Thursday, October 28, 2021

What is the Unpardonable Sin?

By AlexanderRahm - Own work, CC BY 3.0
There are a few passages of scripture that I cannot fathom. That's OK, in most cases, as I don't feel that I am capable of understanding everything about God. But there are several in this category I would really like to understand, because they may be relevant to my salvation or that of others.

Matthew 12:31-32 is one such passage. It reads:

Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
I recently listened to an episode of "The Road to Emmaus" podcast with Scott Hahn where that was the topic of discussion. It left me with more questions than answers.

Here's what's conventionally said about the unpardonable sin. The context of the two verses above is that Jesus has cured a demoniac and the Pharisees claim Jesus has done so by beelzebul (the devil) rather than by God's power. Jesus rebukes them, then offers those two verses. The footnote in my Bible says "To attribute to the devil the works of the Holy Spirit seems to imply a hardness of heart that precludes repentance."

Somehow this is often equated to the sin of despair (denial that one's sins can be forgiven) or the sin of presumption (the belief that I do not need repentance for the forgiveness of my sins). I'm not sure I follow the leap from attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to the devil to believing that  my sins are forgiven (or not), but there it is.

1864 "Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven." There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit. Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss.
Aquinas describes three different interpretations of the blasphemy agains the Holy Spirit (see highlighted text below):

For the earlier doctors, viz. Athanasius (Super Matth. xii, 32), Hilary (Can. xii in Matth.), Ambrose (Super Luc. xii, 10), Jerome (Super Matth. xii), and Chrysostom (Hom. xli in Matth.), say that the sin against the Holy Ghost is literally to utter a blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, whether by Holy Spirit we understand the essential name applicable to the whole Trinity, each Person of which is a Spirit and is holy, or the personal name of one of the Persons of the Trinity, in which sense blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is distinct from the blasphemy against the Son of Man (Matthew 12:32), for Christ did certain things in respect of His human nature, by eating, drinking, and such like actions, while He did others in respect of His Godhead, by casting out devils, raising the dead, and the like: which things He did both by the power of His own Godhead and by the operation of the Holy Ghost, of Whom He was full, according to his human nature. Now the Jews began by speaking blasphemy against the Son of Man, when they said (Matthew 11:19) that He was "a glutton . . . a wine drinker," and a "friend of publicans": but afterwards they blasphemed against the Holy Ghost, when they ascribed to the prince of devils those works which Christ did by the power of His own Divine Nature and by the operation of the Holy Ghost.

Augustine, however (De Verb. Dom., Serm. lxxi), says that blasphemy or the sin against the Holy Ghost, is final impenitence when, namely, a man perseveres in mortal sin until death, and that it is not confined to utterance by word of mouth, but extends to words in thought and deed, not to one word only, but to many. Now this word, in this sense, is said to be uttered against the Holy Ghost, because it is contrary to the remission of sins, which is the work of the Holy Ghost, Who is the charity both of the Father and of the Son. Nor did Our Lord say this to the Jews, as though they had sinned against the Holy Ghost, since they were not yet guilty of final impenitence, but He warned them, lest by similar utterances they should come to sin against the Holy Ghost: and it is in this sense that we are to understand Mark 3:29-30, where after Our Lord had said: "But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost," etc. the Evangelist adds, "because they said: He hath an unclean spirit."

But others understand it differently, and say that the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, is a sin committed against that good which is appropriated to the Holy Ghost: because goodness is appropriated to the Holy Ghost, just a power is appropriated to the Father, and wisdom to the Son. Hence they say that when a man sins through weakness, it is a sin "against the Father"; that when he sins through ignorance, it is a sin "against the Son"; and that when he sins through certain malice, i.e. through the very choosing of evil, as explained above (I-II:78:1I-II:78:3), it is a sin "against the Holy Ghost."


But here's my basic problem with all the interpretations above. If you say that this sin is only unpardonable because it is not repented of, then it is no different from any other mortal sin, and yet we don't call every mortal sin unpardonable. Blasphemy agains the Holy Spirit then, is not unpardonable.

