“In the depths of his conscience, man detects a law … always summoning him to love good and avoid evil, the voice of conscience [which] speaks to his heart…” Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes
The midterm elections are less than 100 days away. Now is time to review our duties and responsibilities as Catholics in the public square. Don’t wait until the last moment.
Many complex and important issues face voters in this Midterm election. The overturning of Roe versus Wade makes these elections even more important and not, as some would suppose, less important. This decision did NOT outlaw abortion, it merely returned the responsibility to regulate abortions to the people of the various states, increasing the significance of the many state and local elections along with many other issues.
Our responsibility as citizens and Catholics calls us to have properly formed consciences, a continuous process based on Scripture and Church teaching.
Church and Catholic organizations, dioceses, parishes, and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) publish various documents and guides to help, including the USCCB document, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. All human beings are obligated to follow our properly formed consciences meaning our efforts should be directed at the common good. We need this regular review because man’s conscience “by degrees grows practically sightless as a result of habitual sin” (Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes) as is evident by what is occurring in society and the Church today.
The issues include abortion, euthanasia, in-vitro-fertilization, human cloning, and research on human embryos, all intrinsic evils which can never be supported. “One may never do evil so that good may result from it.” (CCC 1789) These are sins. Being compassionate toward sinners does NOT mean we condone their sin. An intrinsic evil is something that, by its very nature, is evil. Abortion is an intrinsic evil because it takes an innocent life (and also harms the mother).
Other important issues include the family, religious freedom, freedom of speech, homosexual activities (not inclination, the action is the sin), transgender mutilation, especially of minors, racism, poverty, etc. Gaudium et Spes notes the importance of the individual AND the family which encompasses many issues including gender dysphoria, school choice, parental rights, etc.
We must also look at the background information about potential choices. So, while an issue like immigration and border security may seem straightforward, one must consider the effects of open borders on the common good because of the drug trafficking, crime, human trafficking, the rapes that are taking place at the border, etc.
Consider which candidate or party supports:
- Intrinsic evils?
- Church and societal interests (religious freedom, school choice, free speech, etc.)? The sanctity of the family? The elderly? Marriage and marital relations?
- Truth and transparency? Personal responsibility?
- The fullness of human sexuality as taught by the Church (e.g., the complementarity of the sexes, reality of birth gender, etc.)?
Some final thoughts:
“The refusal to take sides on great moral issues is itself a decision. It is a silent acquiescence to evil.” Bishop Fulton Sheen
“It is obvious that truth cannot be created through ballots. A statement is either true or false. Truth can only be found, not created.” (then) Cardinal Ratzinger, The Ratzinger Report, 1985
NOTE: The Tablet, the Brooklyn Diocesan Newspaper, published an edited version here.