Put Out into the Deep

An Unprecedented Election

My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,

Of all the political campaigns that I have witnessed, this certainly has been one that has most frustrated the American people.

Both major party candidates are so unpopular, it is unprecedented. A recent ABC/Washington Post poll shows 60 percent of likely voters see Hillary Clinton unfavorably while 58 see Donald Trump unfavorably. In September, the Washington Post reported that 60 percent of voters did not consider either candidate honest or trustworthy.

But unless they wish to cast a vote for the Independent or Green Party candidate, many voters are faced with choosing between two candidates they do not wholeheartedly support.

When you listen to the political rhetoric during the debates and stump speeches, the reasons for the country’s lack of confidence in either candidate are obvious. Hillary Clinton has encouraged her supporters to fear the religious right and those Americans who do not share her worldview and that of the Hollywood/New York elite. Donald Trump has rallied those who fear the country’s shifting demographics. He has tapped the anger of Americans who feel cheated by the current economy. Both candidates are deft at criticizing the other, and at inspiring fear among the American electorate. But who among the Presidential hopefuls inspires a path toward peace?

In our final review of the election season, we will reflect on peace, the Truth, and voting our conscience. When human beings come together to form governments, they do so to establish security and peace. In the Catholic Catechism we read, “The common good requires peace, that is, the stability and security of a just order. It presupposes that authority should ensure, by morally acceptable means, the security of society and its members. It is the basis of the right to legitimate personal and collective defense” (1909).

Notice that peace is not understood to be the absence of war. Our faith does not impose a resignation in the face of evil. Rather, it requires robust and thoughtful leadership that is capable of opposing evil. Our next president will inherit a troubled country and a war-torn world. More than 7,000 Catholics have been martyred in 2015, making this amongst the bloodiest of years for our brothers and sisters in the faith. In Syria, the United States and Russia are testing one another’s military resolve. And in Eastern Europe the Russians have annexed parts of Ukraine, while at the same time threatening the Baltic nations. Not to be outdone, the Chinese are testing out the United States’ Navy in international waters. Meanwhile, Nigeria, the largest nation on the African continent, is fast moving toward becoming a failed state. While in Latin America, Brazil is teetering even as Venezuela is on the brink of violence and collapse.

Equally troubling is the escalating racial tensions here at home between Police officers and the African-American community. The controversies surrounding the shootings in Baltimore, St. Louis, Minnesota, Texas, Baton Rouge, New York and beyond have been unnerving for all Americans. But who of the presidential contenders has offered a serious proposal to mitigating these issues abroad and here at home? We must ask ourselves, who do we believe can and will work toward a more peaceful and harmonious world.

The Church reminds us in Gaudium et Spes, “This social order requires constant improvement. It must be founded on truth, built on justice and animated by love; in freedom it should grow every day toward a more humane balance. An improvement in attitudes and abundant changes in society will have to take place if these objectives are to be gained” (26).

As Catholics, we understand that creating a path toward peace requires building on a foundation of Truth. With society’s embrace of relativism, the doctrine that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society or historical context, are not absolute; building upon the Truth becomes a more difficult task. As a consequence, family life has been undermined and human dignity devalued.

We must look at each candidate and ask ourselves who, if any, embrace the Truth of our faith as a Catholic people. If we reflect on the Truth shown to us by the Lord, we can allow our faith to guide our political positions on war, peace, the sanctity of human life, marriage, and family. As Catholics, the Church’s teaching is clear that a good end does not justify an immoral means.

On Election Day, our faith should be the light of our conscience and our conscience should inform how we vote. Our conscience as Catholics has been formed over the course of our lifetime by Church teaching. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops points out, “Foremost amongst those teachings are the four basic principles of Catholic social doctrine: the dignity of the human person, the common good, subsidiarity, and solidarity” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, No. 160).

The USCCB’s statement on political responsibility states, “As we all seek to advance the common good – by defending the inviolable sanctity of human life from the moment of conception until natural death, by promoting religious freedom, by defending marriage, by feeding the hungry and housing the homeless, by welcoming the immigrant and protecting the environment – it is important to recognize that not all possible courses of action are morally acceptable. We have a responsibility to discern carefully which public policies are morally sound. Catholics may choose different ways to respond to compelling social problems, but we cannot differ on our moral obligation to help build a more just and peaceful world…”

If, after reviewing Church teaching, you find that each candidate holds positions that go against your conscience, the USCCB offers this: “There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position even on policies promoting an intrinsically evil act may reasonably decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences or to ignore a fundamental moral evil.”

