Sunday, October 9, 2016

Non-Partisan Catholic Voting Guide

Our parish priest gave a homily this morning citing "Five Non-Negotiables" for voting Catholics. 

He was referencing a pamphlet released in 2004, a voting guide put together by a well-meaning U.S. non-profit organization (Priests For Life). 

To clarify, this pamphlet is a synthesis of select Catholic beliefs; it is not a comprehensive catch-all to browse before entering the voting booth. While the five highlighted issues are legitimate Church teaching, and important issues at that, this pamphlet is not an exhaustive list of what we believe or how we should vote.

Neither the Vatican nor the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has issued statements recommending solely these five issues as non-negotiable. 

The USCCB has issued this 42-page document regarding conscientious voting as a Catholic: Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility. Below is a comprehensive list of issues Catholic citizens should consider with a well-formed conscience: 

These additional five sections are highlighted at the end of the document: 

There is certainly no fault if one's conscience directs them to vote according to one particular issue held by a particular party. In a similar vein, it is an act of good prudence to consider whether a candidate is likely to follow the position they've taken publicly on issues. We do not need to take candidates at face value. Consider their history, their words, their actions, how our democracy works, and the histories of our political parties. We can be both wise and sincere with our votes.

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)

Finally, four people voting for four different candidates can all be voting in good conscience in accordance with our Catholic faith. We cannot willingly vote for evil. But we can vote for the candidate we believe will do the most good in accordance with a well-formed Catholic conscience (as outlined in the USCCB document above), with immunity to the evil that we did not will that might also be done on their watch.

There is plenty of time before November 8th to read through the USCCB's "voting guide," before placing your vote in good conscience for the candidate you think best to lead us forward on these issues.

Register to vote, find voting locations here

By Uoaei1 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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