Lord, teach us to pray:
(To be read by the Leader)
Is it mandatory for Catholics to follow what the Pope or Bishops say on political issues? Certainly, it is important to respect statements made by the Churches hierarchy. “It is the role of the Pope and the bishops to teach clearly on matters of faith and morals, including those touching on political issues, (p. 19).” However, there are some instances where Catholics may disagree with the hierarchy of the Church. This revolves around what the Church teaches and how what it teaches is applied to a specific situation. The examples used are “just war” and “capital punishment.” So, I may agree on the Churches teaching on just war, but I may not agree on a “particular situation” where the Church says a war is just. This is based on my informed understanding, and using my prudential judgement, that I disagree with the application of the term just war. “It should be emphasized, however, that despite these examples, there are other issues, such as abortion or euthanasia, that are always wrong and do not allow for the correct use of prudential judgement to justify them, (p. 19).”
Are all political and social issues equal when it comes to choosing a political candidate? “Absolutely not! The Catholic Church is actively engaged in wide variety of important public policy issues including immigration, education, affordable housing, health and welfare, to name just a few. However, when it comes to direct attacks on innocent human life, being right on all the other issues can never justify a wrong choice on this most serious matter, (p. 21).” St. John Paul II wrote in Christifedeles Laici, 38; “the right o health, to home, to work, to family to culture, is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.” Brothers the right to life trumps all other issues. If we do not have the right to life, we really have nothing. That is why abortion can never be justifiable. Because the right to life is being taken from one who has no voice to speak for themselves.
Are there any non-negotiable issues for Catholics involved in politics? The answer to this question is yes there are nonnegotiable issues because they involve matters that are intrinsically evil. In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI stated the following; “As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing
particular attention to principles which are not negotiable. Among these the following emerge clearly:
- Protection of life in all its stages, from the moment of conception until natural death.
- Recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family, as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage.
- The protection of the rights of parents to educate their children, (p.22).”
These issues named by Pope Benedict are all nonnegotiable and are some of the most contemporary and from a Catholic standpoint, contentious issues in the political arena. Brothers, to play a part in putting a political figure into office is an important responsibility. To fulfill our duties as ethical Catholic gentlemen we need to inform our consciences with what is good and true. (This is true for all areas of our lives.) We have an obligation to inform ourselves about the issues and about what the parties stand for. With these two pillars in place we can go to the polls and cast our votes with confidence. Is it right abstain from voting because of lack of knowledge or lack of time. No, it is not. Your vote is important and needs to be made use of so that the informed Catholic voice may collectively make known what is important in our families, our communities and in our greater society.
(The Leader now invites the members to spend a few moments in silent reflection, as the above text is not meant to be a ready-made answer but a starter for personal reflection on the theme.)
(The leader now invites the members to share with their Brother Knights any relevant thoughts that came to them during the meditation period.)
(Recited by all)
Let us pray: “Almighty ever-living God, grant that we may always conform our will to yours and serve your majesty in sincerity of heart. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.”