No matter which side of the isle you are on, we can all agree that this election season has been a wild ride. We have been encouraging everyone to “Civilize It” by pledging to civilized dialogue this election season. With all of the scandals, low blows, and yelling over the past few months, you may be tempted to sit this one out.
Even though you may feel disenfranchised, you should still vote on Tuesday. Voting is a moral act, and our morals should be the guide to how we cast our vote.
“Politics…is one of the highest forms of charity, because it serves the common good.” – Pope Francis
The Catholic Church is not red or blue, right or left, Democrat or Republican. She speaks with her own voice. You might be surprised to find that the Church offers some reliable guidance on how to cast your vote on Tuesday.
Five ways the Catholic Church can help you vote:
Form your Conscience
Don’t automatically fall in line with party politics. Vote your conscience. In order to vote your conscience you have to do the work to form a good conscience. Catholics look to reason, Sacred Scripture and Catholic Social and Moral Teaching to help us.
The virtue of prudence helps us decide what is good in a particular context and to choose the right way of achieving that good. The ends do not always justify the means. For Catholics, human life and dignity is paramount. All public policy must have that as its end, and the means must always protect it.
Always do good and avoid evil
Do not fall into the trap of choosing “the lesser of two evils.” The Catholic Church reminds us to always do good and always avoid evil. Some things are always wrong and should always be opposed: abortion, euthanasia, human cloning, destruction of human embryos, genocide, torture, racism, and targeting non-combatants in war are always evil and should be vigorously opposed.
Use Prudential Judgement
Sometimes there doesn’t seem to be any good choice when trying to vote in a moral way. Prudential judgment is used to help you determine what is the best possible route to take – even if it only partially or gradually gets us there.
Believe it or not, prayer can change things. If you are still forming your conscience and do not know how you will vote on Tuesday, ask for the grace of a well formed conscience that will have the prudence to choose the good and avoid evil. Here is a simple prayer that will get you started:
Lord God, as the election approaches,
we seek to better understand the issues and concerns that confront our city/state/country,
and how the Gospel compels us to respond as faithful citizens in our community.
We ask for eyes that are free from blindness
so that we might see each other as brothers and sisters,
one and equal in dignity,
especially those who are victims of abuse and violence, deceit and poverty.
We ask for ears that will hear the cries of children unborn and those abandoned,
Men and women oppressed because of race or creed, religion or gender.
We ask for minds and hearts that are open to hearing the voice of leaders who will bring us closer to your Kingdom.
We pray for discernment
so that we may choose leaders who hear your Word,
live your love,
and keep in the ways of your truth
as they follow in the steps of Jesus and his Apostles
and guide us to your Kingdom of justice and peace.
We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Looking for more information on how to form your conscience? Read Forming Conscience for Faithful Citizenship before you vote!