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DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - A prince of the Church is clarifying the religious principle at stake in the upcoming U.S. election.
In an interview with EWTN on Sept. 10, Cdl. Gerhard Müller, the Vatican's former doctrine head, addressed a matter many U.S. bishops are skirting.
"Grace to God, America is a democratic and free country" and as such voters have a right to vote for their choice, Müller told interviewer Raymond Arroyo on The World Over. But, he added, Catholics must always vote for life.
"And it's better to vote for a good Protestant than for a bad Catholic," the cardinal stated, referring to what he says is the choice facing Catholic voters: pro-life President Trump or pro-abortion, Catholic-in-name-only Joe Biden.
"We must judge according to what they are doing and not only [according] to their words," he noted. "That is biblical criteria. Look to the fruits."
The German prelate urged the faithful to vote for a "good Protestant" over a "bad Catholic" after Arroyo questioned him about the newly formed leftist group "Catholics for Biden" and whether or not a Catholic could vote for a pro-abortion politician.
"Catholics for Biden" is a newly formed coalition of three-dozen pro-abortion, self-identified Catholics seeking to improve Biden's chances among the voting faithful. Members include Carolyn Woo, former president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services; Samantha Power, Obama-appointed former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; Virginia senator Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton's 2016 running mate; and longtime Democratic strategist Donna Brazile.
Müller explained that while voters have their choice, it must be based on an "informed conscience" and "criteria" derived from the Magisterium. "The doctrine of the Church is the moral doctrine and the social doctrine, and we have to look for candidates who are in favor of life. This is the basis," the cardinal told Arroyo.
Müller elaborated by saying that if you "deny the life of the people" then all other issues have no "reality."
The right to life is the "basis" for all other rights, he said, adding that God created everybody "according to his image and likeness."
"Therefore, life is the basis. All the other values have no basis [and] no reality — social justice and equality for everybody — if you deny the life of the people," Müller emphasized.
"Judging a person, only God can do. But we don't judge persons. We do judge about some attitudes and the thinking, and if you are Catholic you can only be pro-life, for life," Müller told Arroyo.
"To be Catholic — to be a Christian — is believing in God, the creator of everybody. You cannot say 'I am Catholic, I'm a Christian, I believe in God but I accepted the legislation which includes the possible killing of people in the mother's womb and outside the mother's womb.' That is absolutely clear."
Although Biden has made a big deal about being Catholic — "often literally wearing it on his sleeve," according to an AP News article or being described as "[t]he cradle Catholic who carries a Rosary wherever he goes," according to the Jesuit magazine America — the former doctrine head is not the only one pushing back on the image Biden and his handlers present.
A popular Catholic blogger, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf (Fr. Z), corroborates Biden's "bad Catholic" status.
"Catholics cannot promote abortion in any way." Fr. Z said. "To do so would make one a bad Catholic."
The blogger-priest further reasons:
To [promote abortion] ... as a highly visible public figure would also be proportionately grave scandal. Some people say that Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi are not Catholics. They are certainly Catholics, by their formal relationship with the Church. Leaving aside the invisible state of their particular souls ... we see their actions. We can make a pretty good argument that they are bad Catholics.
Austin Ruse, president of the Center for Family and Human Rights and author of The Catholic Case for Trump, told CNN recently that he believes it will be a close vote between Trump and Biden, but predicts the president will win the majority of votes of both practicing and non-practicing Catholics.
Ruse maintains Trump, the Protestant candidate, "has done more on the life issues than any president in our history. He more closely adheres to Catholic social teaching than Joe Biden."
Müller underscored that he applies "biblical criteria" and teachings of the Magisterium to political candidates in his native Germany as well as to those in the United States.
"I don't support a candidate in Germany because he is Catholic, but because he has the right understanding of life and the basics for human rights," he said in the interview.
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