Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Monday, November 07, 2022

Voter guides for Catholics

The Catholic Church does not offer voter guides. However, several Catholic organizations do. Here are two recent ones for those who have not yet cast a ballot.
US Catholic magazine offers a free, downable guide. It reminds us that abortion is not the only issue to consider. “Catholic voters are responsible for knowing the church’s values and what role faith plays in our political decisions. Morally responsible voting reflects appreciation of the common good, the various issues that support or hinder its realization, and the quality and character of the candidates who can help make this happen.”
As the US Conference of Catholic Bishops reminds us in their document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, “As Catholics we are not single issue voters. A candidate’s position on a single issue is not sufficient to guarantee a voter’s support.” 
Among seven other issues to consider, US Catholic lists climate change, racial justice, the culture of violence, immigrants and refugees, poverty, health care and international relations.
The document also includes seven reflections about Catholic political engagement that address how we should vote.
You can download the guide here.
The Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States reflects on our Gospel call to promote the common good in the public square with this guide. They note that many people today will describe politics with terms like polarized, dysfunctional, ugly, vitriolic or even irredeemable, Pope Francis has called it one of the “highest forms of charity.” They explain, “Charity, or the Latin caritas, is the highest theological virtue and a word for what we more commonly call ‘love.’ So, Pope Francis is saying that politics is an important way of loving God by loving our neighbor in an incarnational, concrete way. Catholics are called to get involved in politics — to ‘meddle,’ even! — instead of disengaging and avoiding the messiness of political life.”
We read, “If we approached civic involvement open to finding God in the messiness of politics, how might our engagement be different from the darker spirit we often find on cable news and social media? Maybe we would find some of the same fruits that often come with praying the Examen daily: increased gratitude, deepened awareness of God in unexpected places, humility in acknowledgment of our own shortcomings paired with trust in God’s gentle mercy to help us grow. These are all gifts of the Holy Spirit that would benefit our political life immensely.”
These guides are helpful not just for this year’s elections, but also for how we can approach politics in the coming years.

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