Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s,
As you are all well aware, we are now one month away from election day. Over the last few months, I have been receiving many questions about the upcoming election. All of them are motivated by a sincere desire to have the best for our country. What makes those conversations difficult is that neither I as a pastor nor the Church can endorse any particular candidate. As a help, though, I want to point us to two documents whose goal is to instruct us on the most critical issues in the upcoming election so we can make as informed a decision as possible on election day.
The first is from the Michigan Catholic Conference. It examines conscience formation and provides questions and thoughts for consideration before voting. This helpful guide addresses the following nine categories:
Human Life and Dignity
Preferential Option for the Poor
Children and Families
Immigrants and Refugees
Care for Creation
For each category, it also offers the examples of saints who were examples of living them well.
The second is a document released by the United States Council of Catholic Bishops on what the formation of our consciences means. I have included one small quote here:
“The Church equips its members to address political and social questions by helping them to develop a well-formed conscience. Catholics have a serious and lifelong obligation to form their consciences in accord with human reason and the teaching of the Church. Conscience is not something that allows us to justify doing whatever we want, nor is it a mere “feeling” about what we should or should not do. Rather, conscience is the voice of God resounding in the human heart, revealing the truth to us and calling us to do what is good while shunning what is evil. Conscience always requires serious attempts to make sound moral judgments based on the truths of our faith. As stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, ‘Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he is going to perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed. In all he says and does, man is obliged to follow faithfully what he knows to be just and right’ (no. 1778).”
The patron saint of politicians is St. Thomas More. His final words were: “I die the king’s good servant, but God’s first.” That is our goal: to be faithful citizens in our country, but God’s first. St. Thomas More, pray for us!