ROME, November 3, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – As the U.S. presidential election approaches, Christian voters attentively follow the clash of titans, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, in an electoral battle that leaves both sides speechless – for many reasons.
Archbishop Alexander Sample, who leads the Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon, spoke with LifeSiteNews about the election during his recent pilgrimage in Rome as part of a substantive interview on issues facing the Church and culture today.
His initial comment seems to convey a thought shared by many Catholics: “I would start by saying that, at least in my lifetime, as long as I have been voting for the office of president, there has never been a perfect candidate.”
“All candidates are flawed in some way or another,” he adds, and admits with sadness, “I have yet to see a candidate who perfectly lines up, if you will, with the principles a Catholic conscience in vote.”
“I think we need to get behind the façade of these two very flawed individuals and look at what is likely to happen during the potential presidency of these two and let that be our guide.”
This foresight should be focused on what really matters – human dignity and life, he said.
“According to the teachings of the Church – on the moral issues – that form and shape the culture in the society in which we live, we need to be guided by the teachings of Christ and the Church on moral issues.”
The lack of perfect candidates diminishes neither the imperative to actually go and vote nor the reflected discernment of the Catholic voter, he said.
Archbishop Sample is very realistic about what the focus must be: “As Catholic citizens look at these two candidates, my advice would be: get beyond the face and get beyond the people themselves and look behind them. What are the policies that these candidates are most likely to implement were they to become the president of our country? Look at what their stand is in the issues of greatest importance: what is their stance on the protection of life? Especially on the protection of the lives of the unborn, the elderly. I come from a state in the US that has physician assisted suicide.”
That is what everything boils down to, added the archbishop: “What their stance is in the life issues, which is the foundational stance in every election – the respect for the dignity of human life.”
Further, he said, “What is their position on marriage and family – the fabric and foundation for a healthy society? What is their position on the nature of marriage? What is their stance on the Church in the US, and religious liberty? In the United States religious liberty – not just of Catholics – is under real attack.”
Sample also looks ahead: He advises voters to look into the future, especially with respect to officials who could be put in office, particularly permanent office, by the candidates: “One thing that is of particular concern to me is the Supreme Court. There will be vacancies – there is one now – and there are likely to be more vacancies on our Supreme Court during the term of the next president. What kind of judge is most likely appointed to the high court by the candidates?”