First and foremost, I am a Catholic, then I consider myself a conservative Catholic. As I pondered last year’s Presidential election and the state of our country today, I became quite ambivalent about how I voted.
What consumed me most was the idea that “If something is inheritably evil; nothing good can come from it.” Then I thought about the analogy of having voted for the lesser of two evils. One cannot abandon the ideology that one of our candidates would deny the rights of the poor and elderly while the other would deny the unborn child’s right to life.
Catholic Social Teaching doesn’t always fit in the secular world’s ideology of “Political Correctness” The secular world grasps onto economic freedom for the rich and elite which is preferred by liberals despite the need for our government to correct the mindset of leaving God out of the mainstream state of politics and human rights.
Faithful Catholics should weigh in the two concerns differently and try to find the best balance of the two. One must prudent choices and we will have different ideas about how the preferential option for the poor can best be pursued while also considering the sanctity of life. Considering this, I knew that I would wind up choosing a political party, if I chose one at all.
Whatever political party we join, as Catholics; we won’t be entirely comfortable. We will be the one to raise our hands and say, “Now that’s not right” and “That violates our principles” We will be the one who makes the room groan when we speak.”
Recently at a family gathering I had a family member say to me, “Hey, Jean you know I unfriended you on Facebook” I responded, “Whatever for?” and she blurted out “Because of your political and religious views on pro-life” My heart went out to her in prayer as she said to me, “You are impassioned by Pro-Life and I simply do not agree with you” I asked her, “Did I offend you in some way? Criticize you in some way?” She replied, “ you’d take away a women’s rights if you could, wouldn’t you?”
I stood my ground and stated that, “as a Catholic I cannot pick and choose what I profess in all that the Catholic Church teaches. It must be all or nothing. If I did that I would be a Cafeteria Catholic.” That is a great example of making the room groan when we speak out as Catholics.
In today’s political and secular world, we become politically capricious to whatever party allegiance we may have. Party politics require true supporters to have an acquiescent mindset. As a Catholic, I have a fundamental and binding foundation to the Church, but not to party politics. The Church, is the Body of Christ and the Church is a gift that has developed reflection on our social and political correctness. Through the Church’s social teaching, our heads are turned and says, “Look, there”. Then we can become busy looking for evidence to justify being a Cafeteria Catholic or we can look for evidence against it.
The Church also gives us the gift of each other. We can do for each other what the Church does for us: turn our heads and make us see something we wouldn’t see. We may see the errors in someone’s judgement and we can chastise them out of love as we proclaim the teachings of the Church.
There may be people that may question our belief and contest the ideology we profess. They look at the world with a colored perspective. We may be pushed into a debate. Most common today is the debate about the nature of poverty and the poor as well as the unborn and the elderly.
On one side, there are many progressives that believe that a woman has a right to “Choose” to kill the child that is in their womb, while conservatives believe that a child has “No voice and No choice” and is entitled to the inherit right to life. Yes, the 14th Amendment proclaims this but with Roe vs Wade the right to life for the unborn was dismissed.
We certainly can see ourselves as a conservative or a liberal in instinct and see our political life through colored glasses, but the Church helps you see far better than you would on your own. I know that when I voted last year that it was the influence of the Church that helped me to choose the proper candidate. Yes, I finally realized that political views don’t always align with the dogmas of the Church; and Yes, sometimes we must pick the lesser of two evils.