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Australian theologian says don't judge pro-abortion politicians

It is generally very difficult for theologians to impute sinful behaviour to politicians based on their position on abortion, and even more difficult when it comes to voters, according to Rome-based Redeptorist moral theologian Fr Brian Johnstone.

Referring to current debate in the US over politics and abortion, Fr Johnstone, said church authorities should be careful not to prejudge the consciences of whole categories of people.

The circumstances of the abortion-politics issue are often so complex that ultimately it's the individual Catholic who must weigh all the factors and "take personal responsibility for his own seeking the truth," Fr Johnstone told the Catholic News Service.

Fr Johnstone, who teaches at Rome's Alphonsianum University, referred to the founder of the Redemptorist order, St. Alphonsus Liguori, who in the 18th century refined the theological concepts of "formal cooperation" and "material cooperation" in evil. He says the application of these terms to politicians and voters - at the core of the current controversy - is unusual in classical theology and was not envisioned by St. Alphonsus.

Theologian says difficult to judge politicians sinful over abortion (Catholic News Service 24/9/04)

John L. Allen: Honors for pro-choice politician (National Catholic Reporter 24/9/04)
Spanish bishops vow to continue speaking out in order to "awaken" Catholic consciences (Catholic News Agency 24/9/04)
Poland's ruling party takes on Church (The Tablet 24/9/04)
Moral Theologian Comments on U.S. Catholic Hospitals Inducing Disabled Babies to Die Early (LifeSite 24/9/04)
Splitting faith, politics doesn't apply to abortion, says archbishop (Catholic News Service 23/9/04)
Spanish Government to cut Catholic privileges (The Age/London Telegraph 27/9/04)

27 Sep 2004