Catholics in the Public Square

08-06-2020Letter from the PastorFr. Don Kline, V.F.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I encourage Catholics to speak loudly at the voting booth. I understand that there are concerns and even fear when it comes to speaking publicly about God and politics. I can assure you, for evil to prevail, good people only need to remain silent or indifferent. This cannot happen under our watch. Our country is a beacon of religious freedom for millions around the world. The Catholic Church has a seat at the table of truth and freedom. But we need to speak with our actions… that means we must vote as faithful Catholics.

Please read Catholics in the Public Square by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted. It has received national recognition and is available online here. In this document, Bishop Olmsted offers sound teaching about how Catholics respond to statements that are contrary to Our Lord and His teaching. You may have wondered if Catholics can impose their religious views upon others. According to Bishop Olmsted:

Some Catholics and other believers have been frightened into silence and even confused by charges that they are imposing their morality on others. It is contended that a person’s faith should have no impact on his or her public life. This leads to the infamous “I am a Catholic but …” syndrome! Of course, if one’s faith does not impact on one’s whole life, including one’s political and social responsibilities, then it is not authentic faith; it is a sham, a counterfeit.

A democratic society needs the active participation of all its citizens, people of faith included. People of faith engage issues on the basis of what they believe, just as atheists engage issues on the basis of what they hold dear; they fight for what they think is right and oppose what they consider wrong. This is not an imposition on other’s morality. It is acting with integrity. Moreover, people of genuine faith strengthen the whole moral fabric of a country. The active engagement of Catholics in democratic processes is good for society and it is responsible citizenship.

Another issues that Bishop Olmsted addresses is the importance of Catholics taking into account their own faith at the moment of voting.

It only makes sense that if Catholics are supposed to live their faith in all of their daily activities that they should also take their faith into account while voting. As noted in the Second Vatican Council’s teaching, “every citizen ought to be mindful of his right and his duty to promote the common good by using his vote” (Gaudium et Spes, 75).

In preparing to vote, Catholics need to understand their faith so that their consciences are properly formed. Subsequent to this formation, it is important to research all of the important issues and candidates that will appear on the ballot. Only after sufficient preparation and prayer, is a Catholic fully ready to discharge his or her responsibilities as a faithful citizen and cast a meaningful vote.

To be continued…