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How will you vote?

Nevada Primary Coming Up

If you don’t know it’s election time then you’ve been living on a different planet.  The season is in full swing as commercial after debate after campaign ad floods every corner of life.  Honestly, it’s enough to make your head spin.

This year seems to be particularly ugly at the out-set.  Perhaps the stakes are so high that all the candidates are vying for money and attention in the same vein that retailers sought our dollars during the holiday season… with extreme vigor!

And the issues this year seem particularly daunting.  Coming on the heels of difficult economic conditions, we find ourselves as individuals and as a nation struggling to find some answers to historic problems in historic circumstances.  There are no easy solutions… everyone will be required to make sacrifices and compromises.

What should Catholics think and do?

The US Bishops’ document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship (<— click) gives us a solid foundation for understanding how we should approach discerning our votes on candidates and issues.

… We bishops do not intend to tell Catholics for whom or against whom to vote. Our purpose is to help Catholics form their consciences in accordance with God’s truth. We recognize that the responsibility to make choices in political life rests with each individual in light of a properly formed conscience, and that participation goes well beyond casting a vote in a particular election.

The Church’s obligation to participate in shaping the moral character of society is a requirement of our faith… What faith teaches about the dignity of the human person and about the sacredness of every human life helps us see more clearly the same truths that also come to us through the gift of human reason. At the center of these truths is respect for the dignity of every person.  This is the core of Catholic moral and social teaching.

Catholic Social Teaching

The bottom line criteria for making our decisions:  the dignity of the human person and the sacredness of every human life.  Turns out this is also the basic foundation for Catholic Social Teaching and Social Justice.  Coincidence?  Not hardly.

The Catholic Church has always been about the dignity and sacredness of life.  We are created in God’s image… the most ultimately holy / sacred / dignified form of life imaginable.

Our job as the people of God in the world is to do all that we can to protect that life.  That requires us to be responsible members of society who participate in the social and moral development of our communities.  Voting is one way we uphold that responsibility.

How will you vote?

So the ball is in your court now.  You are asked to pray and reflect and discern how your conscience will direct your actions.  We are accustomed to examining our consciences for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Now it is time to examine our consciences so that we might fulfill our obligations to build up the Body of Christ in our political world as well.

Take some time to read the bishops’ statement.  Build up your conscience-forming stamina.

You can also learn more here:  FaithfulCitizenship.org.

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