The voting season is upon us which makes me wonder about two things: 1. our ability to think clearly with the mind of the Church, and 2. whether people will take the time to vote.
First, I think it is safe to say we live in a time more politically polarized time than ever. We are more likely to see the world in terms of “liberal” or “conservative.” Yet, the mind of the Church is focused on Jesus and the teachings of his Apostles. Remember our Creed we say each week? Political thinking robs too many of us of vision to think, see, and act as the Bride of Christ would. When a bill or law is debated, how one analyzes the discussion will reveal whether one is politically minded first or Church-minded first. If the most potent terms of analysis are “liberal” or “conservative” rather than “faithful” or “orthodox” then politics is first in one’s mind. Political camps on these two fronts see the other’s ideologies as inherently bad. Yet, the Bible and the Church are both liberal and conservative, both seek out liberty and freedom as well as preserve the truths which have been handed on to us. In many ways, society doesn’t understand Jesus or his Church. Prophetically, Jesus said:
To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn. ’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners. ’ But wisdom is vindicated by her works” (Matt. 11:16-19).
Seeking out the lost and keeping company with those who are sinners is what Jesus came here to do. At the same time, he stood fast to the moral teachings, challenged corruption, and passed on and even fulfilled ancient covenantal rituals (think the connection with the Passover and the Mass) which we now hold on to so dearly. As Catholics, our goal is to be faithful not just liberal or conservative.
Secondly, in this season when we are being called to do our duty to participate in the process of civil government through voting, we need to steep our hearts and minds in the teachings of Jesus and his Apostles as well as the mind of the Church so as to form good consciences. Check out our webpage, stannegp.com, and read about the issues from the view of the Gospel of Christ. Read the Oregon Voters Pamphlet which should have been delivered in your mail already. If you have a computer, look up more details about questions you have regarding the issues on the ballot as well as persons running for various offices.
Finally, remember that people of good will are going to differ on issues and persons for whom to vote. This fact then calls us, above all, to charity in our thoughts, words, and actions. Please pray for God’s will to be done. Please take seriously the issues before us and vote. Your vote counts. Many issues and candidates have won or lost because of just a few votes. Do your duty as a Catholic and vote with your conscience informed by your faith.
Fr. William Holtzinger