Monday, November 7, 2016

New Evangelizers Post: The Place of Practical Politics

I have a new article up at  

With the election tomorrow, people are very much concerned with the result. This is understandably so since whoever we elect will in effect not only be leader of our country by leader of the free world. I have spoken to many devout people, however, who have great reservations about the candidates from both political parties. For them, Election Day is not about choosing the best candidate, but choosing the candidate who is the least bad.

And people put a lot of themselves into their politics. Some people are even defined by their political beliefs. For these people, come Wednesday morning, they may be either incredibly pleased or horribly crushed.

But how is a Catholic to view the election?

First of all, it is important to understand the proper place that politics should have in our lives.
We live in a democratic republic. As such, the responsibility of self-governance falls on us. Because of this freedom we enjoy, we must use that freedom wisely by making informed decisions. This is not merely good citizenship, this is a moral obligation.

The US Catechism says “Catholics must participate in political life and bring to bear upon it – by their voice and their vote – what they have learned about human nature, human destiny, and God’s will for human begins from his self-revelation.” (501-502)

When it comes to how we should vote, the US Catechism says, “Catholics have the duty to vote, to participate in the political arena, and to help shape society in light of Catholic teaching.” (380)

In other words, we have a moral obligation to promote the good and an obligation to not promote the bad. We incur sin on ourselves if we vote for things which are intrinsically evil. For example, if your state put a ballot initiative to legalize euthanasia, you would be committing sin if you voted for that initiative because euthanasia is an intrinsic evil.

But there is a wrinkle when it comes to voting for candidates for public office. It is incredibly unlikely that any candidate will be perfect. The two major political parties both often find themselves on the wrong side of the moral line. Democrats tend to be closer to the Catholic Church’s position on the death penalty but horrible when it comes to the intrinsic evil of abortion. Republican candidates tend to be better regarding the unborn but many are open to allowing torture of terrorist prisoners, also and intrinsic evil.

So what is a Catholic to do? Are you allowed to vote for a candidate who supports and intrinsic evil?

You can read the entire article here.

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