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Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
December 9, 2007

Whom to Vote For, That is the Question!

      As the day nears for the primaries, we seem to become more and more confused on who to vote for.  Regardless of whether we are Republican or Democrat or Independent we find ourselves starring at the television, mesmerized at all the information that is being sent our way.  If only it would be as simple as the old adage, mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?  But, alas, we know this is not the case so we continue to listen and to read. 
   
    The following information is a paraphrase and summary of material taken from a paper prepared for Catholic voters.  Hopefully it will help with the voting process.  Perhaps we can begin with how a Catholic Christian should not vote.  We should never vote simply on a Gut feeling, i.e., on how a candidate sounds or looks or comes across through the media.  This is a very dangerous and very shallow way of making a political decision.  Secondly, we should not base ourselves on candidates who “look” good thanks to the media.  The media has become very influential on the campaign trail over the few decades.  They know what to stress and what not to stress in order to encourage or discourage the vote for certain candidates.  Being physically or emotionally attracted to candidates is never a mature nor is it an acceptable way of voting.

    What then must we base ourselves on?  First and foremost, we must base ourselves on our well formed conscience.  How does this happen?  Primarily, it happens  by becoming well informed about the facts. We cannot vote in conscience if we do not know what the candidates espouse.  Once we know the facts we must make a prudent decision in light of what conscience knows.  Also, we must always remember that a good end never justifies the means. 

    Two points that Catholics often forget when making a moral decision is that l. all issues are not morally equivalent and 2. we cannot reduce catholic teaching to one or two issues.  Focusing on one single issue cannot possibly espouse the entire Gospel message nor does it support Catholic social teaching.

    It often happens that Catholics find themselves in a bind when attempting to choose the best candidate for our political democracy.  The following are questions most often asked by Catholic voters. 

    Are all Catholic voters obliged to vote in the same manner on public policy matters?
    No.  With respect to some public policy issues, faithful Catholics will adopt a variety of positions as they sincerely exercise their prudential judgment.  For example, Catholics may have legitimately different approaches to health care, stragegies for fostering economic justice and ways of ending way.  There are some acts that we should reject as always wrong however. . . evil acts are never justified even by appealing to a so-called greater good, such as “ending suffering” or find a cure for a disease of another human person.  Catholic social teaching also states that warfare which accepts the direct and intentional killing of innocent civilians is always seriously wrong.  A Catholic should never perform or support such eveil acts and rely on conscience to justify it.  On the other hand, a Catholic must look at the entire spectrum of issues and attempt to identify those issues that may be causing of affecting the decision process of these evil acts. 
                        (Continued in next week’s issue.)