It is time for another general election. And we must not forget that no matter the outcome, we remain Christian. And God is always the true winner.
In his column this week, Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski noted that we must not place our hope in earthly things. Our hope, he said, must remain ultimately in God.
Citing the Scripture readings for the week, Archbishop Rozanski said there are several references that serve as a reminder that our gaze should be fixed toward the house of the Lord (Psalm 23, 27, 122).
“The day after the election, some of us are going to feel like we won a great victory, and some of us are going to feel like we suffered a devastating loss,” he said. “In earthly terms, both will be true enough. But the readings this week direct us away from measuring our hopes by an earthly horizon, and toward measuring them by a heavenly one.”
General elections often bring intense debate over issues, polarizing positions on policy and harsh — even nasty — campaign strategies. No government or elected official gives us freedom or rights. No government can offer life, light, peace or salvation. These come only from God — governments can either defend and protect these or whittle away at them.
We are called to form our consciences before approaching the polls. Speaking before a group of young adults at a recent Theology on Tap (see page 2), Archbishop Rozanski said that no candidate exemplifies all that we believe as Catholics. “We’re so fragmented,” he said. “It seems as though nobody can agree on anything.”
He said the Catholic Church’s social teaching is “the greatest hidden gem of the Church,” which we must take to heart. Likewise, he echoed the U.S. bishops and Pope Francis in saying that abortion is the pre-eminent issue, to which he added life “is the foundational part of our lives, the gift that God gives to us.”
Voting requires more than deciding how we feel about a candidate. It requires placing all of the issues on the table, giving each its proper weight and considering each candidate and political race in light of that background. That takes some work. But that’s forming your conscience. We must begin by educating ourselves, Archbishop Rozanski said, “and then bringing our Catholic identity into the voting booth to do the best we can.”
We must also remember that the Gospel is our guiding force throughout life, including in our responsibility as citizens. We need to shape political choices in the coming election in light of Jesus’ Gospel message. How refreshing it would be, too, if those of us who are shaped by the Gospel bring it to life by seeking elected office.
This election, form your conscience. Pray. And then rock your right to vote.