Vote Your Conscience

We’re less than two months away from Election Day in the U.S. As Catholics, we vote according to our conscience, not according to political party or candidate. God gives us our consciences (His voice within us) and the Church helps to form them. So, on behalf of the Church, I’ll be presenting the best materials and information that I can find to form and inform your consciences for the current election. Here is a general article from a Catholic perspective to get us started.

May you know the peace of Christ,

Fr Greg

Seeing Trump vs Clinton Through Catholic Eyes

by John L. Allen, Jr.,

September 12, 2016

While there’s plenty of time for things to change between now and Nov. 8, most polls at the moment seem to suggest that Hillary Clinton has a less complicated path to the presidency than Donald Trump, especially in terms of the Electoral College map.

In a political season in which the formerly inconceivable has become the new normal, however, predictions of any sort probably ought to be taken with a grain of salt…

Seen through Catholic eyes, each seems to suggest serious challenges, but also that the Church in America has a fairly unique potential to make a difference.

Divisions run deep

It’s hardly new that there are deep divisions in America, but a striking aspect of the 2016 campaign is that it suggests just how profound the estrangement has become.

On one side, many conservative Americans will side reluctantly with Trump on the basis that they find voting for Clinton and what they perceive her to represent utterly inconceivable. The same, of course, will be true of many Clinton voters vis-à-vis Trump.

In other words, the election probably will be decided less by what people are voting for, than by what they’re against.

In such a polarized culture, the remarkable thing about the Catholic Church is that it’s one of the few national institutions that contain large populations of people on all sides, and whose senior leadership reflects widely differing temperaments and options.

Conservatives, for instance, see figures such as Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles Chaput as heroes, while liberals have been cheered by the rise of Chicago’s Archbishop Blase Cupich. Centrists, to the extent such an animal still exists in American life, have Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington as a point of reference.

In other words, the Church has an interlocutor for pretty much everyone, which positions it to be one of the lone venues in which a post-election conversation about how to move forward could occur.

Metastasizing rage

Rage against the machine has been perhaps the single dominant storyline about America in 2016, from the spate of police shootings over the summer of African-Americans fomenting perceptions of bias, to working-class white resentment over jobs and cultural shifts that often form the basis of Trump’s appeal.

All this, of course, is exacerbated by the explosion of social media and the culture of insta-attack, of demeaning and demonizing people with whom one disagrees, it often seems to foster…

Catholicism, because it speaks the languages of virtually all the various angry parties out there – whether those languages are metaphorical, reflecting different ideologies and socio-economic situations, or actual, such as the distinction between English and Spanish – may have the country’s pastoral corps best positioned to address our rapidly metastasizing rage.

No matter who wins, the dynamics of the 2016 race undeniably illustrate some worrying trends in American life. Yet they also suggest that if Catholicism can deploy its resources wisely, it has a fairly unique chance to be in America that “expert in humanity” Pope Paul VI long ago said it aspires to be for the whole world.