“Are you going to get out and vote?” This Tuesday, November 8th is Election Day! a day in which we choose and vote for the candidate(s) we hope will lead our state and country in a positive direction. I think I reflect a lot of the people’s feelings and disappointment when I say, “I am getting tired of all the personal attacks, charged rhetoric, and out of context sound bites. Candidates use this on both sides against the opposing party, all of which we must listen to constantly.” Wouldn’t it be great if those who wish to serve in public office would simply stick to the issues and policies at hand and speak about what they support and hope to accomplish while in office rather than trying to bash each other’s character. Oh well, “That’s politics!” and I might add, “Fallen human nature!”
With all the negative campaigning, the temptation for us is to simply not vote. Despite its difficulties, I feel that would be a bad decision. Here’s why: As the Bishops of Minnesota have stated, our role as Catholics is to be “prayerful, active, and responsible participants” in the political process and do so with an “informed conscience.” This is so that our voice is heard. Although I, as your pastor, and the Roman Catholic Church as an institution, cannot publically endorse any single candidate or party for fear of losing our “tax-exempt and non-profit status” we can promote, support, and defend certain public issues and polices. It is up to each of us then, as individual voters, to choose those candidates who best represents our faith, morals, and values. If you have a chance please read Bishop Kettler’s article in the October 7, 2016 issue of the Visitor as he describes to us what “Faithful Citizenship” and voting is all about. Also, feel free to check out our Parish Website to hear from the other Bishops of Minnesota.
Some of the policies and issues that best represent our beliefs are as follows: 1) First and foremost is to protect the sacredness of all human life from conception to natural death. This is a policy the National Conference of the Catholic Bishops have also said is priority one, since from it flows so many other important issues. 2) Second, the protection of families and traditional marriage which is the foundation of all society. 3) Promoting religious freedom, education, health care, preferential option to the poor, world peace, and the saving of our environment, etc. These issues too are very important as they reflect what we value as Christians. Obviously, there are many other issues to consider as well, yet as the Bishops of Minnesota have said, try to look beyond the personal attacks and read where each candidate truly stands. “Be an informed Catholic!”
Personally, I try to remind myself that we are not just electing a new President, but also other members of Congress who will represent us and also influence our policies and guide our state and nation. This being said, I encourage everyone to “Get out and vote!” and don’t forget that regardless of whoever wins, we as Christians and Catholics are called to continually pray for our local, state and national leaders, that the Holy Spirit will guide them.