Pray, Fast and Vote
This coming Tuesday, Nov. 2, is
General Election day in our nation. Citizens of our nation will choose who
will represent us in federal, state and local offices. The privilege we have
of choosing our leaders is a right for which millions of our fellow citizens
have fought and died.
Our Catholic faith teaches us that we have a
serious moral obligation to use our vote to advance the common good. "The
Gospel of Life must be proclaimed, and human life defended, in all places
and all times. The arena for moral responsibility includes not only the
halls of government but the voting booth as well. Every voice matters in the
public forum. Every vote counts..." (USCCB, Living the Gospel of Life: A
Challenge to American Catholics, nos. 33-34).
Past elections have demonstrated that a shameful
percentage of citizens do not exercise this right and moral responsibility.
Perhaps many fail in this responsibility because of carelessness or because
of cynicism. Neither of these excuses will hold up when we account before
God how we used the gifts He gave us to safeguard His sacred gift of human
Our faith not only teaches the importance of
voting, but voting with a properly formed conscience. "Conscience," our
bishops point out, "is not something that allows us to justify doing
whatever we want, nor is it a mere ‘feeling’ about what we should or should
"Rather, conscience is the voice of God resounding
in the human heart, revealing the truth to us and calling us to do what is
good while shunning what is evil. Conscience always requires serious
attempts to make sound moral judgments based on the truths of our faith."
"At the center of these truths," the Bishops continue, "is respect for the
dignity of every person. This is the core of Catholic moral and social
teaching" (Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, November
2007, #10, #17).
In the few days remaining before Election Day, I
urge everyone (assuming you didn’t vote early) to study the positions of the
candidates, giving appropriate weight to their views on such intrinsic evils
as abortion, euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research. For most
candidates, these and other positions can be found in the Nebraska Catholic
Conferences candidate survey which appeared in the last issue of this
newspaper and can be seen online at www.nebcathcon.org.
Equally important in the remaining days is our
prayer and fasting for God’s mercy on our nation and that He will give us
virtuous leaders who will safeguard the rights and dignity of every human
person, from conception to natural death. I certainly urge asking our
Blessed Mother’s intercession for this intention through praying the Rosary,
especially as we conclude this month of the Rosary.
I also urge praying of this wonderful election
prayer from Fr. Frank Pavone at Priests for Life: "O God, we acknowledge
you today as Lord, not only of individuals, but of nations and governments.
We thank you for the privilege of being able to organize ourselves
politically and of knowing that political loyalty does not have to mean
disloyalty to you.
We thank you for your law, which our Founding
Fathers acknowledged and recognized as higher than any human law. We thank
you for the opportunity that this election year puts before us, to exercise
our solemn duty not only to vote, but to influence countless others to vote,
and to vote correctly.
Lord, we pray that your people may be awakened.
Let them realize that while politics is not their salvation, their response
to you requires that they be politically active. Awaken your people to know
that they are not called to be a sect fleeing the world but rather a
community of faith renewing the world.
Awaken them that the same hands lifted up to you
in prayer are the hands that pull the lever in the voting booth; that the
same eyes that read your Word are the eyes that read the names on the
ballot, and that they do not cease to be Christians when they enter the
Awaken your people to a commitment to justice to
the sanctity of marriage and the family, to the dignity of each individual
human life, and to the truth that human rights begin when human lives begin,
and not one moment later. Lord, we rejoice today that we are citizens of
your kingdom. May that make us all the more committed to being faithful
citizens on earth. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."