“In their patriotism and in their fidelity to their civic duties Catholics will feel themselves bound to promote the true common good; they will make the weight of their convictions so influential that as a result civil authority will be justly exercised and laws will accord with moral precepts and the common good.”

Second Vatican Council, Apostolicam actuositatem

The 2008 primary elections are unfolding into a saga, which indicates a fall campaign with two contenders, Obama for the Democratic Party and Mc Cain for the Grand Old Party. Catholics are presented with two presidential choices that, frankly present lukewarm views that minimally represent true Catholic teaching. Of course, there is always a discussion of a candidate’s views on ProLife causes, as opposed to abortion rights, however, there is a much stronger principle in action here. If you follow the political analysts, especially those that support Obama there is a suggestion that he is the more, “Catholic” candidate of choice. Others suggest that Mc Cain is the more visibly representative of the Catholic vote. However, the reality of fact is neither candidate provides a majority of credibility that captures the Catholic vote and the promotion of a true sense of common good.

Catholics have to navigate a very strong course this November if they want to vote and best represent Catholicism. Saint Thomas Aquinas presented the concept of the lesser of two evils, in his Summa and indeed both candidates represent this conundrum. The real issue here is not the result of a political election, but a deeper understanding and appreciation of the complexity of the issues by all faithful Catholic voters. On the surface, both candidates present points that reflect appropriate Catholic moral and social teachings, but from that perspective alone is not enough for a Catholic vote of conscience.

As concerned Catholic voters, we should always have first our Catholic moral, social and ethical concerns as the primary guide for “promoting” the common good. A candidate that is unable or incapable of incorporating our sacred beliefs in the political platform of a democratically elected leader clearly is not the preferred choice. The lesser of the two evils application is not an excuse for Catholic voters to choose a representative based on the degree of the politicians adherence of Catholic moral principles. It is a reason for Catholic voters to become intrinsically aware of the life effecting issues that are presented in an election. Catholic voters cannot claim ignorance or lack of information regarding any political ideology in our modern society. At the same time, there is no room for electoral mediocrity. We are as Catholics obligated by the dictates of our Catholic consciences to scrutinize all candidates for public office and microscopically dissect issues that concern topics that affect the Catholic common good.

If indeed given the choice when a Catholic voter is not able to vote for a candidate in “good conscience” then perhaps all Catholics should be ready to “write in” a candidate of acceptable choice. This issue is also one that presents an opportunity for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to publically proclaim the weight of our Catholic convictions and use that weight at the ballot box.

We cannot permit any electoral process to diminish or dilute the underlying moral and ethical principles Catholics hold sacred. In this election, the Bishops of the United States need to make a loud and clear definitive stand of Catholic advocacy and moral direction.

The lesser of two evils is not something, which establishes the true common good. The true common good for Catholics is one that reflects all of our faiths and values…not just the lesser ones. The Catholic platform is clear. Moral, ethical and social values based upon the candidacy of Jesus Christ. As voters, if we choose this candidate, there will be no acceptance of a lesser evil.

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