Tuesday, November 8th is Election Day and, as all are aware, this year the next President and Vice President of the United States will be chosen. I encourage you to vote.
In this country we enjoy freedom at the voting booth to choose those who serve us in government. It is both a privilege and a duty to participate in the election of our government officials. The next President and Vice President are chosen by the people and then sworn into office, which is a testimony to our democratic process. The winner may not end up being the candidate of your choice but the decision of the people is accepted through the election, which guarantees a peaceful transition of our government.
It is not the praxis of our church to tell you for whom you should cast your ballot. Nor is it the business of your bishop or your pastor. However, it is our praxis to urge you to exercise responsible citizenship by making your choice at the poll. As a Catholic, it is essential that you educate yourself on the issues that are critical to our nation and weigh them against our Catholic teachings in order to make an informed decision. Participation in the electoral process is an obligation of good citizenship and the church instructs us to be good citizens.
That is clearly stated in The Catechism of the Catholic Church in which we read, “as far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life” (no. 1913). This teaching is found in the section on the common good which concerns the lives of all people. “Co-responsibility for the common good makes it morally obligatory to exercise the right to vote” (no. 2240), which is found in the section of The Catechism on the duties of citizens. Both of these teachings of the church are included in Part 3 of the Catechism, which is titled “Life In Christ,” a theological presentation about what it means to be incorporated into Christ and to follow Him. In other words, for a Catholic, civic duties, such as voting, flow from both our Baptismal identity and faith in Christ.
The church in the United States makes available a guide to assist us in understanding the variety of issues that concern the common good of the nation. The Challenge of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship is produced by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. It examines these issues from the perspective of our Catholic faith and is designed to assist a voter to make informed choices. The guide is available at www.faithfulcitizenship.org. Another resource is available through the New Jersey Catholic Conference at www.njcatholic.org/issues. Both of these sources offer sound faith-filled advice for Catholic voters.
The role of the laity in public life is clear. Voting on Election Day, November 8 is one way to exercise that role. As people of faith, all Catholics must be concerned about who represents us in government and about public policies which affect our lives and the lives of many throughout the world.
Don’t stay home on Election Day. Be a good Catholic and VOTE.