Want an example? The mission of the Apostles and the formation of the Church is a work of the Holy Spirit. St. Paul considers this an abomination against the Jewish faith - something of the devil, and so he persecutes the Christians. Yet Paul repents and his sin is (presumably - ha ha) pardoned.

Furthermore Jesus says that whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven. Well, isn't that what the Pharisees did? They said Jesus was in league with beelzebul, they didn't directly mention the Holy Spirit (nor did Paul for that matter).

For that matter it would seem that saying a word against the Son of man will be forgiven if the person repents, just like any other sin. And one could say that claiming Jesus is in league with the devil seems to imply a hardness of heart that precludes repentance of that. And indeed we see that many of the Pharisees (as far as we know) did not repent of their words against Jesus.

St. Augustine (one of my personal faves) has an interpretation that at least is consistent logically, but I don't see how it follows form the text. That is, final impenitence is not mentioned, and indeed if the sin is impenitence then it is not a "sin" per se, but impenitence of sin, that precludes forgiveness. The text seems to imply there is a sin which precludes later forgiveness, not a state you are in later that precludes forgiveness from any sin. I guess one could interpret the text as meaning "whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit until death" but that's not what the text says.

And so the whole thing remains a mystery to me. The common interpretation does not make sense to me because the same logic applies to every other mortal sin, including blasphemy against Jesus, which Jesus explicitly says is not this sin.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Don't. Stop Believing

Every mass, and indeed every time we pray the rosary we recite the Creed. The word comes from Credo, Latin for "I believe" since Catholics have no imagination and name prayers and documents after the first words (e.g. the "Our Father" or "Glory Be"). The text of the prayer is as follows:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; He descended into hell; on the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from there He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen
Here's my problem with that (you knew I'd complain about something). Immediately after praying this we go out into the world and make statements like "Trump is the best (or worst) president EVAH!" We say "masks don't (or do) work!" We say "Climate change is a hoax (or the most important problem of our day)!"

The thing is all of those statements are things we believe, but we don't say "I believe" these things, we state them as matters of fact, because we are so convinced of them that in our minds they surpass belief, and anyone who doesn't see this in the same light is clearly WRONG!

So why is our expression of beliefs on politics, or science, so strong compared to our belief in God? You could say that it's just the way people express themselves today, and that's a fair point, but as we speak so we think (or vice versa). In my reckoning, if our belief in God is absolute (and it should be, as God is evident from reason alone), why not express it that way?
God, the Father Almighty, is the Creator of heaven and earth, and Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; He descended into hell; on the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from there He will come to judge the living and the dead. The Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting are all true. Amen

Saturday, December 12, 2020

The False Prophet of the Apocalypse

Of late there has been a spate of Catholics online spreading stories that run along the following lines: Pope Francis is not really the Pope, he the the antichrist, or the beast, or the false prophet. This is backed up by a bunch of "prophecies." One prominent news source and several Catholic "influencers" have posted similar things, and in the groups I manage I have had to "break up" numerous fights between "Catholics." I'm not going to waste your time or give them any extra eyeballs by posting links but you are welcome to google the title of this post if you want to read one of them. After reading this, you may not want to, however. Here are my thoughts.

First off, what is prophecy?

To a Christian, prophecy is not predicting the future, but speaking God’s truth. What is God's truth? Look at the Biblical prophets. With a few rare exceptions, they say nothing about the future world of politics and future events (the only exception I can think of is in Isaiah where he says someone named Cyrus will restore Jerusalem). Instead, they speak of current events (even though those events may have echoes in the future) and the truth that God loves us, will never abandon us, and that we need to repent and turn from false idols. Jonah – Ninevah must repent or be destroyed. Isaiah – God will shepherd His people. Hosea – turn from idols and be faithful to God. Elijah – God is faithful to His chosen people.

On the other hand, to the modern world prophecy is predicting the future through preternatural means. This is a corruption of prophecy and demonic. The Bible and the catechism both expressly forbid as serious sin the desire to know future events through means that are not natural. That’s not to say God does not reveal knowledge of the future to certain people -. Zechariah, Mary and Joseph, for example. But that knowledge was given to them individually, not to the world. To try to predict the dates of the “Great Apostacy” the “Tribulation” and the second coming of Our Lord is sinful. It is not for us to know, as Jesus Himself says in Sacred Scripture.

