Time for U.S. Catholics to Vote and Build a Truly Free and Good Society

CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - On Tuesday, November 2, 2010, voters in the United States of America will go to polling places in every State in the Union where we have the privilege of exercising our constitutional right to vote. The pundits who filled our television and computer screens with endless predictions on who will win or whether this will be a "wave" election will finally stop talking, at least for a while. The voters will do the talking. Catholics in the United States have an obligation, both as citizens and as Catholics, to vote in a manner consistent with what is true and right, and good.

On April 18, 2005, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger offered a homily on the eve of the convocation which elected him Pope. Here is an excerpt: "How many winds of doctrine we have known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking. The small boat of thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves - thrown from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, and so forth. Every day new sects are created and what Saint Paul says about human trickery comes true, with cunning which tries to draw those into error (cf Eph 4, 14).

"Having a clear faith, based on the Creed of the Church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism. Whereas relativism - which is letting oneself be tossed and "swept along by every wind of teaching" - looks like the only attitude which is acceptable in today's standards. We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires.

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"However, we have a different goal: the Son of God, true man. He is the measure of true humanism. Being an "Adult" means having a faith which does not follow the waves of today's fashions or the latest novelties. A faith which is deeply rooted in friendship with Christ is adult and mature. It is this friendship which opens us up to all that is good and gives us the knowledge to judge true from false, and deceit from truth. We must become mature in this adult faith; we must guide the flock of Christ to this faith. And it is this faith - only faith - which creates unity and takes form in love."

As we exercise our civic duty on November 2, 2010, I share some principles on a Catholic vision of governance.  Our identity as Catholics grounds us in a vision of the human person, human flourishing, marriage (and the family and society founded upon it), the Natural Law as the reference point for all positive law, authentic human freedom, and the existence of objective morality. This vision is not simply "religious". Rather it provides a framework for our work as citizens to serve the common good. It calls us to build what Pope Benedict XVI recently called a "culture of the person". 

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