Thomas "Tip" O'Neill, the longtime Speaker of the House in the U.S. Congress—once declared, "All politics is local." He was explaining how the problems and concerns of towns and cities around the country affect the actions of their representatives and senators in Washington, D.C.
This year Tip O’Neill’s quote is especially important as we face a number of local elections this Tuesday, November 5, one of the most important days in 2019! As citizens of the United States and as people of faith whose beliefs are based in Scripture and Catholic social teachings, we can and should influence the direction of our country by voting for leaders who support our beliefs and conscience. Our bishops have written numerous statements calling all of us to be politically responsible by knowing the issues and by voting for candidates who best reflect our beliefs as faith filled people. A complete set of the bishops’ statements are available at the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops are available on their website: www.usccb.org. Some issues that are part of our responsibility and that our local politicians have some say in are:
- Appropriations for critical social and human services
- Comprehensive immigration reform
- Environmental and energy policy that would reduce our consumption of oil
- Fracking for natural gas
- Ethics reform at all levels of government
- Economic development
- Access to mental health care of families and children
I realize there are other issues; this list is just to encourage you to be thinking about the issues that do affect our life on a local level. As you reflect on who to be prepared to vote for, here are some questions you may want to consider
- What are the positions of our local candidates on the Consistent Ethic of Life (abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia, ethical stem cell research, etc.)?
- What is the position of our local candidates on the Climate Crisis, using Pope Francis’ terminology?
- Are candidates’ positions on the issues reflective of the call of the Gospel?
Obviously, we will never find any one candidate that is in full agreement with the Church’s position on all issues, but we do have the responsibility, as politically responsible citizens, to know what our candidates are thinking.
We need to elect individuals who have a sense of the general welfare and the common good of all citizens. We need to elect people who know that we are all in this together, and our common interest is served when society works for all people. We need representatives who listen to the voices of the people and who are willing to place partisan and special interest politics secondary in their list of priorities.
In my limited space, it is impossible to give you an overview of every issue and what the Church’s position is on each issue. But I do encourage you to go to the website mentioned above which will give you the background on a number of issues and the position the Church holds as reflected in our Catholic social teachings, as well as Papal statements on particular issues.
I hope this gives you something to reflect on as you prepare to vote as a politically responsible Catholic on Election Day.
Have you or are you about to? You have already received my letter concerning this year’s Catholic Ministries Appeal [CMA] and viewed the video; now this week you should receive Bishop Matano’s letter. I hope that the materials you received concerning the CMA give you a clear understanding of why this annual Appeal is so important to our local Church. Please return you pledge card ASAP and if you did not receive materials in the mail, there are CMA pledge cards and brochures in the Gathering Area.
From the quote bag: Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.
Let us continue to pray for and take action to bring about peace in our world!
In peace and courage,