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Questions help assess role of faith in politics

The midterm elections take place Tuesday, Nov. 4, and I wanted to address the question of voting and offer a reflection.

In preparation for this column, I turned to "Quas Primas" written way back in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. He wrote then that "When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony."

This got me thinking about whether I recognized Christ as King privately and publicly, and what would that look like if I did? So I started to ask myself some questions:

Have I prayed about the election? Have I prayed that I am able to put aside my prejudices? Have I educated myself about the ballot measures and the candidates’ positions? Have I sought out opportunities to learn more about the church’s social teaching so I can better conform my conscience to the teachings of the church?

Am I living a sacramental life? When was the last time I went to confession, and shouldn’t I make sure I go before I vote? Have I maintained my obligations to attend Mass on Sundays and support the church? Do I maintain a prayer life focused on my relationship with Christ?

Have I honored my vocation so I do not put politics before family? Have I spoken to my spouse about the election, or about how our faith helps to inform our decision? Have I explained to my children the importance of voting, the principles of a right to life and human dignity?

Have I been careful about my political language in the work place? Have I partaken in derisive attitudes or language? At the same time, have I spoken up in defense of positions the church has taken so as to better represent my faith to my neighbor?

Have I been careful about the media with which I engage? Do I moderate my reading? Have I been conscientious about how the media affects my interior life, my prayer, my relationships? Do I notice great anxiety when I engage in media, and have I brought that anxiety to prayer?

I offer these questions not in accusation but in the hope we all realize voting is a great responsibility, one so important we ought to take it to prayer. At the same time I do not want to suggest that anyone who has not done the above should refrain from voting. G.K. Chesterton once wrote that "Everything worth doing is worth doing badly."

He meant, I think, that important things are worth the risk of imperfection.

We have an obligation to vote, to lend our Catholic voice to the public conversation. So let’s make sure we do that and bring Christ the King into the voting booth no matter how imperfect we are.

St. Cyril of Alexandria once wrote that there is an "intimate and abiding connection" between the commonwealth and religion. I agree, so I would like to invite everyone to attend a morning on our commonwealth and religion. A Faithful Citizenship Morning will take place at the St. Gerald Parish social hall, 96th and Q streets, Oct.11, from 9 to 11 a.m. To register, contact Linda Thomsen at lmthomsen@archomaha.org or 402-558-3100, ext. 3027. The cost is $5.

We will talk about the U.S. bishops’ understanding of voting with a Catholic conscience and discuss specific pressing issues for our nation and Nebraska. I do hope you will join me as we all prepare for this midterm election.

 

Omar Gutiérrez is manager of the archdiocesan Office of Missions and Justice. Contact him at ofgutierrez@archomaha.org.

 

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