I know it is hard to believe, but the silly season has begun again. Yes, it’s true, we are already seeing the dawn of the 2016 Presidential Campaign. We already have about 1,000 republican candidates who have announced their candidacies and three Democrats. And as always that brings up the question: How is a Catholic supposed to vote?
Now before you get all worked up, this post isn’t going to be about any particular candidate, that will more than likely come later as it is still too early to pick. Rather it is about how we as Catholics can make a conscionable choice when we go into that voting booth. And let me state up front, not voting is not an option.
I don’t remember where I saw this, but I know someone had a “Catholics Guide to Voting”. It might have been from the USCCB, if it was it isn’t there now (but there is this: Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship) and it had a list of the most important Catholic principles a candidate should have. For example, the candidate should be pro-life. And therein lies the problem. What do you do when they only have some of them? How do you rank them in importance? Can you even do that? And even if a candidate met all the criteria, would (or could) they win?
And therein lies the problem. What do you do when they only have some of them? How do you rank them in importance? Can you even do that? And even if a candidate met all the criteria, would (or could) they win?
The first problem is that there are a lot of almost Catholics out there. What is an almost Catholic? It is similar to a Wayward Catholic except they haven’t actually turned themselves around and realized the church teachings are right and they now embrace them. These are to folks like Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, pick a Kennedy, any Kennedy, who claim they are Catholic and think they are Catholic but don’t vote their faith.
I live in Massachusetts and we just elected a new governor and he is doing a good job. He is Catholic, but when he was campaigning he stated he believed in a woman’s right to choose. He said he was against abortion, but he said it was an individual choice. Can you be Catholic and pro-choice? No. Do you vote for that candidate? That goes back to the title of this post.
“In God I trust, in politicians I don’t”
Even if a candidate were to claim to be for all things Catholic, would he or she still be when they were elected? Or would they be corrupted by the power of the office? Unfortunately, I think they would be. Politics is all about power and money.
But let’s say God decided to give me a billion dollars with the only condition that I run for president and I had to follow all the teachings of the Catholic Church. And let’s assume I made it through the primaries and avoided all the smear campaigns and digging into my background (this is where I would truly need a miracle from God) and was nominated, could I win?
With over 78 million Catholics in the US, the largest single denomination in the country, if each one voted the Catholic should win, right? In theory they should but they probably wouldn’t. Think of what would happen, the opposition party, led by Satan himself would spread so many lies about the Catholic candidate, that all those luke-warm Catholics, and fallen away Catholics, wouldn’t vote for them. Satan would use his most potent weapon, temptation, to ensure that the other candidate would continue to promise more and more “free stuff” they would vote for that candidate.
Isn’t that how it is? Hasn’t Satan already been doing that? Enticing people with more and more goods, convincing them they are entitled to them and they don’t have to work for them? Tempting them with evil pleasures?
Can we turn this tide? That remains to be seen. We will continue to discuss the elections and who the best “Catholic” candidate will be, but for now, I would love to hear your comments. What do you think? Can we make a difference?