Dear Parishioners: Over the last few weeks I’ve been asked time and time again: “Who are you voting for?” I would never directly answer such a personal and private question. But the truth be told I don’t make such an important decision about who is to lead our nation, our state, or represent us in Congress, the State House or even Town Hall without a lot of prayer and reflection.
I’ve also heard from many people recently that they intend not to vote at all in November. This is a very sad commentary on the state of politics in our nation and the tenor and tone of campaigns in 2016. Pope Francis has said: "We need to participate for the common good. Sometimes we hear: a good Catholic is not interested in politics. This is not true: good Catholics immerse themselves in politics by offering the best of themselves so that the leader can govern."
The Church teaches us that we must vote. In fact, the Catechism of the Catholic Church instructs: “It is the duty of citizens to contribute along with the civil authorities to the good of society.” It goes on to teach that: “Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one’s country.”
In their statement on Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, the U.S. Catholic bishops remind Catholics about the call to participate in political life. "In the Catholic tradition," they write, "responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation." Yes, we have a moral obligation as faithful Catholics to vote in elections. We are called to bring our Catholic principles to our political choices and our Catholic values to our votes.
As we pray and reflect on our upcoming vote, let us be mindful that that we are called to engage in charitable, respectful and civil dialogue during election season. In a culture that is dominated by "partisan attacks, sound bites and media hype," the Church calls for "a different kind of political engagement." One that is civil and charitable and not mean spirited or nasty as our current politics seems to be.
Over the next few weekends before Election Day on November 8th, there will be bulletin inserts on “Faithful Citizenship.” These are meant to be a guide for you as you pray and reflect about your vote. I hope it also provides some insight as to what it means to vote with a Catholic conscience.
The Church does not tell you who to vote for and never will. However, the Church asks that you form a good Catholic conscience and make an informed decision about your vote based on Catholic values like the common good, the sanctity of life and marriage, the option for the poor, the virtues of justice and peace.
Vote with a conscience that is formed by your faith not as a political partisan or solely out of self-interest. But please do vote! President Roosevelt said it best when he said: “Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”
We welcome Bishop Matano from Rochester, NY to OLM this weekend. He is confirming 88 of our young adults on Sunday 5:00PM. Please pray for these young men and women as they receive the gifts of the Holy Spirt. It is a great milestone for them and great day for our parish. Be well. Do good. Go Pats! God Bless