Sunday, October 23, 2016
Oct 20, 2016
I will continue to encourage you to be prepared for the first Tuesday in November until I am blue in the face. I know it is not easy this year, but we have to be prepared to vote our conscience. As you know November 8th is Election Day when we are called upon to exercise our civic duty and Catholic responsibility to participate in the election. It’s important that we inform ourselves accurately about what our Church teaches and requests us to act upon when we cast our vote.
The US Bishops approved a document, “Faithful Citizenship”, which is the latest in a series of voter guides issued for national elections. This guide, itself a product of compromise, is notable for its moral clarity and understanding the demands of a political system where compromise is essential. “Faithful Citizenship” recognizes the difficulty of applying moral absolutes to civic life. “Sometimes morally flawed laws already exist,” the document states “in this situation, the process of framing legislation to protect life is subject to prudential judgment and ‘the art of the possible.’ At times this process may restore justice only partially or gradually”.
That reasoning stems from Pope John Paul II, who wrote in the encyclical Evangelium Vitae, that when a government official who fully opposes abortion cannot succeed in completely overturning a pro-abortion law, he or she may work to approve protection for unborn life, “limiting the harm done by such a law” and lessening its negative impact as much as possible. Such language is meant to protect the political process from the paralyzing effects of extremists.
As we all know our democracy is a great blessing, but with this freedom comes the reality that we are seldom able to live or vote as purists. There are simply too many competing values at play. This year neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump support many of the positions of our Church, but that is nothing new. We could take the most extreme view that Catholics could never vote for someone who hold positions other than ours would require Catholics to refrain from voting for either major party; obviously that is not going to happen.
Once again, I encourage you to inform yourself about the full platform of each candidate and how we as Catholics should respond for the best possible option. To learn more about or get copies of “Faithful Citizenship”, go to www.faithfulcitizenship.org. As part of your prayerful preparation you may want to consider another USCCB website which offers a novena for life, justice, and peace called Novena for Faithful Citizenship, which is at: http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/prayers/novena-for-faithful-citizenship.cfm.
My prayer for all of us is that we take time in the days ahead to prepare to make an informed, good-conscience decision and support the candidate who in your opinion will best lead our country.
Yet another bulletin typo: “The sermon this morning: 'Jesus Walks on the Water.' The sermon tonight: 'Searching for Jesus.'
Let us continue to pray for peace in our world!
In peace and courage,