In the days leading up to this unprecedented election, do not allow frustration and confusion to take hold. Instead take the time to remind yourself of your core beliefs as a Catholic, to inform yourself on the issues and where each candidates stands, and then ask for guidance from God.

As we put out into the deep with this election, fervently pray and listen to where the Almighty may lead us and remember the role our government should play in establishing and protecting peace, and building upon the Truth. The divisiveness of this campaign has damaged us and our Nation.

Reflect on the words of Pope John XXIII: “Finally, may Christ inflame the desires of all men to break through the barriers which divide them, to strengthen the bonds of mutual love, to learn to understand one another, and to pardon those who have done them wrong. Through His power and inspiration may all peoples welcome each other to their hearts as brothers, and may the peace they long for ever flower and ever reign among them” (PT171).

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2 thoughts on “An Unprecedented Election

  1. Issues of Religious Freedom are very important for Catholics in the USA. I believe with all my heart, soul and mind that the Democratic Party (not just Hillary Clinton) is not at all interested in allowing Catholics to live out their faith and lead others to follow Jesus and not down the wrong path. Jesus taught us what marriage is, “You have heard it said that a man shall leave his mother and father, cling to his wife and the two shall become one……….” Catholics should not be afraid to defend marriage, even if it means getting arrested or being killed. I do believe it is getting to the point in the United States where Catholics who do not deny Jesus and His teachings are going to face persecution, not just discrimination, but true persecution. Hillary Clinton has said that deep seated religious beliefs that go against same sex marriage and abortion are going to have to change. She is speaking directly to the Catholic Church. Let us wake up and open our ears so that Catholics can hear what the Democratic Party is telling them. If we remain silent about our freedom to love and follow Jesus by obeying the Commandments doing God’s will, religious freedom will mean simply being allowed to go to Mass on Sunday.

    I do believe that Donald Trump and the Republican Party will do all they can to protect life from natural conception to natural death and not force Catholics to go against their consciences in matters of religious beliefs. Father Frank Pavone has said that as one of Donald Trumps religious advisors, he sees a repentant man, who has sinned but wants to make reparation for his sins by becoming President and working for the good of the people and society. Whatever the outcome of the Presidential Election on November 8th, may God have mercy on us!

  2. Russia threatening the Baltic? Russia and China “testing our resolve”? Before reciting such narratives as generally accepted truths, and using these as a justification for war, seek the truth!

    Look for alternative explanations for the phenomena we observe: the U.S. always at war, the war never being declared, the terrorists keep attacking, no progress ever made. Read the recently declassified 28 pages of the 9-11 Commission report, and see whether you think we ought to blame Russia or China for terrorism, or for the “civil war” in Syria.

    Listen to the wise words of Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. He was right when he forecast the fall of the Berlin Wall 6 years before it happened. He said it had to fall, because the Soviets were spending everything on a military build-up, impoverishing the Russian and East German people for no good reason, and had just declined his and Ronald Reagan’s offer to collaborate in a science-driver program, to develop an effective defense against nuclear attack, instead of relying on the terribly risky “mutually assured destruction”. LaRouche was right we he forecast the consequences of the repeal of Glass-Steagall, and right again when he forecast the consequences of the 2008 bailout. We’re living in hell because we don’t act on LaRouche’s advice.

    LaRouche does not have a crystal ball with magic powers. Anyone could have made LaRouche’s forecasts, if he or she had the guts to proclaim the truth about the thing we know best, the human mind, and the cruel injustice to which it is being subjected. LaRouche knows what to do, because he resolutely defends the unique creative power of the human mind, the power of hypothesis, against the British Empire, which is ideologically opposed to the very idea of humans having any such power, insisting that we are just animals, and some (the British Monarchy) are genetically superior and have the right to rule on that basis. LaRouche insists that the human mind is not biologically determined in its action, and the difference between humans and animals is qualitative. