Every single day I see posts or tweets telling me how to vote as a Catholic, as if there were such a thing as a Catholic vote. Spoiler…there isn’t.
I love Catholicism for numerous reasons, but one of my favorite things about being Catholic is that the church calls us to use our consciences when making moral decisions. This applies to all moral decisions, but the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) specifically talks about morality in relation to voting in the document, “Faithful Citizenship”. The Bishops state, “[We] bishops do not intend to tell Catholics for whom or against whom to vote. Our purpose is to help Catholics form their consciences in accordance with God’s truth.”
Thus, the challenge the church is tasked with is helping to form our consciences, not telling us what to do. This formation is tricky since it requires that we, as faithful Catholics, intentionally take the time to do the research and consider all facets of a moral situation before coming to a conclusion.
Some priests assume we are not capable of doing our own prayerful consideration, or that we do not care enough, so they decide it is necessary to proclaim their personal decision from the pulpit. But God did not put us on this earth, varied and beautifully diverse as we are, to simply follow the loudest voice. It is our responsibility to listen carefully to our leaders, pray, read scripture, and maybe most importantly right now, listen to the stories from those on the margins of society.
It is only when we listen fully to all voices involved that we are able to come to a moral decision honoring the universality of the church and our communal family.
I am also not going to tell you how to vote, but I do want to encourage you to really think about your decisions before sending in your ballot. (And don’t forget, this is not just about the President, many of us are voting for state and local leaders as well!) We have two months to do some serious research. Let’s go.
A few helpful links to get you started: