I was recently asked why it is important that Catholics vote and that the Catholic voice be heard in the public square. Let us look at the situation of our world and our country as we attempt to give a brief answer to this question, this very important question.
We can, of course, describe our society today as secular, as a society that has turned away from an objective or universal moral code and towards a more relativistic attitude to values; meaning that there is no or little objective truth by which people individually and collectively should lead their lives. This, and many more characteristics, brings us to understand that God has been marginalized in peoples’ lives and from society in general.
One principal reason for this, which is important to acknowledge–especially during this Year of Faith, is that we as Catholic Christians have contributed to this phenomenon by our own lack of attention to God’s will in our lives and in our participation in society.
How many of us actually think in terms each day of “doing God’s will?”
If we believe that God is the creator of all that is seen and unseen and the Father of all, then God has a will, a plan for each one of us and for the world in which we live. Are we paying attention to God’s will each day and also when we vote?
During this Year of Faith, it is important that each one of us take time to intensify our love for the will of God in our lives. Being attentive to God’s will allows us to reduce the voice of our own egos and wills, in order to listen to God’s truth. When that happens, we realize that God’s truth is the universal truth for all. It is not a matter of a private code of values only for those who believe, but it is meant for all.
As Jesus said in the Gospel of John, “the truth will set you free.” If that is true for us in our lives, and we discern that, then we realize we have the responsibility to share that with others. Thus the voice of the Catholic in the public square is important, it is our responsibility to bring the truth that God has revealed to us; not to impose it upon others but to be that liberation that each man and woman is seeking. The truth will bring each person in society to his or her full human dignity and potential.
When we discover that truth is a part of God’s will we see life differently and we want to be involved not only in Church life but also in the society around us. It is important that each one of us not only vote, but be a voice such as John the Baptist crying out in the desert; preparing the way of the Lord, preparing the way of goodness, preparing the way of peace, preparing the way of life and respect for life.
That voice is not just a voice of a moral code, it is the voice of truth, and it is the voice of God’s will. In order to reform our society to one of justice and peace it is important that our voices be heard.
There is no easy solution to this complicated problem; however, this can be the beginning of the restoration of our society in which we bring God back into the consciousness and the awareness of those in public life.
As Catholics, the issue of life is always at the forefront and it must continue to be paramount, especially during the coming election. As Catholics we recognize that abortion is intrinsically evil, meaning that it is evil in itself. Because abortion is the taking of an innocent human life–a life that has no ability to protect itself and has no guilt within itself–that act in itself is evil. We have the responsibility for protecting life, beginning in the voting booth.
There are many other issues that each one us must consider in the coming days before the election, namely immigration, the economy, the vulnerable, etc. We must do so with an “informed conscience.”
I encourage all of you during this time not only to vote, but to vote with an informed conscience; to vote with the heart of Christ; and to vote according to God’s will, as best as we can understand His will.
Let us move beyond the emotions of the debates and the partisanship of the campaigns and listen to the voice of the Lord God who speaks within each one of us and within the life of the Church.
I have been and will continue to pray for all of us as we decide on whom our public officials will be that lead us over the next few years.
I ask God’s blessing on our country that we may truly be a society of justice, and a society that promotes life, liberty and happiness for all.
May we truly be a nation “under God.”