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Editorial: Do your duty

  • September 11, 2021

The Catholic Register is not going to tell you who you should cast a vote for in this federal election. As a registered charity, we must remain non-partisan.

What we will tell you is that Catholics have a moral obligation to vote, choosing from among the candidates the one that may best contribute toward building a better Canada. And this is not a duty to be taken lightly, as the Church reminds us, because it is our ticket to participation in the processes of government.

“The people are called on to take an always larger part in the public life of the nation. This participation brings with it grave responsibilities,” Pope Pius XII wrote in 1946. “Hence the necessity for the faithful to have clear, solid, precise knowledge of their duties in the moral and religious domain with respect to their exercise of their civil rights, in particular of the right to vote.”

There is no room for cynicism. To say “why bother to vote, politicians can’t be trusted,” is to ignore our place in the public forum and dismiss our duty to better society. Yes, in an increasingly secular society there are those who would like to “keep religion out of politics,” but that is not a choice in the voting booth. The values entrenched in our faith need to guide our conscience in selecting our civil leaders.

As we enter the home stretch of this federal election on Sept. 20, there is much for Catholic voters to consider. It is up to us to examine the issues, understand the position of the parties and reflect on how they align with our views.

Church teaching gives us a good grounding on the principles we need to consider when making our choice. There are many resources, including the Canadian organization Catholic Conscience, that outline these principles, providing a Catholic lens through which we can access party platforms.

Of prime importance is human dignity. From conception to natural death, we hold life dear, knowing that every person is part of God’s plan. Our society is tasked with upholding the dignity of that life, at work, in the family and in the community.

A word we hear often is “solidarity” — the principle that we are dependent on each other and, indeed, responsible for one another as members of God’s family. Issues such as immigration, poverty, the environment, foreign policy and the economy all touch on our need to act in concert with each other.

Ultimately, decisions must be based on the principle of the common good. Church social doctrine describes the demands of the common good as “above all the commitment to peace, the organization of the state’s powers, a sound juridical system, the protection of the environment, and the provision of essential services to all, some of which are at the same time human rights: food, housing, work, education and access to culture, transportation, basic health care, the freedom of communication and expression, and the protection of religious freedom.”

How well do our politicians measure up on these issues? Who will be best to manage these concerns?

That’s for you to decide. Let your conscience be your guide.

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