Regarding all these current trendy Catholic prophecies about saviors and antichrists (usually applied to Trump and Pope Francis respectively), I can make the “savior” ones apply to Trump to Obama or Biden or Pope Francis. On the other hand I can make the antichrist ones apply to Trump, or Pope Francis, or Biden. Most of them can apply to any world figure. All you have to do is first decide that person "X" is the antichrist, then manipulate things until you find some connection to the number 666. For instance, if you take the integer values of the ASCII encoding of the characters "BERGOGLIO" and add them up they equal 666! "Proof" that the Pope is the antichrist! If that hadn't worked, I'm sure there is some combination of characters in some part of his name that will add up if you translate and encode them just right.. Starting with a conclusion and manipulating times, events, names, etc. until you find some connection to something somebody wrote is NOT the way to the truth.

So the methodology is suspect right off the bat. Now let’s consider the sources quoted:

  • Prophecies of St. Francis. This book claims to contain “unknown” writings of St. Francis of Assisi. It has an imprimatur from the bishop. Is this a good source? I don’t know but note that an imprimatur only means that the book does not contain statements that contradict Catholic dogma. It does not mean that the contents are true, or even that the church agrees with the book (see https://www.catholic.com/magazine/online-edition/imprimaturs-and-private-revelations for information on imprimaturs). Also, the book was published in 1882, and St. Francis died in 1181, 700 years earlier. Why is there no record of these writings for 700 years? But let us assume it is accurate – what does the book actually predict? I found it online (https://archive.org/stream/SeraphicFatherStFrancisOfAssisi?ref=ol#page/n265/mode/2up). The book notes that the prophecy was fulfilled in 1378 under Pope Urban VI. Does that mean it can’t also apply to today? It could, but 1378 was not the end of the world, so saying that this is THE great Tribulation and the Final end does not follow.
  • Our Lady of Garabandal – this apparition was determined not to be genuine by four successive bishops. Enthusiasts reject the bishop's authority and claim it will be recognized at a later date. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote of it "this Sacred Congregation wishes to assert: that the Holy See has never approved even indirectly the Garabandal movement, that it has never encouraged or blessed Garabandal promoters or centers. Rather the Holy See deplores the fact that certain persons and Institutions persist in formatting the movement in obvious contradiction with the dispositions of ecclesiastical authority and thus disseminate confusion among the people."
  • Our Lady of LaSalette is an approved apparition, BUT as noted above, the recognition of an apparition by the church does not mean it is accurate, only that the message does not contradict Catholic dogma. The apparition took place in 1846 and was approved in 1851. However, the prophecy states that the antichrist will be revealed in 1865. That did not happen. That should be proof that at least the prophecy of the antichrist is false. See https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/la-salette-sorting-fact-from-fiction for more information.
  • Pope St. Pius X’s prophecy about the next Pope with the same name – assuming this is even true – I can’t find the actual statement by the Pope, only later claims that he said this – is claimed to refer to Pope Benedict XVI. The prophecy speaks of a Pope with the same name who will suffer and flee to hiding, and then the last days of the world will come. Of course the next pope named Pius was Pius XI, who didn't fit the prophecy. Rather than accept that the prophecy was false, enthusiasts looked for ways to twist it to fit the "fact" that these are the last days. What they came up with is that Pope Benedict XVI's given name is Josef, which, when translated from German to Italian, is Giuseppe, which was the given name of Pope St. Pius X. However, if you want to go down that rabbit hole, there are better candidates: Pope Pius XII's given name was Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli – and he also was a pope Piusthat’s a better match for the prophecy than Pope Benedict… or the Pope after that, John XXIII was Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli… if you’re willing to twist things enough you can make the prophecy be about anyone you like.

So, the source material used is garbage.

