As committed Catholics, we face a challenge each election season. How can we cast our votes in a manner that upholds our values and beliefs? Here are some considerations to guide you through this pivotal process.
Firstly, there’s no such thing as a “unified Catholic vote”. While the core principles of our faith are unchanging, their application in political matters can differ greatly. What’s vital, however, is for every Catholic to strive to be informed and vote in a deliberate and conscious manner. There’s a lot at stake.
The vote and the Church’s social doctrine
The Church’s Social Doctrine (CSD) is an invaluable guide for those seeking to vote in line with their faith. It reminds us that voting isn’t just a right, but also a civic duty. As such, we must seek the common good and the dignity of the person when choosing our representatives.
Human dignity and life
The CSD’s principles underscore the infinite value of human life from conception to natural death. A committed Catholic should consider as a non-negotiable condition the stance of political parties on this key issue and observe those parties that infringe on this principle. We need to understand party stances on issues like abortion and euthanasia.
Religious freedom, a fundamental human right, is another key area to consider. We have a duty to reflect on and analyze the proposals, the actions committed, and, in general, the stance that political parties adopt towards this fundamental right. Restrictions on religious education in schools are a clear example that infringes upon this right.
The rights of parents in their children’s education
The Catholic Church fervently defends the rights of parents to educate their children because it considers this inherent to their role as primary educators and formers of their offspring. The family is the fundamental core of society. It is the parents’ responsibility to transmit their values and beliefs to their children, and formal education should extend and support this initial and ongoing formation that occurs at home. Some political postulates infringe on this right, like limitations on public funding for single-sex education or for state-subsidized schools.
Marriage and family
The Catholic Church defends the dignity and respect towards all people, regardless of their sexual orientation. However, it also has clear stances on certain topics like marriage and family, which can conflict with some postulates defended by some (or nearly all) political parties. Recognizing and respecting the dignity of LGBTIQ+ individuals is one thing, but seeking to redefine the traditional concept of family or imposing sex education in schools without the possibility of parental choice is another. Don’t get confused. The former is good, the latter is bad.
Social justice, which encompasses everything from workers’ rights to assistance for the most needy like dependents or our elders, is also an important aspect to consider when casting our vote. As Catholics, we should analyze which proposals are most consistent with our faith.
Information is key
Information is vitally important throughout this process. We shouldn’t vote based solely on slogans or empty promises, but on solid knowledge of party positions and how they align with our values and beliefs. Get to the heart of matters, not just the surface. Investigating, reading, and even respectful discussion, are essential steps in this process. CEU CEFAS has, among other things, this mission.
Conclusion: vote conscientiously
Every Catholic must vote conscientiously. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “a well-formed conscience is upright and truthful”. This means we must form our conscience through study and reflection, and then follow its guidance when casting our vote.
Lastly, we invite you to read the CEU CEFAS article titled ‘Lesser Evil’ to reflect on this concept that, unfortunately, is often brandished as elections approach.
Once again, there’s a lot at stake.