Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Citizen: Catholic and American

A political commitment to a single isolated aspect of the church’s social doctrine does not exhaust one’s responsibility toward the common good.” — Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Concerning the bishops’ long statement on catholic teaching and political life issued last year: it primarily insists on people voting their consciences. It reflects on humanity and the human condition. Repeated, again and again are the phrases, “pursuit of the common good” and “protect the weak and vulnerable”.

It lists several, interconnected, intrinsically evil acts against human dignity. Acts that are a priori, inherently wrong by their essential nature (abortion, euthanasia, human cloning and destruction of embryos, genocide, torture, racism and the targeting of non combatants). All of these are important and our concern for justice and the good does not stop there.

We are called to discern the integrity of the speaker and separate his campaigning rhetoric and promises from his actions and his ability and willingness to accomplish his stated position of the moment. Measures that can partly achieve the good need to be weighted favorably against pleasant sounding words that will not be implemented in reality.

Certain ideals and programmes are to be striven for as a country: “consistent ethic of life”, “oppose torture, unjust war”, “pursuing progressive nuclear disarmament”, “constitutional protection of the unborn”, and many others that include acting as good stewards of the earth, being a brother nation in a multi-national world, advocating peace and preventing war, promoting decent working conditions and wages, adequate food, housing, health care and so forth.

These matters deserve your consideration when voting. Citizenship goes far beyond voting. Those who represent you, should know what you expect of them. They need to be prodded, told, directed and reminded constantly to do the right things; ALL the right things, not just one, especially one that does not come to fruition. Their terms of office are not periods where they can do whatever they please. Responsible government means that agents of government are responsible to the people. Read the Preamble and the First Amendment to the Constitution. Everyone has a God given mind and a voice, and in a supposedly free land can exercise them at will, and even in an unfree land at least once.

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