It seems almost ever conversation these days ends with, “Father I want to ask you about the election.” People are genuinely concerned more than I ever remember before. It is the dirge constantly playing behind every conversation waiting to come to full volume.
Among many Catholics, there is a profound sadness. Nobody is, and nobody has for quite some time fully represent us. Like King David angering God by numbering his people and having to face one of three punishments, we always seems to be asking, not who will best lead us, but who will do the least amount of damage.
The Pope was asked about this conundrum and according to a CNS article he simply said that Catholics facing difficult political choices must study the issues, pray about the election and then vote according to their consciences. He would never comment on a specific electoral campaign. "The people are sovereign," he said. "Study the proposals well, pray and choose in conscience.”
So what is one to do? The first is to be well formed. It is not about what I may feel, what seems fair, or what I like. We are a people of the Creed and that is something that we receive through faith in God in the Church. We are formed by it, we do not form it. It informs and forms us and makes us one in faith.
The Catholic who has studied his faith at all knows that there are some things that far outweigh the other. Issues about the economy are extremely important but it is dust on the scales when compared to the taking of the lives of the most vulnerable and innocent among us. If the economy tanks, we may lose every penny we have a suffer terribly for it. If we blindly allow the taking of innocent life as a right paid for by our taxes in order to have a better economy, then we have lost our very souls. That has eternal consequences. (See yesterday's post for resources.)
After being formed, we must be INformed. “Study the proposals well,” says Pope Francis. That does not mean turning up the volume when a political add is on T.V.
Then pray whether you have made up your mind or not. Someone else may need the prayer. Do it seriously. Make a holy hour. Consider doing a fast of some kind. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has a novena for the election. Pray first and then vote.
If you have done all of these things, then rest assured that you have done all that you can do at this point. Stay informed and look for the next opportunity to be involved.