Our Moral Obligation to Vote

Catholic education played a vital role in the founding of our nation.

Among the signers of the Declaration of Independence was Charles Carroll, a Catholic landowner who had been educated in Catholic schools in Maryland and in France—even receiving a Catholic legal education in France. Charles Carroll was one of the earliest advocates for American independence. In the early 1770s, he began writing newspaper columns supporting independence. He funded the early tea-protests against British rule. And while many revolutionaries were content writing pamphlets and columns against the King, Charles Carroll was among the first to call American patriots to armed revolution.

Charles Carroll signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. After the war, he became a United States Senator, and he spent the remainder of his political career fighting for the abolition of American slavery.

The ideas about freedom and justice Charles Carroll encountered in Catholic schools led him to envision the American quest for democracy, and for liberty. When he saw injustice, and tyranny, and greed, it was his Catholic formation, and his Catholic conscience that impelled him to support fights for freedom—first the fight of the American patriots, and later, that of the American slaves.

Charles Carroll’s cousin John—the first Archbishop of Baltimore—was also an ardent supporter of the American Revolution. So were thousands of Catholic Americans who fought valiantly to support the American cause. Some of the Revolution’s most successful generals were Catholics. And Catholics disproportionately volunteered to serve in the Continental Army. In fact, the very first Mass celebrated in the city of Boston was a funeral Mass for a Continental soldier, a French volunteer killed during the Revolutionary War.

From the very beginning, Catholics have played a vital role in the success of the American experiment.  And our involvement in public and political life is still essential to the well-being of our nation.  After the Revolution, Senator Charles Carroll spoke to the importance of religious faith in public life.

“Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time;” he observed, “they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion…. are undermining… the best security for the duration of free governments.”

Charles Carroll—and all of the founding fathers—built a nation that reflects Christian principles of human dignity and personal freedom.  But our nation’s founders understood that unless people of faith participate in public life, our democracy could become a very dangerous tool.

Our nation depends, said Charles Carroll, on “the solid foundation of morals.”

Faith allows us to discern the common good.  To make good choices about the best policies for our communities.  To understand the importance of living in accord with who God made us to be—the importance of making law which respects the dignity of every human person, created in the image of God.

Without the influence of truth on public life, the rights of the unborn, the poor, and the marginalized can be discarded.  Without the participation of religious believers, the principles of justice and freedom are replaced with reckless pursuit of comfort and pleasure.  Without active protection of rights, religious liberty—and indeed, all liberty—stands perilously close to being lost entirely.

Our democracy can serve the common good. But only when believers, capable of discerning the common good, participate in public life.

This election year, we’ll consider candidates for state and national offices.  And, if we want our state and nation to serve the common good, we have a moral obligation to vote.  And when we do vote, we ought to consider the candidates and their position in light of the received teachings of our Church. In light of justice.  In light of truth.

Catholics helped to form our nation. And over the past two centuries, Catholics have bled and died to protect it. Their legacy is in our hands. To be faithful Catholics, we’re called to be faithful citizens.  May each of us work to build a just and free nation.  And may we bring the principles of our faith to the public square, and to the voting booth.

Editor’s note: This column first appeared May 9, 2014 on the website of the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. The image of Charles Carroll above was painted by Michael Laty ca. 1846.

Bishop James D. Conley, STL

By

Most Reverend James D. Conley, STL, is the bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska. Before his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI to the see of Lincoln in September 2012, he served as auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Denver under Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. He earned his Master's of Divinity from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., in 1985 and a licentiate in moral theology from the Accademia Alfonsiana, part of the Faculty of Theology at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.

  • Bedarz Iliaci

    To take part in a political process, even as a voter, is to give your legitimacy to the point of view you oppose.

    Suppose, I am a pro-life voter and both pro-life and pro-choice candidates are standing for my vote. Now, it is possible that the pro-choice candidate will win. And now he is representing me and worse I have personally legitimized him by participating in his election.

    There must be some non-negotiables. By definition, the non-negotiables can not be and must not be put to electoral chances. At the very least, nobody would negotiate that he and his family being put to slavery. A man would rather take up arms to defend himself rather than negotiate this proposition through elections.

    I suppose “right to arms” is also one such non-negotiable.
    But in USA, right of an unborn to life is totally negotiable.
    But, it may not be negotiable for some and then these are perfectly justified in withholding participation in elections and thereby bestowing legitimacy to the pro-choice viewpoint.

