican President Nixon started and encouraged funding for planned parenthood as did George W. while governor. Trump has been pro-choice and like many, amend what they say for votes only. Please take time to find the facts and not right wing propaganda.

      • Some of what you say is not true. I am against abortion but every woman has her own reasons and choice. I can not impose my religious belief on some one else. I can advise and pray for them to make the right decision but I should not force my beliefs on anyone.

        • Would you support giving people the right to “choose without consequence” to kill any other people group than babies? Should Americans vote to allow her citizens to have a choice to murder anyone they choose to….whites, blacks, Christians, Jews, Muslims, straights, gays, men, women, people over 60, people under 12 months? I don’t think so; but, with your logic, we have no right to tell them they can’t kill anyone! And forget the garbage about it being “their body”….a baby is not a “body part”!

      • You haven’t done your research! Planned Oarenthood is a valuable resource for women! Why does Trump insist that women’s rights should be stripped? One reason is that to him, women are just play things for his amusement. We cannot go back to the dark ages where women did not have a voice. I do not think I have a right to tell any woman what she can or can’t do with her body. I do, however think that it is cruel to wait late in the pregnancy to decide to abort. Planned Parenthood helps by counseling on giving the baby up for adoption and also on contraceptive services. Women have come a long way, we cannot lose rights over our own bodies because that will lead us down the path of stripping us of our most fundamental rights. Is the man ever judged in an unwanted pregnancy? Usually not… it’s still primarily a man’s world and the Trump/Pence ticket is determined to keep it that way! Vote Blue in November!!

  3. Just remember that prolife also means against the death penalty. Abortion is not the only topic included in prolife. So, we must also oppose the one pro death penalty.

    • No.it does not. No one can change church canon law on the death penalty. . Obviously not even Francis. Can Ever do this no matter what he says ………. Abortions , Contraception and Euthanasiaa etc ,ttaxpayer and health care, funded abortions, Homosexual and transgender madness is strictly prohibited by morals and faith. Executing murderers convicted in a Court of law for heinous crimes and deporting illegal aliens Is Not nor has EVER been prohibited by the Catholic faith. This Is Regardless what Francis or some liberal like Kaine of Va.say Period! No comparison between killing millions of babies , sick disabled and infirm vs killing of criminals and terrorists etc. .

    • Compare, sadly, the number of deaths by death of criminals through the death penalty vs the number of deaths of the innocent through abortions. It is 1:1,000.

      • You must also take to pray regarding who will do the least amount of harm not just for the here and now (or even over the course of a year) but also the long term lives that only God knows about right now. The long term lives that WILL be affected by the decisions of our Supreme Court Justices. The very unfortunate (and call it unfair if you want) reality is that not voting Hillary may not be enough….a vote that Trump does not get is one less vote that Hillary must have to win. Pray.

  4. If I am a bad Catholic for voting against Donald Trump, what are the Catholics who voted for Donald Trump in the primaries, prefering such a morally dubious candidate over pro-life stalwarts such as John Kasich and Marco Rubio? I think the Republican party who nominated Trump deserves full responsibility for a pro-choice victory in November. Let’s overhaul the Republican party and re-educate those who were so attracted to Trump’s racism and sexism. We need pro-life candidates who aren’t morally repugnant.

  5. As a Mass going, faithful Catholic, I cannot in good conscience vote for either Trump or Hillary. I’m done voting for the lesser of two evils, I’m voting for Evan McMullin. You can vote for him in 34 states with about 10 more coming soon. Check him out and see if he doesn’t fit your beliefs better.

  6. Not only is Hillary pro-abortion but the scandals she has been involved in are too many to name. I’m not telling you to vote for Trump but Hillary will fund abortions (so you’re supporting our tax dollars being used for abortions!) for the rest of our lifetime with the judges she picks and pro gay marriage. They are already sueing people for not make cakes for gay weddings or providing gay venues. What happens when a priest is asked to preform a lgbt wedding? I’m sure Hillary will veto any laws protecting our clergy. I think what Pope Frances is saying is — USE YOUR HEAD! If someone is pro-EVERYTHING! Your church stands against, if the party that candidate is affiliated is being sued by your church for being forced to provide contraception to people, if that candidate has been given the Margaret Sanger award!!!!!! For being one of the strongest abortion advocates!! you should probably not vote for her!