Next, look at the “fruits” of the prophecies. The one thing that separates Catholics from all other Christians is the Pope. If you look at Martin Luther’s 95 theses, the church has basically adopted all of his reforms except one – that the Pope is not the seat of authority for the church. That is the Protestant heresy. So when I hear Catholics saying that Francis is not the “real” Pope what does that mean? The bishops acknowledge Francis as Pope, so these Catholics have separated themselves from the Magisterium. If they say “Benedict is Pope” – well, Benedict says Francis is Pope, so they are defying the authority of Pope Benedict as well. There is no scenario I see where this leads us to a closer relationship with Christ and His church. On the contrary it seems to me that such people should no longer be called Catholic, but they are now Protestant, since they do not accept the authority of any Pope.

So the fruit of this whole exercise is to cause divisions within the church and cause the faithful to leave the body of Christ. That's not to say that some people won't use these theories to give them resolve to repent, but these theories are not necessary for that, nor is that their goal. Instead they are sensational "click bait."

So my conclusion is that this is demonic because:

  • The "goal" of the prophecies (to predict the second coming of Christ) is sinful, and something Christ warns us against.
  • The methods used to come to the conclusion are deceitful and involve twisting the truth, they are not of God.
  • The sources of the prophecy are false, possibly of demonic origin.
  • The fruits of the prophecies are fear and division, putting our own "knowledge" above the teachings of the church.
Note, I do think Pope Francis is not being a very good Pope, and that we are living in the end times, but you don't need these prophecies to tell you that. Clearly we are in end times - we have been for 2000 years, but playing around with private revelations and false prophets is not something we should be doing.
 
One finally thought... a lot of the people pushing these theories see themselves as a "faithful remnant" because they are defying the "antichrist/beast." They point to things like the above, and that Pope Francis is bad and is "destroying" the church. But are they the faithful remnant for defying Pope Francis? Is it not them who are destroying the church? Remember in Israel, the son of Solomon, Rehoboam, was so bad that ten of the twelve tribes split off. Yet, the ones who stayed with the bad king were the faithful remnant, not the ones who defied him and set up their own temples.

I'm not suggesting we fall into line with the "new world order" and other ideas the Pope seems to embrace. But I am suggesting when we see things we don't like, we say "yes, he is wrong" and recognize him as Pope anyway. It is time we realize the Pope is not God, but a man.


 

Thursday, November 26, 2020

God intended it for good

This is probably the worst Thanksgiving my family has had. All the family but my youngest are in other states, and "quarantined." Even my youngest son's girlfriend is quarantined, and so our family celebration consists of three people and a telephone. And yet it may be the best Thanksgiving my family has had. A reminder to be thankful for the blessings that we have, and to hold God above all things in our lives. It has given me an opportunity to reflect more on grace and blessing, and on God's word.

And so here is my Thanksgiving reflection for this year. Recall the story of Joseph in the Bible, in Genesis 37-50. Joseph is sold into slavery by his own brothers, and is taken to a foreign land (Egypt). There he works his way to a position of importance, and eventually is able to save not only Egypt but the lands around, including his own people, from starvation when a famine occurs. The story ends with him being reunited with his brothers and forgiving them, saying (Gen 50:19-20):

“Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.” 

Of course, Joseph is a prefigurement of Christ, who "empties Himself, becoming a slave" and through His suffering, many are saved. But that happened 2,000 years ago.

Recall the story of the first Thanksgiving. The Puritans had arrived at Plymouth and nearly half of them had died that first year. They did not know how to handle the unique challenges of the new world. A different climate, soil, wildlife, plants all were different. The only thing that pulled them through was help from the natives, especially Squanto. Squanto was able to help them because he spoke perfect English and understood their needs and culture. How did this come about?

Many years before, Squanto was sold into slavery, and taken to a foreign land (Spain). There his freedom was purchased by Franciscans, who taught him the Catholic faith, into which he was Baptized. They later brought him to England, where he learned the language and customs, and where he worked his way to a position of importance, and eventually bought himself passage back to America. He then became the means by which the Puritan settlers were saved.

Just as in the story of Joseph, and others, Squanto's story shows how God brings good even out of evil, so that many may be saved. I have no doubt that in His wisdom and mercy, God is doing the same for us today.

Thank you, God, for all the blessings you have given me; for family, friends, my health, prosperity, liberty, and most importantly the ability to know You and love You. I do not see the good in all things, and I complain day to day, but I have hope in Your mercy and firm faith that you will use this, as You do all things, for good.