  • Bedarz Iliaci

    Elections are meant to decide little things-the tariff on steel or tax rates or which man would represent a particular city etc.

    For elections in stable polities presuppose a great deal of consensus. If consensus does not exist on matters of great importance, viz slavery, marriage, whether the country should be communist, status of unborn etc, then the elections are likely to be destabilizing.

    For it is the consensus on the fundamental matters of great importance that defines a particular nation. For instance, the American Way that defines America excludes communism. It would take a revolution to introduce communism. Private property is non-negotiable in America.

    Personhood of the unborn used to be a non-negotiable too. But cultural changes and loss of faith has made it a very negotiable proposition. But a person is justified in not placing his fundamental beliefs to the vagaries of political process. A misplaced enthusiasm “freedom of expression” has led to absurd beliefs being enthroned in the public square.
    The same has led to the idea that elections could resolve any and all political conflicts in the nation. History tells otherwise. Slavery was not ended by elections and neither would the rights of unborn be restored by elections.

  • Bedarz Iliaci

    “even receiving a Catholic legal education in France”

    “The ideas about freedom and justice Charles Carroll encountered in
    Catholic schools led him to envision the American quest for democracy”

    Question may be validly raised here regarding the influence of Rousseau on Charles Carroll. We know that the French establishment was heavily pervaded by the ideas of deist philosophers. Did Carroll justify the American Revolution through Catholic principles? Or did he justify through Rousseau, Locke and other 18C philosophers?

    You write

    “it was his Catholic formation, and his Catholic conscience that
    impelled him to support fights for freedom—first the fight of the
    American patriots, and later, that of the American slaves.”

    Well, if armed revolt was justified over tax policy in 18C, surely it must be justified over rights of unborn and the flagrant violations of religious liberty and natural law that the State is committing now.

    So, why Charles Carroll be not emulated now. He did not expel British by fighting in elections, did he? He took more emphatic steps.

    • Scott W.

      In school we were all taught that the American Rebellion was largely about “taxation without representation”. The fact is that the colonies could have had representation and also there were several serious proposals to do so, but these were rejected by colonists because they would have been taxed at the same rate as everyone else in the empire. So no-taxation-without-representation was really, “Yes, we deliberately provoked the ruinously expensive French and Indian War, but don’t you dare ask us to help pay for it.”

    • TheAbaum

      Question may be validly raised here regarding the influence of Rousseau on Charles Carroll.

      Based on what?

    • LarryCicero

      I believe he had his legal education in England, his education in France included government, history, philosophy, and his childhood education was from Jesuits, in secret, in Maryland. He was influenced heavily by Montesquieu. He argued anonymously as First Citizen in the newspaper as he could not vote as a Catholic in Maryland, or hold public office. His reasoning changed the elections in Maryland and eventually gained Catholics the right to vote in that state. He was a man of faith and reason.

  • Vinnie

    “…we have a moral obligation to vote. And when we do vote, we ought to consider the candidates and their position in light of the received teachings of our Church. In light of justice. In light of truth.”

    In other words, “the moral obligation to vote for moral candidates” if any exist in this “great” country of ours.

  • Watosh

    As one fellow said, “Don’t vote, it only encourages them.” The thing is, while this is not news for anyone with eyes to see, a recent exhaustive study by Princeton concludes the United States really is an oligarchy, not a democracy. They found that in about every case where a majority of Americans favored one thing and the big money corporations and investment community favored the opposite, congress invariably did the bidding of the big money interests. That is what the reality is and that is what we are up against. It takes so much money to campaign for national office that politicians have to heed the wishes of big money in order to get elected to a comfortable office. Of course I question the desirability of living in a secular democracy anyway. Still having a secular oligarchy made up of faceless huge corporations or bankers that control the government and the so called “free-press” is not any improvement. Remember the decision to release Barrabas and not Christ was a democratic decision of the people present. The “moral” obligation to vote under these conditions is hardly compelling for me.

    • LarryCicero

      The notion that you should vote for the lesser of two evils has been accepted as common sense. In a conversation a man said to me, “Why could there not be a no confidence vote- a box for none of the above?” Would it curtail the spending of money in elections? If the choice was between Stalin and Hitler, could we wipe the slate clean and say neither? Why should we have to choose between two evils?

