Voting as a Catholic Citizen

“The ethical requirement inherent in [Catholic teaching’s] pre-eminent social principles concerns both the personal behavior of individuals … and at the same time institutions represented by laws, customary norms, and civil constructs.”Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

As we approach the midterm elections in the United States, most citizens have aligned themselves with one of the two major political parties. To many who profess loyalty to a political party, members of the other party (or anyone who voices an opinion at odds with their own) are, in the words of the president, “the enemy.”  Party ideology has so divided our nation that we cannot come together even on moral issues, for fear of appearing to acquiesce to the thinking of the “opposing” party. Voting, then, is often as easy as selecting the “straight party ticket” option.

For those of us who profess Catholic faith, however, political engagement never can be this simple. 

Click here for the Voting Resource Guide by Kathleen Bonnette, TH.D. Asst Director, JPIC

As we consider how to cast our vote in upcoming elections, it seems clear that the primary principles of Catholic social thought demand a holistic approach to political issues that neither major party satisfies completely. In the words of Reinhold Niebuhr, “The tendency to equate our political with our Christian convictions causes politics to generate idolatry;”  therefore, he adds, “Christians must make these hazardous political decisions with full recognition that others equally devoted to the common good may arrive at contrary conclusions.” 

Each of us is called to just and compassionate engagement with others. We ought to maintain a posture of openness, in solidarity, to considering the effect policies and practices will have on others, especially the disadvantaged and marginalized. This also requires a willingness to hear diverse opinions and learn from diverse sources. No one channel of information will be sufficient for arriving at an understanding and appreciation of all those affected by our actions. We are all interconnected – “Hence, let all citizens be mindful of their simultaneous right and duty to vote freely in the interest of advancing the common good.” 

Political engagement is one important way that we can “advocate and act for the dignity of life and the care of all creation.” Please see below for helpful resources and actions.

Be an Informed Voter on November 6! 

  • Click here to find your polling place.
  • Click here for information on your local candidates.
  • Uber and Lyft are offering discounted rides to and from the polls.
  • Consider voting for a 3rd party candidate. If every citizen rejected the false dichotomy that says that a Republican or a Democrat has to win, the possibility of a 3rd party candidate being elected would be more viable.

Maintain an attitude of unity and reconciliation toward the marginalized and vulnerable, as well as your political opponents.

  • Reject party idolatry. Remember to care less about party affiliation and more about promoting dignity, the common good, solidarity, and subsidiarity.
  • Pray for the leaders of our nation.

Vote 2018! from SSND Atlantic Midwest on Vimeo.

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