May God bless you all on this unusual and trying Thanksgiving day!

Friday, November 20, 2020

Disproportionately Affected

One thing I hear all the time from my Democratic friends is that a law is unjust because it disproportionately affects minorities. Crime laws are unjust because there is a disproportionately high number of minorities in prison. Drug laws are unjust because they disproportionately incarcerate minorities. And the old saw, voter ID laws are unjust because they disproportionately disenfranchise minorities. But is that true? Out of six studies performed from 2014 to 2018, three found no effect, one found an increase in minority voter participation, and one found a slight decrease. Guess which study gets all the publicity? Now, newer studies have debunked that, finding flaws in the methodology of the study that found a decrease.

I'd like to look at it from the other side, however. I believe voter fraud disproportionately disenfranchises minorities. I was listening to this podcast by Dan Crenshaw and, interestingly, one of the most common kinds of fraud is perpetrated by people who have houses in multiple states, who receive mail in ballots and vote in each state. Now I don't know about you, but I'm guessing you have to have money to own multiple houses, meaning the rich are disenfranchising the poor, and minorities. Another type of fraud is ballot harvesting, which again is likely ti disproportionately affect the poor and minorities, who live in more densely populated areas. Finally, there is the old gray train, going through minority-filled city neighborhoods and offering to "help" people with their votes, often with a promise of a meal or some money. Again, this is disenfranchising minorities.

Even if voter fraud were color blind, it would still disenfranchise minorities more than whites, because there are fewer of them. It's simple mathematics. Let's say there are 100 people voting, and 90 of them are white, 10 are black. It only takes 10% voter fraud by whites to completely eliminate the black vote, even if they all voted in one monolithic block. In a more realistic split, just 1% or 2% voter fraud will nullify any chance minorities have of influencing an election.

So it seems to me that is you really care about minority rights, the thing to do is enact laws to safeguard legal votes and eliminate voter fraud. Ignoring or encouraging fraud is just another racist policy of the racist Democrat party.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

If your world view is threatened...


...by a Supreme Court justice reading the Constitution as it is written, then you have not done government right. Here's why.

Let's say you want to make abortion legal everywhere. How do you do that? You get the senate and the house to vote on a bill, get it passed, get the president to sign it, and it becomes law. Likely that law will be challenged, and it will go to the supreme court. Let's say the court decides there is nothing in the Constitution to allow you to write such a law (hint, there isn't).

No problem, you simply write an amendment to the Constitution, get it passed by two thirds of the house and senate, and get three fourths of the states to ratify it. It then becomes the law of the land, and no amount of SCOTUS finagling should be able to knock it down. When the Republicans freed the slaves, gave them the right to vote, gave women the right to vote, etc. that's how they did it. And so you can't really have a Supreme Court justice decide to deny women the right to vote (for instance).

The Democratic party, and sadly, a lot of Americans, think that the role of the Supreme Court justices is to "vote" for what they want. Conservative justices will always vote for conservative things and liberal justices will vote for liberal things. We need to have a balance, or a majority of people who will "vote" the right way. But that's not what the Supreme Court is supposed to be about. They are supposed to see if the laws being enacted correspond to what's written in the Constitution.

Will that stop some liberal policies from being enacted? Yes. It will also stop some conservative policies from being enacted. That's life. You either live within the rule of law, or there is no law, only raw power to oppress your opponents. Don't like the Constitution? As noted, there is an amendment process. If you can't get the amendment you want passed, it's because the American people actually don't want what you want, and you have no legal or moral authority to do what you want.

If Democrats wanted abortion to be legal everywhere, they have had forty seven years to pass a law, and potentially an amendment. Instead, they relied entirely on perverting the judicial branch, and now they are crying because they are in the minority. And their solution is still not to go the legal route (pass laws and/or an amendment) but threaten to impeach existing justices they don't like, or pack the court with ones they do. Pathetic.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Seamless Garment Voting

My Catholic friends fall into one of two categories: Democrats and others. The Democrats are all voting Democrat because of something called "the seamless garment." The others are voting based on Catholic non-negotiables.

