At this moment in our national history, the attention of the political landscape has turned to personalities. The personal character flaws of both presidential candidates have become the primary preoccupation. Character is a central issue with regard to those who hold public office. Unfortunately, neither of our candidates may claim a sterling character. So how then does a Catholic discern the better choice?
As in every election, the platform of a candidate is decisive. A political platform is the collection of policies, proposals, programs and priorities that a given candidate champions. They express the fundamental values and principles that guide the candidate in all of his or her decisions, political or otherwise. What is true of the candidate is also true of a political party.
The second concern in this year’s presidential election is the Supreme Court. The new President will appoint one or more justices to the Supreme Court. The first appointment will take place soon after the election, and this one will alter the balance of the court because the ideological leanings of the eight current members are fairly equally balanced at the moment. Given the fact that the Supreme Court has the constitutional power to overrule both the President and the Congress, this issue is an important one in the upcoming election. This is also true of Federal judicial appointments throughout the national court system.
What is a Catholic to do? He or she must examine the candidate’s platform and likely judicial appointments from the perspective of the Sacred Scriptures and the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church. These sources bear divine values and principles. In the end, these must prevail if our blessed country is to overcome its current divisions and malaise.
God bless the USA!
Fr. Tim Byerley
Prayer Before an Election
Lord God, as the election approaches,
we seek to better understand the issues and concerns
that confront our city/state/country,
and how the Gospel compels us to respond
as faithful citizens in our community.
We ask for eyes that are free from blindness
so that we might see each other as brothers and sisters,
one and equal in dignity,
especially those who are victims of abuse and violence, deceit and poverty.
We ask for ears that will hear the cries of children unborn
and those abandoned, men and women oppressed
because of race or creed, religion or gender.
We ask for minds and hearts that are open
to hearing the voice of leaders
who will bring us closer to your Kingdom.
We pray for discernment
so that we may choose leaders
who hear your Word, live your love,
and keep in the ways of your truth
as they follow in the steps of Jesus and his Apostles
and guide us to your Kingdom of justice and peace.
We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus Christ
and through the power of the Holy Spirit.