      • TheAbaum

        Not voting is “none of the above”.

        • LarryCicero

          No, a box marked none of the above, if it has more votes than a candidate, would win and the candidates would be thrown off the ballot and new candidates would have to be selected. A candidate with large voter turnout can claim he has a mandate. It is hard to claim a mandate with low voter turnout. But if voters elect none of the above, it is an outright rejection of the candidates. Then there truly would be a moral obligation to vote, and no excuse not to.

          • TheAbaum

            The reason you won’t see “none of the above” is that “none of the above” might win, but can’t.

            • LarryCicero

              If NOTA wins, there would be another election with new candidates. But there could be no end to that as NOTA might win again and again.

              • TheAbaum

                If NOTA wins, there would be another election with new candidates.

                I agree with the sentiment, but you have practical problems in allowing such an outcome, not the least of which is who occupies the office while a new election is prepared and contested (the incumbent-who would have the incentive to promote NOTA, or a political appointee who would defeat the idea of democratic governance)

                Then there’s the idea that where does the new candidates come from? Do we allow the just defeated candidates to try again, or replace them with the individuals they defeated in the primary, meaning now that the general election just produced no result and invalidated the primary ex-post. Are we saying the first tier candidates should be replaced with second tier candidates?

                I believe it is Dr. Thomas Sowell who says that a lot of bad ideas would be rejected if people would simply ask, “and then what”.

                • LarryCicero

                  Agreed. It would not be practical. NOTA is a component of low voter turnout and so is apathy.

              • John Byde

                It worked for Belgium!

      • Watosh

        Well sometimes there is a third party candidate. However I was told that by voting for the third party candidate I was losing my vote. My reply is that when the only choice I had was between two evils I had already lost my vote.

        • redfish

          Please tell people this, Watosh —

          If principle isn’t good enough, it really isn’t just about principle: in a lot of cases voting Republican or Democrat is just stupid. If you’re in a gerrymandered district that’s a guaranteed win for a certain party, you know whether the candidate will win or lose ahead of time. Voting Republican and Democrat would waste your vote, its just showing up at the voting booth to be counted — not changing anything. At least if you vote for a third party, you help them with ballot access. That, in turn, will create more competition, and create an actual reason to vote.

          • Watosh

            In theory in an idealized functioning democracy, you are absolutely correct. But we see how the Republicans and Democrats joined together with the corporate news media to only permit the Democrat and the Republican presidential candidate to participate in the public debates carried on TV. Why they wouldn’t even let Ralph Nader into the hall in which the Republican and Democrat candidates were debating in once a while ago, even though he wasn’t even running as a candidate in that presidential election. The two major parties have obtained a monopoly, or for the purists reading this, a duopoly.

            • redfish

              Sure, there are many obstacles to third party candidacies. I’m just saying, if you know anyone who likes a third party candidate but is afraid they’re wasting their vote, get them to think about whether their vote in a safe district really helps their candidate.

    • TheAbaum

      “recent exhaustive study by Princeton concludes the United States really is an oligarchy, not a democracy. ”

      The same Princeton that is one of the principle academies of the ruling elite and employs or employed Peter Singer.

      • hombre111

        Your ad hominem argument is a fallacy that earns its author no points.

        • TheAbaum

          That you cannot distinguish between irony and ad hominem earns you even more disdain. What was it Winston Churchill said about opening your mouth?

          • Watosh

            Nice try.

            • TheAbaum

              How would you know?

          • hombre111

            According to Webster: Irony–A figure of speech in which the literal meaning of a locution is the opposite of that intended. Ad hominem–Appealing to a person’s prejudice, emotions, or special interests rather than to his intellect or reason; attacking an opponent’s character rather than answering his argument.

            • TheAbaum

              The essential feature of irony is the indirect presentation of a contradiction between an action or expression and the context in which it occurs.

              • hombre111

                As usual, you didn’t read the original post. The post mentioned a study, not a complaint. If the study was valid, its origin is irrelevant, and yes, that you are making an ad hominem argument. For instance, one of these days, you might finally make a valid point. I could not refute it by saying you are a bigtime troll on Crisis.

                • TheAbaum

                  You have the nerve to call ANYBODY a troll?

                  By the way, I’m getting closer to “outing” you.

        • Hombre111

          We should not go into battle, even a battle of words until trained and armed.

          • hombre111

            The real Hombre has decided that his avatar presents no threat.

      • Watosh

        As usual TheAbaum employs the logical fallacy of argumentum ad hominem in which rather than examining and refuting the actual arguments made in the study, he attacks Princeton itself by dredging up anyone with a negative image associated with Princeton. TheAbaum thus avoids having to offer any evidence that refutes the conclusion made by the Princeton study, which is the real issue here, not Princeton.

        • TheAbaum

          You didn’t offer evidence. You engaged in the appeal to authority fallacy.

  • Sad how far down the ‘myth’ hole the point of view offered here is. Do Cubans have a ‘moral obligation’ [whatever that is… ] to vote? Did anyone in the Soviet Union? I refuse to waste my time and energy on what has not made any difference in decades or longer. The myth of a two party system is a concoction like moral obligation. Myth…. The other myth in this article is the collapse of the distinction between republic and democracy. What made the US a republic ended over a hundred years ago. What remains is a democracy that has devolved/evolved into a single party, corporate run machine where voters are mere instruments to confuse and enthuse. The US churches have no moral authority other than what is granted by the state. This article further confirms that.

    • solavirtus.com
      • A must read… Thank you! The truth will out and the truth IS…. It is immoral to vote.

        • John Byde

          Yes, great read. I’m English and if I’d been in the country at the time, I might have voted (a big “might”) for Cameron’s conservatives because they promised a referendum on leaving the hated EU. In fact, Cameron got elected and a) reneged on his promise of an EU vote, and instead b) introduced a law permitting homosexuals to “marry” despite no mention of this in his manifesto and the lack of support for it of even many homosexuals themselves. But if I had voted, hey at least I would have fulfilled my “moral obligation to vote”
          A plague on them all!

    • John Byde

      Perfect reply, Michael. Our problems are way beyond the reach of politics and I am sick of voting for the lesser evil and getting evil anyway.

  • Scott W.

    There is a duty to vote as we find in the Catechism: “2240 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.”

    However, it is important to remember that those duties are contingent, not absolute. As the USCCB’s voter guide put it (my emphasis):

    The voter may decide to take the extraordinary step of not voting for any candidate or, after careful deliberation, may decide to vote for the candidate deemed less likely to advance such a morally flawed position and more likely to pursue other authentic human goods.”

    Keep that in mind when someone gives you the “Vote for our [consequentialist, Three Exceptions] GOP candidate or you are a baby murderer!” schpeel.

    • Richardson McPhillips

      except you can not vote for a candidate who positively promotes terrible evil, even if he or she has other good qualities. To borrow your hypothetical example, keep this in mind when someone tells you to vote for the Democrat candidate who is pro-abortion but loves immigrants and the poor instead of the GOP candidate who is pro-life and but wants to keep poor people out of the country. One of these things is deontological, the others pragmatic.

      • Scott W.

        I agree. Which is why I have never voted Democrat. I’m not carrying water for pro-abortionists in any way. But I don’t frequent places where there are many people making excuses for Democrats. I DO run into people who think that because I won’t vote for Democrats that Republicans automatically own my vote all the time.

    • TheAbaum

      “make it morally obligatory to pay taxes”

      Well, for some of us.

  • Dick Prudlo

    Americanism is alive and well. I have voted with my nose covered in nearly all election cycles over my lifetime, and I am not particularly proud of that. Hundreds of times my Catholic Faith has been dishonored by those I had chose. It is true that men do disappoint and even “good men” disagree; but for me there will be no more better of two evils. For those who disagree with me may they be comforted by the fact that I am in the winter of my years.

    • Pamela

      Mr. Prudlo, you sound like a man of principle and I wish you many years of health and God’s blessings.

      • Dick Prudlo

        Thank you, Pamela. God has blessed you with charity.

    • Vinnie

      Better of two evils, or variations of that is over for me as well. Look where it’s gotten us.

  • crakpot

    We have elections to hire mechanics to execute the powers consented to by we the people nearly unanimously in Constitution, subject to our prohibitions. The left uses 51% of the 40% of the population who bother to vote to elect dictators. Participation means defending our Constitution, defying the dictators.

