Choose Life

A few weeks ago, I started our conversation about the upcoming election.  My main point was that Catholics vote according to our consciences, not according to political party or candidate.  And, our consciences are formed by the Lord through the Church.  So, that leads to the question: what does the Church say about this election?  In your bulletin, we’ve included the brief document from the U.S. bishops that will be your best resource for November 8, in my opinion, “The Challenge of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.”

I would rather have you read the bishops’ words than mine, so I just want to make one point about the document.  While this election campaign has been unlike any that we’ve seen in our lifetimes and the issues seem more complex than ever, protecting human life is still the most important issue.  Recently when I was praying about this, the words of the Book of Deuteronomy clearly echoed in my head: “Choose life” (Deut 30:19).  Those two words guide us through this and every election.

The bishops write that protecting human life is the “preeminent (surpassing all others) requirement,” listing it first among public policies that should concern Catholics most.  They refer to abortion as the “preeminent example” of an intrinsic evil act that “must always be rejected and never supported…it must always be opposed.”

How does the virtue of prudence help us to know how to choose life in this election?  One line from the document has helped me to answer this in many elections:  “a candidate’s position on a single issue that involves an intrinsic evil, such as support for legal abortion or the promotion of racism, may legitimately lead a voter to disqualify a candidate from receiving support.”

Unfortunately, it seems like we’re always having to take this negative approach and choose the ‘lesser of two evils’ in elections, but this is what prudence calls us to do in the midst of intrinsic (inherent, natural) evils. Ultimately, though, the words of Deuteronomy are a positive guide for elections.

Choose life.

May you know the peace of Christ,

Fr Greg