Without going into too much detail, the concept of non-negotiables is mentioned in Pope Benedict XVI's Sacramentum Cartatis. It basically says that there are some issues that are just wrong. You can't support them, even for the sake of doming some other good. These issues are the right to life, marriage and the family, and religious liberty.conscience rights. The idea is not that other issues aren't important, but that these issues are so fundamental to every moral good that support for them is abhorrent to morality.

The seamless garment theory was created by Cardinal Bernardin in 1984, and says that everything is connected, as are the threads in a single piece of cloth. This is, of course, true, and the idea of the seamless garment was to ground other issues, such as concern for the poor, peace, human rights, into a right relationship, all based on the fundamental rights mentioned above (aka non-negotiables). The problem is that it has been inverted by some Catholics to claim that  all issues are morally equivalent because they are interrelated. This gives some Christians the notion that issues like immigration or the death penalty, for instance, are as important as abortion or euthanasia.

Of course, that is not what the seamless garment is about, but I thought it would be interesting to look at voting issues in terms of both the correct seamless garment theory and the distorted popular misconception of the seamless garment theory. Where do the parties stand? Is there a reason to vote Democrat under the seamless garment misconception?

Abortion

The Democratic party and the Biden/Harris ticket are not only in favor of legalized abortion, they want to support and increase it, both in number of abortions and in type of abortions. Making Roe v. Wade law, using tax payer funding to pay for abortions, making abortion part of foreign aid and coercing foreign countries to relax their own abortion restrictions will all increase the numbers of abortions. They have also called for eliminating all restrictions on late term abortions, allowing abortions for any reason and at any stage in pregnancy, even up to (and possibly after) birth and denying health care to already born babies who are not "wanted." No matter which criteria you use, this is a reason not to vote Democrat.

Transgender

Pope Francis, when asked what the preeminent issues for voting were, replied that abortion was preeminent, but it wasn't the only serious issue - he mentioned "transgender" as another extremely important issue. The Democrats and Biden/Harris have called for expansion of transgender "rights" by saying that transgender people must be allowed to choose to compete in any gender's sports leagues, shower and change in and gender's rooms, and force individuals and businesses to recognize the gender they choose. Biden has called for children as young as eight to choose their own gender without anybody being able to deny them. No matter which criteria you use, this is a reason not to vote Democrat.

Religious Liberty/Conscience Rights

Democrats have called for an end to religious "exceptions" and a repeal of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Biden has said he plans to prosecute the Little Sisters of the Poor over their refusal to pay for abortifacients. No matter which criteria you use, this is a reason not to vote Democrat.

Other non-negotiables

To keep this short, let's just say that on fetal tissue research, same sex marriage, school choice, parental rights, etc., no matter which criteria you use, these are all reasons not to vote Democrat.

Racism

The Democratic party is the party of racism. From the KKK to segregation, the Democratic party has opposed every piece of civil rights legislation. Harris aggressively prosecuted minorities, and even withheld information that might have freed inmates. Harris' family owned slaves. Biden authored a crime bill which gave lengthy prison sentences to minorities who committed minor offenses. Biden has made numerous disparaging comments about blacks. Many of the parties policies are racist, or support racist organizations, like Planned Parenthood, which was created to reduce the population of minorities, and still does through aggressive advertising aimed at them, and by placing abortuaries mainly in minority populated areas. No matter which criteria you use, this is a reason not to vote Democrat.

Immigration

The Democratic party favors open borders and non-enforcement of immigration laws in the US. This policy has been disastrous for immigrants,  exposing them to criminals and sacrificing their safety. A recent study showed that 80% of all women who entered the US illegally were sexually assaulted in the process. In addition, human trafficking (aka slave trading), drug trafficking, and weapons trafficking are all enabled by the Democrats' policies. It was Democrats who "invented" separating children from parents and keeping them in cages at the border. No matter which criteria you use, this is a reason not to vote Democrat.

Climate

The Democratic party favors shutting down the US fossil fuel industry. This ensures that all the fossil fuels used will be environmentally dirty, and extracted without benefit of US environmental protections. In addition, they want to mandate solar and wind power. Both of these technologies are destructive of the environment, and not sustainable. Because they are intermittent, they do not reduce the need to have fossil fue powered backup plants. Because they are diffuse, the amount of land that would need to be stripped to supply the energy needs of the US is four times the total land area of the US. The energy used to make a solar panel is close to the total amount of energy it will produce, and the materials used are toxic, and will eventually seep into ground water. No matter which criteria you use, this is a reason not to vote Democrat.