  • Allan Daniel

    I cannot see the American Revolution as a just war. It appears to me to have been a war conceived by greed. A precedent that has ruled our country’s ideology ever since. At this late date there is an element of “Alice in Wonder” in viewing America as a moral country. America is the most active exporter of abortion, homosexuality rights, feminism, totalitarianism, etc. And we are proudly catching up with North Korea and China as persecutors of Christianity. We currently are led by a moral monster the voting masses have elected twice!

    Democracy is a losing system precisely because it depends on the shifting perceptions of the unwashed, grasping masses. America has more people in prison than Red China! Our system of democracy has led us to our special brand of police state totalitarianism. God has been cast out of the equation by the same system that many believe will bring it back. That makes no sense.

    Voting has become merely an allowable act to keep the people under the illusion that they are the seat of power in America. How can the act of voting be made a moral obligation when we can see that voting has changed nothing? We have been voting against abortion since what, 1972-1974? Has it been eradicated? Homosexual marriage is here. What was the vote tally on that? Spying on citizens? One must be without sight and sound to believe the act of voting is changing things progressively for the good. It is not. Voting has become the Opium of the masses.

    Nothing can change until God is brought back to the equation, but it cannot be done within the system. The system hates Christianity. I suggest a rosary instead of a vote.

    • TheAbaum

      “I cannot see the American Revolution as a just war.”

      Then I can assume you will be renouncing your citizenship and seeking to become the citizen of England and a subject of the Her Majesty?

      • Allan Daniel

        If you would like clarification about something I wrote, just ask.

        • TheAbaum

          If you believe it was an unjust war, you must make amends as best you can. Return yourself to the British crown.

          That “just war” is well-defined doesn’t imply that your application is correct.

          Have the courage of your convictions.

          • Allan Daniel

            It’s obvious that you are making this stuff up to suit your own rather odd ideas. Who cares whether you reject the notion of a just war?

            • TheAbaum

              “Odd ideas” is a rather curious charge from somebody that asserts that the revolution was an unjust war (if there was an element of unjust war it was the disproportionate use of military force by George III) and makes the ipso facto charge of “greed”.

              Put up or shut up.

        • RufusChoate

          You have a very quixotic interpretation of what constitutes a Just War

          Try this listing:

          -The damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;

          Condition: Revolution- Loss of autonomy, unrepresentative taxation, invasion of foreign troops. restrictions on Free trade, limitation on free association, free expression and legal rights.

          -All other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;

          Condition: The colonies negotiated fruitlessly with the Crown for almost a decade

          -There must be serious prospects of success;

          Condition: Obviously there was.

          -The use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated.

          Condition: Clearly justified by outcome.

          • Allan Daniel

            Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. The American Revolution caused loss of life for no good reason. The Holy family paid taxes to Caesar. They did not kill the tax collector. There is no innate right to representation to set the degree of taxation, and the idea when speaking of a kingdom is absurd. Your theology is bad and your history is like that from a 5th grade American history book dated 1942.

      • Scott W.

        That isn’t necessary. One can still cultivate a natural patriotism based on filial ties to blood, soil, the Cross, and civilization and law & order. As opposed to a sociopathic patriotism that looks like this: http://jonmcnaughton.com/content/ZoomDetailPages/OneNationUnderGod.html

        As the Catechism puts it (my emphasis):

        “[Christians] reside in their own nations, but as resident aliens. They participate in all things as citizens and endure all things as foreigners. . . . They obey the established laws and their way of life surpasses the laws. . . . So noble is the position to which God has assigned them that they are not allowed to desert it.”

        • TheAbaum

          See my response below.

          • Scott W.

            That doesn’t really address what I said or the Catechism quote.

            • TheAbaum

              “That doesn’t really address what I said or the Catechism quote.”

              Because what you wrote and quoted didn’t really address my question of whether Mr. Daniel would be returning himself to the Queen, being as he was her rightful property but alienated in an unjust war.

              • Scott W.

                Yes it did implicitly. Namely, that because a country did wrong, even at its founding, does not mean its citizens are obligated to renounce citizenry. For instance, St. Paul did not renounce his Roman citizenship, (in fact, he used it to his advantage) even though the Romans crucified Our Lord.

                • TheAbaum

                  No, and you still haven’t.

                  • Scott W.

                    One is always obligated to return stolen property to the rightful owner to the extent possiblepossible

                    Not if the owner gave up his claim to the property which England did with the Treaty of Paris.