  7. Pro-life is Pro-life from conception until natural death. It includes respecting the dignity of every living person as well – the poor, the marginalized, children fleeing war and famine. I can’t vote for Either Hillary or Trump, I will be voting down the ticket and perhaps researching some indpendepend tickets, and getting involved in grass roots GOP politics to reclaim the Republican party from the folks who nominated Donald Trump. I voted for Kasich in the primary.

  8. Hillary supports abortion right up until birth. She opposed the ban on partial birth abortion. She supports Planned Parenthood, who makes millions of dollars performing abortion. They even sell baby body parts. Father Frank Pavone, the National Director of Priests For Life has made it clear that a vote for Hillary is a vote for dead babies. Hillary wants to use US tax dollars to pay for abortions. Don’t let anyone fool you. Hillary is evil. Please visit priestsforlife.org for the truth.

  9. As a woman and a mother there is no way I could vote for vote for a vile man who would think nothing of groping me or “grabbing me by the pussy”. The lord would never condone such a person who would thrust himself on a woman like that. The lord might forgive us the sin of supporting such an individual but we should know better than to sin in such a way. If we were to have a president like that then what would we say to our friends and daughters who may at some point in their lives be victims of such behavior? If men are empowered to behave this way because the president does, I fear the type of society will will become.

    As we try to do do unto others as ewe would like them to do unto us, we cannot have a president who creates a fake university to instill hope in the most vulnerable while scamming them out of the little money they do have and encouraging them to go into debt for a worthless university class.

    As Catholics we are taught to love one another and offer the kindness in our hearts to all though their skin color, religion or beliefs may be different from ours. For a president to vilify huge segments of the world population by banning them or labeling them as murderers, rapists, terrorists or other unjust labels is sinful. While some people in these groups may in fact be accurately described by these words, so will be the case of some of those among us in the Catholic Faith.

    We must be kind to each other and accept, respect and seek to understand the differences among everyone in our country. We must all vote for the candidate who best represents these ideals and seeks to accept and support all members of society reguardless of skin color, nationality or economic means.

  10. If you are truly pro life you must look at all aspects of the candidates, not just abortion. How do the candidates intend to improve the lives of Americans AFTER they’re born? Do they unite all people, and are not exclusionary? Do they have plans for the poor? Do they treat everyone with respect? The heart of Catholicism is social justice for the poor, the disenfranchised, education for children of all races. The prolife movement is ONE issue. Hillary is clearly more prolife because she has plans to support, empower and educate the children that we do have, while increasing access to healthcare and birth control so that abortion is rare. The goal is fewer abortions, which is achieved through education, trust and birth control. we must not punish women. Francis knows this.

  11. Btw Hillary is NOT for late term abortion. Fact. Trump has no soul.He has proven over and over that he he does not care about the people of this country and around the world who need a helping hand. He treats no one fairly and with kindness except in his own interest. What’s amazing to me is we have a woman who has done good deeds. She does have a love and kindness in her heart. She rises every morning and does the work that needs to be done to help others. She’s been doing it since she was a teenager. What is Trump and doing except promoting himself and getting a bunch of gold glitter, and leaving others in ruin personal gain.? She’s made some mistakes along the way. Most of her mistakes are because she’s been in the limelight and been criticized for everything she’s done for way too long. I also think the church needs to look within The church at their own sins. Many good men in the church covered up horrific and discretions to protect themselves. Respectfull, a recovering Catholic.

  12. Read many comments, I’m somewhat confused at what the Church teaches about this issue. Seems there is so much “me” in some of the replies.
    Here is my take, I will not vote for anyone who wants (me) to fund late-term abortions. If YOU can allow the killing of innocent babies then you have made your decision. As for me, I cannot support it; my conscience is clear on this.

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