War

Despite lip service to peace, Democrats have not followed through. The Obama administration (of which Biden was a part) made unprecedented use of drone strikes, killing 3,500 people, including American citizens, without due process of law, or a congressional declaration of war. He ramped up military activity and broke agreements with our allies. Billions in cash were clandestinely delivered to enemies of the US. On the flip side, President Trump has been nominated four times for the Nobel Peace Prize for brokering peace in the Middle east, in Europe and Africa. The war in Afghanistan is finally coming to an end under President Trump. No matter which criteria you use, this is a reason not to vote Democrat.

Law and Order

As a senator Biden pushed for a crime bill that directly led to the unconstitutional "stop and frisk" policy, and directly led to the current crisis of minorities in prison. He is (finally) under investigation for his "quid pro quo" deals with Ukrainian officials to get his son a job, and to interfere in criminal investigations into his dealings. Biden and Harris have refused to condemn burning and looting in our cities (in fact, Harris said that the looting "should continue"). There was the weaponization of the IRS under the Obama administration, the weaponization now of the media and social media, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, etc. Harris refused to look into credible evidence of trafficking in human organs by Planned Parenthood, and instead colluded with them, took money from them, and prosecuted the journalist who uncovered their crimes. She withheld evidence that could have cleared two black men on death row. No matter which criteria you use, this is a reason not to vote Democrat.

Civility

One reason I have heard is that the Democrats are "civil" unlike President Trump. So let's look at how civil they are. Consider the Kavanaugh hearings, the Clarence Thomas hearings, etc. - they even invented a word "borking" for what the Democrats did to Supreme Court nominee Bork. They repeatedly called the president names, called him racist, despite a lack of evidence. In the first debate, Biden interrupted the president many times, calling him a "clown" and other names. Half of Americans have been called "deplorable" and "racist"...  I could go on, but I think it is clear that no matter which criteria you use, this is a reason not to vote Democrat.

Health Care

The Democrats favor a return to Obamacare. The problem is that Obamacare doesn't solve any problems, but rather, institutionalizes them in government bureaucracy. In other words, instead of making drugs cheaper to manufacture, or regulating drug profits, it merely forces everyone to share the cost. From a Catholic perspective this goes against the principle of subsidiarity, that problems are best solved locally, not in a one-size-fits-all approach. It also doesn't make sense from a purely secular perspective. Lastly, it is not economically feasible. Obamacare worked for a few years because parts of it had their costs deferred to future years. In the next few years, as those costs kick in, premiums will become even more astronomical. The problems that it claims to solve - uninsured people, preexisting conditions - were either not actual problems, or have already been solved in other (better) ways. Jesus calls us to care for the sick. He does not call on us to take money from our neighbors to pay for it. No matter which criteria you use, this is a reason not to vote Democrat.

Voter Suppression

The Democratic party is the party of voter suppression, with a history that goes all the way back to Jim Crow laws, poll tests, etc. Today Democrats claim that voter ID laws are voter suppression, based on the racist theory that minorities aren't capable of getting government ID, yet they don't consider it suppression to require government ID to driver, receive government benefits, health care, etc. What they are pushing is lax election laws that encourage fraud. Voter fraud is voter suppression, since every "extra" vote cast nullifies the vote of a real voter who voted the other way. Given that minorities are minorities their votes are more easily nullified by voter fraud, so actually voter ID laws would help ensure minorities votes counted. No matter which criteria you use, this is a reason not to vote Democrat.

Death Penalty

Yes, the party platform states that Democrats oppose the death penalty, which takes the lives of about 20 convicted criminals per year in the US. Republicans are split on this issue.

Conclusion

In short, there is no issue, other than perhaps the death penalty, where the Democratic party does not directly go against Catholic teaching or the good of society. Even if you say all these issues are equivalent in moral value, the death of 20 people does not add up to the rest of the issues. Abortion alone kills 75 million human beings every year.