By: Caitlin Forst
I always know it’s November when the leaves have changed colors, the breeze gets colder and, of course, when election day rolls around. Perhaps you’ve already decided which candidates to support or taken advantage of early voting options. Or maybe you aren’t even sure that you want to take the time to vote.
No matter your plan (and especially if you think you may not vote tomorrow), I encourage you to read the recent letter that Bishops Loverde and DiLorenzo have put out regarding the connection between our faith and voting, which is crucial to our understanding of the role we are called to play in the political life of our country.
The Bishops emphasize that we should not leave our faith in the pews, but embrace our responsibility to live an integrated life – one where our values are reflected in every choice we make, including the political process.
“Participating in the political process is an integral part of who we are as people called to be faithful citizens — that is, Americans who practice civic virtue guided by their Catholic faith. But before engaging in such an important venture, we must first form our consciences thoughtfully, prayerfully, and correctly — just as an athlete practices thoroughly before entering an event. And the “venture” or “event” for which we are called to prepare ourselves is not merely the day of an election, although elections are certainly critical. Rather, exercising faithful citizenship means bringing our principles, guided by Gospel values, to bear on decisions that are shaped and made every day of every year.”
“It is essential to remember that not all issues have equal moral weight; we must be able to discern differences in moral gravity among them before we vote. While most issues debated in the public square are matters of prudential judgment about which people of goodwill can legitimately disagree (e.g., deciding on the best way to ensure access to health care), some practices permitted by government (and sometimes even funded with taxpayers’ money) are intrinsically evil –that is, always incompatible with love of God and neighbor.”
Learn more about those principles and how they translate into action by reading the full text here.
If we are honest with ourselves, we recognize that too often we do not consider the full responsibility we have not only as citizens of our country, but also as people given the freedom by God to pursue virtue in the private and public sphere.
Also, our obligation is not dependent on the winner, nor does it end after tomorrow – the Bishops also address this in their letter. Please sign up for action e-mail alerts from the Virginia Catholic Conference by visiting www.vacatholic.org. These alerts help me stay informed about public policy issues throughout the year.
See you at the polls!