In baseball, there are “unwritten rules.” They cover things like how you react after hitting a home run, what you do after your star player is hit by a pitch, and whether you can bunt in the late innings of a no-hitter. As the name suggests, these “rules” are vaguely defined; fans will debate what constitutes a violation of the unwritten rules. Yet any perceived infringement of the unwritten rules will result in wrathful denunciations from its passionate defenders.
The idea of Catholic Social Teaching is enveloped in a similar ethos. Even though the definition of Catholic Social Teaching can often be hazy, any deviation from the perceived orthodoxy will result in its defenders charging the mound to set the violator straight. This is particularly true during election cycles, and this year is no different. But what is Catholic Social Teaching, and how should a Catholic apply it to his voting decisions?