“Ask a Priest: What If My Spiritual Director Voted for a Pro-Abortion Candidate?”

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Q: My spiritual director is a religious sister. I am questioning whether I should remain under her direction. It seems clear from her statements that she has voted in favor of a pro-abortion candidate. My understanding is that to vote with an informed Catholic conscience would be to vote pro-life unless there is no pro-life candidate. She said she prayed about this decision and has prayed for the candidates. Do you think there is concern with her being my spiritual director and guiding me? – A.D.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: The Church doesn’t officially endorse any particular candidate, though it does teach that abortion is a paramount issue.

If your director voted for a candidate because the candidate is pro-abortion, that would be a kind of formal cooperation in evil. In that case it would be good to look for another director.

More likely, she probably voted for a pro-abortion candidate because of other issues, such as immigration or health care. Whether that is a good decision is precisely the kind of thing that can be debated.

At the end of the day Catholics need to discern the best course of action. We might disagree with them, but we have to let them make their own decision.

Now, in the case of your director, while she might be at peace with how she voted, it might not have been the most prudent thing for her to tip her hand about which candidate she voted for.

So, the deeper question seems to be whether you still have confidence in her to guide you.

Here you might step back and evaluate her guidance in the past. Has it helped you? Has it seemed orthodox? Has it helped you to form your conscience well?

If the answers are yes, then you might consider sticking with her, in part because it’s not easy to find good directors. And remember, it is very hard to find a “perfect” director.

Fortunately, directors need not be perfect, since the key protagonist in spiritual direction is really the Holy Spirit.

So, you might want to take some of this to prayer. If you have a regular confessor, you might share your concerns with him, too.

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