Monday, January 14, 2008

Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics

I pulled out my old copy of the Catholic Answers Action publication “Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics” this weekend, intending to pass it along to our pastor. My intent is to offer to purchase a large number of the guide for distribution at our parish. Along the way I got into a discussion with a fellow schola member about the issues that are (as Catholic Answers describes it) nonnegotiable.

While I was lamenting the fact that so many Catholics seem to be uninformed about those key moral issues of importance to faithful Catholics, he was mentioning that some of those same faithful Catholics seemed to think that it was an ‘all-or-nothing’ deal. In other words, if the candidate doesn’t fit the bill completely, it was unacceptable to vote for him. The idea of voting as faithfully as possible and, perhaps at times, choosing a ‘lesser evil’ seems to be anathema to some of those folks. As a result, the possible power of such a moral voting bloc is diminished.

I am also quite often dismayed by how many ‘devout’ Catholics have become ‘cafeteria’ Catholics on some of these moral issues. The big five – abortion, euthanasia, human embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and homosexual marriage – are not necessarily identified as such by many… For some people, providing universal healthcare, eliminating the death penalty, unlimited (illegal) immigration from Mexico, and a possible cure for Parkinson’s disease outweigh what the church has to say on these key issues. So, even if a particular candidate doesn’t score so well on the ‘life issues’, but is a strong supporter of a person’s favorite issue, they feel completely free to vote for him (since none of the other candidates is perfect, either).

I wonder how much these guides help – I have to hope they do some good to those who read them. But I think an opening of the heart to the Church teachings is required… that is a much more difficult thing for many.

No comments: