Well, it’s a bit late for the latest round of voting, but we got into a conversation at work on how Catholics vote. Contrary to popular belief, there is no ‘vote for this guy don’t vote for this guy’ list that we all get. Quite the contrary in fact. Instead, it’s the duty of the local parish+priest to teach the relevant principles of the faith, and then require each of us to apply those principles ourselves. There is not to be any mindless following (as many love to claim).
Our bishop simply pointed to the US Catholic Bishop’s article on faithful citizenship. It’s a very good document that is worth the read if your curious – and good for Catholics to get a good brush up on what principles you’re supposed to be following. If you’re not interested in all the background – just shoot to the principles on page 12/13 for the basic idea.
Some interesting bits:
- The Catholic Church does not endorse candidates nor ballot measures as a policy. Bishops, priests, and church leaders are not to directly promote or discourage voting for any particular candidates or issues from the pulpit or privately. They’re primary duty is to teach and comment on the principles of our faith relating to the issues, but it is up to the individual’s Catholic’s well informed conscience to choose candidates and measures.
- Voting your conscience isn’t just a gut-feeling. It involves going out and becoming well informed on Catholic teaching, current state of the matter/society, and careful reading about the actual candidate/issue. Then, doctrinal (church teaching) and scriptural research about the matter is to be preformed. Finally, after careful prayer and quietly ‘sitting with God’ in prayer to receptively listen to His guidance with all this information about the issue, one forms an course of action.
- Catholics are not to be single-issue voters. They are also to see beyond any partisan politics and vote on the best candidate based on the issues of the day and what their faith and conscience tell them. Catholics are not Democrats nor Republicans – but faithful citizens that will vote for the best candidate.
- Due to our particular political situation – one might be able to vote for a pro-abortion candidate in certain cases – but only if they are not voting for the candidate for the purpose of promoting pro-abortion policies (and a few other conditions are met – definitely see the fine print for hows and whys in the document for details – it’s not a blanket clause).
Anyway, there’s some really great stuff in there, and it references all the documents they came from in case you want to read more.