                    But rather than going down this rabbit hole, let me end on this for anyone reading. Look up the criteria under “armed resistance” in the Catechism and compare it to the grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence (it’s the part no one reads :)). Ask yourself if any of them alone or all together justified armed rebellion.

                    • TheAbaum

                      Not if the owner gave up his claim to the property which England did with the Treaty of Paris.

                      We don’t relieve our MORAL obligations with legalities.

        • RufusChoate

          You do know that McNaughton is a Mormon or LDS and that his iconography is filled with Mormonism’s multitudinous errors.

          Mormonism is a peculiarly American Heresy.

    • RufusChoate

      The American Revolution was certainly a just war against tyranny but nothing you state after that is misaligned with reality. The Left and the Progressive Age based on the French Revolution are the Fathers and Mothers of this current dystopia not the Founders. .

  • Vincent Miro

    Not at all. This thesis won’t do. Obligation to adhere to a particular political regime’s framework such as voting belongs in a protestant tradition where churches are national and the state formally theocratic. We Catholics are perfectly free of any national or political system. We do have an obligation to engage in political life but that includes not voting and the right to overthrow an unjust government so long as it does not contravene the ten commandments.

    The fact that Charles Carroll of Carrollton, was one of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence and a Roman Catholic does not alter these previously stated facts in the slightest. If at all, it opens up a way for expounding the bishop’s position which, on non-doctrinal matters, shoud be based on persuasion rather than on authority.

  • JP

    One of the biggest problems some have with our society is that one cannot get away from it. It is in our homes, bedrooms, churches -everywhere. Yes, our civic society afford Catholics a peaceful means to exist, raise families, and worship God. However, there is a price to be paid. The outside world is invasive and it demands its due. The pathologies of our society made its way into the Church. And make no mistake, those pathologies, whether they are political, economic, or social will not go away.

    The rise of Progressivism, or Progressive politics was a new threat that Church was not prepared for. As a matter of fact, most Bishops don’t see Progressivism as a threat at all. For many of their goals are aligned with Progressives. But, one cannot serve 2 masters. And eventually society will demand subservience. Today’s Progressivism pushes abortion, contraception, sexual perversions, as well as things like the “Just Wage”, World Peace, and equality, etc… The aging hippies had a saying way back in the 1960s that really gets a measure of things: “The personal is the political. That is, there is nothing, I mean nothing that lies outside of society’s every growing appetite for control.

    Seen from that perspective, voting is problematic. You can vote for your candidate of choice; but, what about the areas where politicians have no control. Whether we’re speaking of bureaucrats, movie producers, pornographers, teachers, etc… they all lie beyond democratic means of re-call.

    The Bishops used to act as a Sheppard. In past decades and centuries they stood up against evil, as well as injustice. Many were martyred or persecuted for their efforts. Not so much, anymore.

  • fides

    The author of this piece fails to address the foundation issue for a moral decision, one that we strive to teach our children daily —- Christ did not make a deals with evil, did not chose the lesser of two evils, did not participate because a transitory political system needed to be preserved.

    Christ was intransigent toward evil (probably the reason the word is used in Humanae Vitae) What is needed is leadership that understands the moral difficulty in participating and the courage to guide men so that they first remain faithful to their conscience — as one moral scholar noted, Fr. Hardon, SJ, to allow men to not decide on conscience was to relegate moral authority to the clan, tribe or party and the end result of that was totalitarianism.

    In a nut shell — no man should support a political system that gets it wrong on fundamental issues — no man should vote and or participate against his conscience. I have witnessed young men recruited into our military, men of strong moral underpinnings — only to be shells of their former selves because they were told sexuality was not a moral issue, killing wasn’t a moral issue if sanctioned by government and most devastating — they led others to that conclusion.

    I disagree with this author. The most important political issue for each citizen is to act upon a properly formed conscience—not react to political fiction. I have yet to find a way to participate with moral corruption that allows me to think that somehow I am preserving truth and moral clarity.

    For instance, the Catholic Bishops of the US have to answer for their political equivocation when it comes to Cesar Chavez and his legacy of “rights”—which now embrace all that the Church has spoken against.

    This article is should be rewritten and address the moral certainty that a free man brings to the political arena when exercising his voice based upon his conscience. That man, and others like him then become the strong voice of a community, state, and nation that is grounded in the moral certainty of just causes not compromise.

