Politics

Will the Catholic Vote Impact Election 2016?

Election Day 2016 is a few short days away. In the past two weeks, we have witnessed candidate Hillary Clinton face an onslaught of accusations and evidence that draw into question her credibility. As voters come to the polls Tuesday, November 8th, the Catholic voting block once more becomes a determining factor in the election outcome.

In recent weeks, many Catholic bishops have issued statements to the faithful encouraging them to thoroughly weigh the issues before casting their ballots. It is important to listen to the voice of our church leaders. What follows is a sampling of those statements.

Bishop Patrick J. McGrath, Diocese of San Jose

This year’s contentious and unsettling presidential race threatens our ability to come together as one people.  The claims by some of our fellow citizens that they will not accept the final outcome of the election borders on the seditious, portending a future that would be neither civil nor true to our common roots as Americans.  We cannot do this.  It is not who we are, not who we are called to be.

Archbishop William Lori, Diocese Baltimore

“The common good is not identifiable with any party platform or ideology. Catholics should be guided more by our moral convictions than by our attachment to a political party or interest group. Nor is the common good what the majority of people want. It is rather ‘the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and easily.’”

Archbishop Samuel Aquila, Diocese of Denver

So my advice to Catholics in voting in this presidential election is to first look at who forms you and your conscience. Is it your personal encounter with Jesus Christ and the Church, the voice of God which cannot contradict the truth or revelation, or is it the ideology of some political party? Secondly, look at how you have been a leaven in society. How have you sought the common good and the values of the Gospel, especially by serving the poor, the needy, the unborn and the dying? If you truly live your Catholic faith, you will not find complete alignment with any political party, and that is okay.  Thirdly, look at how each party platform supports human life from conception through natural death, the freedom of religion and the freedom of conscience, the family, and the poor. Finally, do vote, as every Catholic has an obligation to participate in the political process.

Bishop William Murphy, Diocese of Rockville Centre NY

I have three questions to end this letter! Please reflect upon these as you examine your conscience and prepare to exercise your right to vote.

  1. Do you think our country is going in the right direction or the wrong direction? I believe it is heading in the wrong direction. If I am right, then,
  2. Of the two candidates running for President, and of all of the candidates running for elective office, whether federal, state or local, which ones will continue to lead us in the current direction or which are more likely to restore justice in those areas that cry out for such a restoration?
  3. Which ones are willing to lead us in a direction that is more pro-life, more pro-family and more pro-truth? Which ones will recognize and respect the role of religion in the lives of citizens and the Church’s right to mediate the truths of the Gospel and the Church’s teaching as part of the public life of our country, in public ministries like health care, education and charitable works, without being forced to adopt and facilitate those cultural practices that are not consonant with Church teaching?

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In forming our consciences to cast our vote this coming Tuesday there are a number of issues to consider. Certain actions are always incompatible with God and neighbor. These are deemed intrinsic evils that conflict with the moral and natural law and should not be supported or condoned by faithful, conservative Christians at any time. These issues are non-negotiables that as a Catholic it is considered a serious sin to support. Those issues are abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and homosexual marriage.

As Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput wrote in his column from August 2016, “Both candidates for the nation’s top residence, the White House, have astonishing flaws.” With no candidate that fits the perfect mold in 2016, it is of greater importance now perhaps more than ever that an informed Catholic voter block enters the polls on November 8th. If as citizens of the greatest nation in the world, we truly believe in what the founding fathers created, that the power of our government comes from the governed and not the opposite way, then we need to vote our moral consciences.

To vote otherwise, leads our nation down a slippery slope that by all appearances we are sitting upon the crest of. There are numerous resources available to help. One such source is provided by the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) entitled Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.  I encourage everyone to take some time today and tomorrow to seriously read this document over and formulate a morally acceptable vote.

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