With election day looming, it is appropriate to share some reflections from Pope Francis on issues relating to how we should vote as Catholic Christians:
“Involvement in politics is an obligation for a Christian. We Christians cannot “play the role of Pilate,” washing our hands of it – we cannot. We must be involved in politics because politics is one of the highest forms of charity, for it seeks the common good. And Christian laypeople must work in politics. You will say to me, “But it isn’t easy!”…Nothing is easy in life. It is not easy; politics has become too dirty, but I ask myself : why has it become dirty? Why aren’t Christians involved in politics with an evangelical spirit? I leave you with a question. It is easy to say, “It is so-and-so’s fault.” But me, what do I do ? It is a duty! Working for the common good is a Christian’s duty! And often the way to work for that is politics. There are other ways: being a teacher, for example; teaching is another route. However, political life for the common good is one of the ways. This is clear”(June 7, 2013).
“The conscience is the interior place for listening to the truth, to goodness, for listening to God; it is the inner place of my relationship with him, the One who speaks to my heart and helps me discern, to understand the way I must take and , once the decision is made, to go forward, to stay faithful. ” (June 30, 2013)
The first quotation reminds us of our duty to participate in the election by casting a vote- we cannot simply shrug and say things like “one party is as bad as another ” or “my vote doesn’t count for anything.” The second quotation reminds us of our duty to vote according to our conscience, and our conscience must be “informed”. In other words, I must take time to learn about my faith, e.g. by studying the Catholic Catechism. But I must also take time to grow my prayer life, so that the Holy Spirit can “tune me in” to the will of God and guide my vote according to the values and principles of the gospel and Catholic teaching, which builds on the gospel
A recent bulletin contained a statement on assisted suicide issued by the Canadian Conference of Bishops, where mention was made of candidates’ silence on the question of assisted suicide and the appeal was made “We urge all the citizens of our country to raise this question of life and death at meetings with candidates, to stimulate a true debate worthy of our great country.” What is our response to this challenge? After Mass this weekend, non partisan election cards will be distributed, showing how the various parties stand on issues related to life. Please take one, and take to prayer and discernment where you, as a Catholic, should be placing your vote on October 19th.