  • hombre111

    Pretty good.

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  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    It is increasingly difficult to take seriously any advice from the bishops, and this superficial article will not help. Remember how the bishops told us – only months ago – that proposed changes in the Boy Scouts were consistent with Catholic thought and would not present a danger to Catholic boys? Well, Catholic parents who have long been involved with scouting (such as myself) knew this was rubbish. And now, the new head of the BSA suggests already that it is time for homosexual scout leaders! Well, Your Grace, thanks again for your input. I may indeed vote in the next election, but only if a third-party alternative is on the Ohio ballot.

  • RufusChoate

    When did America belong a democracy? Did I miss it? It is odd that “the Philosopher” and his Dominican Saint thought democracy the worse political system that invariably devolves into tyranny.

    It is tragicomic that a Bishop would make such an obvious mistake then imply the benefits of “Universal” Suffrage and the requirement to vote for sectarian interests that result in access to the common purse.

    Charity is cardinal virtue of the Christian not the Government. Government is coercive force that crushes individual virtue in bureaucratic immobility interested in only security and continued funding.

  • BillinJax

    It’s almost beyond belief there are Catholics who still do
    not get it that Obama has the Catholic Church on his personal and political
    enemy lists.

    He deliberately chose from among his ardent admirers within
    the secular progressive wing of the Democratic Party (that would be those who
    support strict adherence to the Statist view of separation of Church and State)
    any number of Catholic legislators and academics and even clerics to stood at
    his side as he empirically demanded the lockstep liberals in congress and
    within the media to formulate and pass his legislative agenda without reading
    any of it and to parade it in front of the public as benevolent benefits which,
    according to the press and Hollywood, his opponents were trying to deny to all
    the needy and poor among us. This was designed to prove that he alone should be
    recognized as THE ONE who can bring about the great Transformation of America as outlined in his beloved Rules for Radicals handbook and provide care for the nations oppressed and disadvantaged citizens.

    Speaking of denying the public, we were instructed not to
    question his application as a Foreign Student in college or dare seek his
    transcripts or papers. Nor were we to question his many radical acquaintances
    or rabid spiritual directors and felonious benefactors for this would only
    prove we were obviously vehement white racists or Uncle Toms wanting to see our
    first Black president fail. Never mind his anti-Catholic inhumane senatorial
    record of three times blocking legislative attempts to allow life saving
    medical help for infant survivors of botched abortions. This from a man now so
    intent on providing health care to those without it!! What hypocrisy. His
    notorious championing of free contraception and unfettered abortion for women
    and high school girls are among his most cherished anti-Catholic accomplishments
    as he is pictured standing beside a host of his Roman Catholic political
    friends, you and I know them by name, all who have been asked by their bishops
    to refrain from presenting themselves at communion and as yet refuse to comply.

    He shocked many of his black followers and their stunned pastors
    when he came out of his long held and hidden social doctrine and announced his
    unbridled approval of gay marriage declaring the need for all states to accept
    and acknowledge this anti-Christian anti-Catholic policy and make it the law of
    the land.

    And now we have in our midst his signature legislation, a must have Marxist mandate in order to take control of the most important rudimentary aspect of our lives (next to the current campaign to indoctrination all our children through CCC education),
    illegally begotten in congress and declared constitutional by a Catholic
    justice who actually saved it from defeat by redefining the imposed “fees”
    renaming them “taxes” which Obama’s administration had been swearing they were
    before it went before the court. It has now, thank God, been shown to be a
    disastrous debacle as piece by piece of it instead of being beneficial for the
    nation’s healthcare system is actually destroying or dismantling the whole
    structure. Even as the president continues to lie to the people about its contents
    (political correctness must be sacrificed if we expect to survive this regime)
    it is yet to be determined if this is simply a monumental blunder or part of
    (let’s use a term from the liberal playbook) a vast left wing conspiracy to
    drive us to the presidents ultimate dream of a single payer federal healthcare
    system.

    History will provide the answer for us just as it has revealed that the once proud party of the working man was high jacked and infiltrated by Marxist communists in preparation for Obama’s transformation as predicted clearly years ago by Premier Nikita Khrushchev himself.

    But facts and history have no place in the minds of those carried away in rapture for and of this very anti-Catholic anti-Christian president.

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