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Fr. Shenan Boquet

Opinion, , ,

A Catholic obligation to vote November 4

Fr. Shenan Boquet
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“We encourage all citizens, particularly Catholics, to embrace their citizenship not merely as a duty and privilege, but as an opportunity meaningfully to participate in building the Culture of Life. Every voice matters in the public forum. Every vote counts. Every act of responsible citizenship is an exercise of significant individual power.”  - United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholics, #34

It is with great urgency that I ask you to vote this coming election day. We need moral and ethical leaders who will fully support the protection of traditional marriage and family instituted by God, uphold the inviolable dignity of every person from conception to natural death and heroically stand against the aggressive assault on our religious freedoms.

To simply cast a vote for civic duty’s sake isn’t enough. Voting for individuals and laws must always be based on Catholic moral teaching and natural law. Having a well-formed conscience means holding to permanent, non-negotiable moral and ethical principles that affirm a Culture of Life. Essentially, preserving and establishing the right to life supersedes all other rights; all other natural rights depend upon the existence of life and do not take precedence as explained by Pope Saint John Paul II:

The inviolability of the person, which is a reflection of the absolute inviolability of God, finds its primary and fundamental expression in the inviolability of human life. Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights — for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture — is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition of all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination . . .” (The Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World, Christifideles laici, #38).

We are called as citizens to vote by the light of Faith, making sound judgments regarding each candidate’s stance on key moral issues. Although a heavy responsibility, your vote – cast with a well-formed Catholic conscience – can have an impact on the direction of our country, and even how we deal with other countries. We must exercise our right to vote, otherwise we become part of the complacent majority that allow the sin of legalized abortion to continue robbing the most basic of human rights from our nation’s most innocent and vulnerable of citizens.

Granted, we must do more than vote in accordance with Church teaching, we must also take every possible opportunity to defend life and family in our own communities, and in whatever sphere we have influence. But we must vote, and we must use our vote well.

“A well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or individual law that contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals” (Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith: Doctrinal Notes on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life, #4).

Therefore, I propose three actions leading up to this coming election day, November 4.

Pray for the election of leaders.
For weeks now, our staff members have prayed after every Mass for the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the defense of life and family during this election. Our internal prayer campaign asks for the conversion of all members of Congress and those working in the U.S. government, who are promoting the Culture of Death here in our country and around the world. Please pray in unity with Our Lady, the patroness of the unborn and HLI, for the election of leaders who will humbly and justly serve our great nation. I encourage you to share our campaign prayer in English and Spanish with your friends and family.

Be informed about the candidates and their positions.
To know the candidates and their positions, take full advantage of Catholic voter guides, an essential tool for casting informed votes that advocate for moral and ethical candidates or legislation. I highly recommend purchasing and sharing the Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics, published by our friends at Catholic Answers. Here is an online version which should be read and shared with as many voters as possible before election day.

Vote with a well-formed conscience that is unconditionally pro-life.
We are responsible for the formation of our consciences and for choosing as wisely as possible from among the laws and candidates on our ballots. Whenever possible, we must vote for candidates who stand with the Church on ending abortion, defending traditional marriage, and opposing euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research and human cloning.

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Some choices will be tough to make, but a voter with a well-formed Christian conscience will choose wisely in order to limit the potential harm caused by laws and candidates who support destructive anti-life policies. A person’s well-formed conscience is “ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1776).

This is exactly why our country’s upcoming elections are too crucial to dismiss. I encourage you to go to the polls next Tuesday, November 4, and cast your vote based on the “non-negotiable ethical principles, which are the underpinning of life in society” (Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith’s Doctrinal Notes on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life, #3).

May God bless our nation and bless the results from this important election – and give us the courage, as a nation, to authentically live the Gospel of Life.

Reprinted with permission from Human Life International.

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