Archdiocese of Cincinnati (3:52) — Who is best addressing the needs of your neighbor? When it comes to voting, a well-formed conscience is essential to making your vote do the most good. When we vote, it is our responsibility to use Catholic Social Teaching as our guide.
How to Vote Catholic
Just a few weeks from now, we will have the responsibility of going to the polls and casting our votes in federal, state,and local elections. We will be rendering “to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.
”The Catechism of the Catholic Church lays out some moral responsibilities not previously stressed for Catholics in previous catechisms. The catechism of the Council of Trent said nothing about civic obligations. The Baltimore Catechism in the United States did not address questions of voter responsibility. However, our latest catechism, which is based on the most recent official Church documents from Vatican II (1963-65) and from the Revised Code of Canon Law (1983), cannot be silent when it comes to the civic duties of the Catholic people.
Wherever in the world, and under whatever form of government, Catholics are urged to exercise their God-given rights and responsibilities when it comes to voting. “Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one's country" (#2240). Caesar is served when we fulfill our obligations to our country. It will take a long time, I am sure, for us to be able to integrate this teaching about our moral responsibilities in the civic order.
When was the last time you heard a sermon or a religious education teaching on the moral responsibilities of citizens? Perhaps, we are urged to either vote for or against certain laws because of their moral and ethical implications.In some instances, we may even come dangerously close to supporting one set of candidates over another because of their stand on one issue or another, for instance abortion, capital punishment, or social welfare. We condemn legislators who support the so-called “pro-choice”position on abortion, but we fail to oppose those who favor capital punishment.
Efforts to “get out the vote”should never be linked to one party or one candidate, in the name of the Church or in the name of the Gospel. Political activists have a right, of course, to align themselves with one of the political parties and to support whatever candidate they choose. But, the Church and the Gospel cannot be used for these partisan purposes.ECHOING GOD'S WORD – © 2017 Rev. Clement D. Thimbodeau (1932-2017); Used with permission.
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