Monday, October 27, 2014
Voting with Catholic Social Teaching
Election season offers us the opportunity to reflect on the issues affecting our state and our nation, and to decide who will represent us during the next few years. Obviously, there are a number of ways each of us determines how to cast our ballot, but as bishops and teachers of the faith we recommend that you take the time to review the principles in "Faithful Citizenship."
John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States said, “Always vote on principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”
Practicing Faithful Citizenship flows from a well-formed conscience. What do we mean when we refer to “conscience”? According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1777, “Moral conscience, present at the heart of the person, enjoins him at the appropriate moment to do good and to avoid evil. It also judges particular choices, approving those that are good and denouncing those that are evil. It bears witness to the authority of truth in reference to the supreme Good to which the human person is drawn, and it welcomes the commandments. When he listens to his conscience, the prudent man can hear God speaking.” Conscience is the carrier of truth, not of self-will.
This election season has a number of ballot measures for consideration. The Office of Peace and Justice has provided various sources of Catholic Social Teaching for Catholics to discern in their determination of these various proposals this November including Guns, Minimum Wage, Taxation, and Health Care.
In addition, various offices of government have many different candidates seeking those offices. The Church cannot and will not endorse candidates for public office. The evaluation of candidates is a complex one. Reviewing the principles of Catholic Social Teaching in the Faithful Citizenship guide linked above, praying for guidance, and seeing where candidates stand on various issues are the best ways to form conscience that will lead to fruitful personal action.