As you know, this coming November 8th all citizens of this country are called to exercise their right to vote with the purpose of choosing the next President of the United States. This is an event of great importance in the life of any nation, electing the head of its political life. American Catholics are called to vote in this election, respecting their conscience and the moral standards found in the Gospel and the social doctrine of the Church.
I want to remind you, first of all, that legitimate authority comes from God himself: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” (Rm 13, 1-2.) This is precisely why that, in exercising their responsibilities, public authorities must follow God’s will and respect fundamental human rights. When public authorities separate themselves from obedience to the divine commandments, they abuse the power that has been entrusted to them and lose the right to be obeyed by their citizens. As explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1902, quoting St. Thomas of Aquinas’ teachings, laws that go against God’s will are actually “a form of violence” that a disciple of Christ cannot accept. Sadly, History offers us many tragic examples of this.
As pastor of this community, I claim my right to talk about these major issues for the importance they have not only for the good of this nation, but also for the consequences posed for the salvation of the souls entrusted to me. “I preach the gospel…and woe to me if I do not preach it!” (1 Cor 9.16) This is, in reality, a right of the Church itself, which is teacher of faith and has the obligation to proclaim, privately and publicly, the entire message of salvation, which also includes the social dimension of the human being. Exercising the right to vote is also a duty for the Christian, who cannot walk away from the issues that affect the society he lives in. In the next few weeks, I’ll be speaking about some issues that I believe are important to consider before deciding which party -which candidate- to vote for. I want to be clear that I do not intend to address a full range of the issues (it would be impossible in such little time and space), but rather emphasize key elements that a Catholic should consider carefully before going to the polls on November 8th. In these talks I will use certain foundational documents: the Catechism of the Catholic Church and The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, as well the teaching of the Popes and the American bishops, particularly those of our beloved Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted.
I would like to inform everyone that this weekend we will distribute free of charge updated copies of the book, Catholics in the Public Square, written by the Bishop of Phoenix. I encourage everyone to read this brief and clear document slowly over the next few days to learn, in a succinct and concise way, the main elements that should be taken into consideration in order to vote with the mindset of the Church and in fidelity to the Gospel.
May God bless you.