Voting & Civic Activity
For the last few months I've been more concerned about social unrest than the pandemic. So, I began to preach and write about foundational issues of our faith and of morality. I've also mentioned many times the relationship between philosophy and human actions. We ought to figure out a person's basic assumptions and underlying philosophy in order to know where they're coming from and where they'll likely go.
October is Respect Life Month. This is an opportune time to talk about the various respect life issues. Currently, our bishops identify abortion as the preeminent issue facing our country. Abortion is intrinsically evil. There are nearly 1 million surgical abortions per year in our country. That doesn't include all the chemical abortions which may be an additional 3 to 5 million. The numbers are just astounding. The violence of abortion also leads to a multitude of other problems for our country.
My responsibility as a priest is to preach and teach about faith and morals including how they apply to public life. The laity have the responsibility to integrate the Church's teaching into their daily lives and go out into the public square and work for the common good. When it comes to voting, the laity need to research where candidates stand on the issues and what their record shows about their commitments.
The Church does not endorse candidates, but the Church is eager to work with the government and various organizations for the common good. The Church has a responsibility to speak about faith and morals which is her expertise. The Church is not an expert in other areas of life.
Lately, I think it's been easier to apply what I say and write to the 11/3 election partly because we're getting closer to it and partly because October is Respect Life Month. Even so, I'm also addressing the foundations of our society. And I'm laying groundwork for what we'll do after the election - no matter what happens.
So, I frequently say in a variety of ways that we need to be put God first in our lives. After putting God first, we then need to love our neighbor. Many would agree that our society is getting worse. How are we going to bottom out and then improve? I predict that it'll be God working through us faithful Catholics who soften the bottoming out and lead the way for rebuilding our society. Let's start now. Pray, learn, and take action.
Here are some resources to help us figure out who to vote for and what our roles in society are.
Bishop O'Connell's essay on voting
Bishop O'Connell's respect life essay
Statement of the Catholic Bishops on New Jersey on the Reproductive Freedom Act
Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship
Guide to Moral Duties Concerning Voting
God love you,
Fr. Jim O'Neill
on Wednesday, October 14 at 12:07PM