Friday, June 1, 2012

Catholics Care. Catholics Vote: Keeping Love in the Debate

Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, the bishops' call to political responsibility, is a high-profile document. One reason is that it deals with issues that have major ramifications for the lives and well being of people everywhere. Another is that it provides a guide for the intersection of the values of faith and the world of politics, certainly a tall and delicate order. But another reason it draws so much attention is probably the fact that it covers an area--politics--that everyone likes to fight about.

People like having their arguments validated. And what greater validation is there than to be able to say that the bishops--and by extension, God--agree with this political view or that? This gives rise to regarding Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship not as a guiding tool for understanding Church teaching and forming one's conscience by it but like a Catholic Rubik's Cube with a secret code to crack, a code that provides the definitive Catholic ideological view. And from such a vantage point, of course, a person is then free to attack every other ideological view and the people holding them.

And therein lies a problem. Catholics have a duty to be advocates for issues affecting the common good, both at the ballot box and year round. But they also have a duty to carry out this advocacy in a way that's worthy of their faith. This means not giving into the cultural mentality that it's okay to engage in the scorched earth, zero sum game that American politics have become. In Catholic teaching, ends do not justify means.

from USCCB Blog. Read the rest here.

No comments: