|Put first things first when you vote!|
By Thomas L. McFadden, Sr.
Bishop Loverde is publishing in his newspaper a six-part series called, Forming Our Consciences. This is in connection with the 2016 election. He calls it a journey of discernment. While part 1 was just a general introduction, part 2 that he published September 7th was titled “The Right to Life.” His text is completely in harmony with the Ordinary Magisterium of the Church as he asserts that:
No one ever has a “right” to exercise the gift of freedom to deprive an innocent person, especially an unborn child, of his or her right to life. As we form our consciences in this and every election, our first consideration is always where a candidate stands on the first principle: the right to life.With a clear choice before us on where the presidential candidates stand on what he said was “the first principle”, what else needs to be said? For example, the National Right to Life Committee has published a politically-neutral comparison of where the candidates stand on that “first principle”. Read it here. http://www.nrlc.org/uploads/2016POTUScomparison.pdf
If he willed to, Bishop Loverde could have that flyer distributed in every parish because the flyer avoids endorsing either candidate. In other words, it does not violate the guidelines of the IRS regarding prohibited political activity of tax-exempt entities.
If Bishop Loverde were to will so, he would not only be faithful to his teaching office but also promote Catholic solidarity because the right to life, that “first principle, is the one issue at stake in the 2016 election about which Catholics in good faith may not disagree.
Is it needless fretting on the part of many Catholics to think that in parts 3-6 of his journey of discernment Bishop Loverde will “muddy the water” by proposing political solutions to social problems about which Catholics in good faith can, and do, disagree? The fretting (gut-wrenching anxiety really) is provoked by a notice that has appeared at the end of parts 1 and 2 of the Bishop’s written presentations:
For more voter education resources, see the website for the Virginia Catholic Conference, the Virginia bishop’s public policy agency at vacatholic.org.A review of the “Virginia bishop’s public policy” as displayed on the website of his public policy agency indicates that except for right to life issues, it has a disturbing confluence with the agenda of the Democrat Party. For example, on that website one learns of the Catholic Climate Covenant, a heftily-staffed advocacy group of the United States Catholic Conference. Wasn’t it Democrat-in-Chief Obama who declared that climate change is the biggest threat Americans face? Is it not 17 Democrat state Attorneys General who have united to investigate and prosecute “climate change deniers”? Persons interested can judge for themselves by reviewing the Bishop’s public policy agenda if it does or does not align mostly with Democrat Party ideology.
In this election cycle pundits and commentators have spoken about the need of the candidates to court the “African-American vote”, the “Hispanic vote” and the “Evangelical vote.” None talk about the “Catholic vote.” The number of voting-age Catholics is greater than the number of African-American (black or mixed race) persons of all ages, and greater than the number of Hispanics of all ages, and only slightly less than the number of voting-age Evangelicals. But we get “no respect.” While those other groups have solidarity-building leadership that articulates what those groups want, our leaders send mixed signals that prevent Catholic solidarity. That is why Catholics are, in the words of the late Virgil Blum, S.J., America’s “political pygmies.”
Was it mixed signals from the Virginia Bishops’ public policy agency that resulted in Tim Kaine getting a standing ovation at his Richmond parish, St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, upon him becoming Clinton’s running mate?
“I know that he's definitely against capital punishment and works to help defend those who are on death row,” Kaine’s pastor, Father Jim Arsenault, told NPR. “The church has a teaching with regard to we're pro-life, and we believe in that seamless garment of life. We respect sometimes lawmakers make difficult decisions.”
Let us pray that as Bishop Loverde continues along his journey of discernment he ends up in the right place and doesn’t encourage false moral equivalencies.