Catholics…vote for freedom, vote for our faith and vote for life!

Catholics during this election period are standing on the precipice waiting for the election of a new President of the United States. Strangely enough, the American Catholic Bishops have been moderately instructional to the Catholic followers, passively sitting on the sidelines while Catholics are wrestling with the choice of their political selections. In most cases the various Catholic newspapers that have elaborated on the Catholic responsibility to vote have relied on the document from the U.S.Bishops Conference, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, which clearly illustrates the Catholic responsibility to participate in voting for properly disposed political candidates. However, what the document does not always clearly indicate is the great role the local bishop of a diocese has in keeping the faithful informed on the moral and ethical correctness of a candidates platform in the proper context that supports the Catholic theological perspective.
A few weeks ago, another Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary graduate, Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton, Pennsylvania publically reinforced in his diocese the role and responsibility he has in teaching properly and in accordance with Catholic Church beliefs in his diocese. Perhaps most Catholics have forgotten to acknowledge the of teacher that the Bishop holds as part of his jurisdiction over the spiritual and temporal affairs of the local Church entrusted to him. As faithful Catholics, once again it is time for us to faithfully support Catholic teachings in our political instrument of our democratic vote, not because we are good citizens, but because firstly we are good Catholics.
There is a unique duality that exists with American Catholics that involves both spiritual and temporal responsibility to both our Church and State. However, we have the highest responsibility and obligation to follow the teachings of our Catholic Bishops and hierarchy. Unfortunately this notion seems contrary to Americans, that are rooted and established in the popular notions of democratic electoral freedom. However, moral law, natural law and God’s divine law should be the foundation for all of our political, social and ethical activities that encompass our American citizenship.
It is frequently said that Catholics are at times, a one issue Church; namely the right to life. Well quite honestly, if we cannot advocate, defend and support the most elementary rights to human life then our understanding of the entire message of the Gospel is in serious error. Yes, we are a single issue Church, primarily because it is in the right to life issue that all other human freedoms and obligations spring forth.
November 4th , 2008 is more than just an election day in the United States. It is a day on which American Catholics can properly show their religious fidelity and fortitude with the most fundamental teachings of the Catholic Church’s sacred obligation to defend, preserve and foster the rights of human life.
Vote for change…has been a popular slogan in this electoral campaign. We as Catholics have the obligation to vote for change, especially when it means supporting political and social changes that are reflective of our Catholic values and sacred beliefs. Vote for the Catholic transformation and change that comes with the power of the Holy Spirit as we publically manifest our Catholic desire for social, moral and ethical transformations that will change the world through our most sacred beliefs of human rights, dignity and most especially the right to human life.
Hugh McNichol is a Catholic author and journalist that writes on Catholic topics and issues. Hugh studied both philosophy and theology at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. He writes daily at: & &
He writes about Irish Catholic experiences at
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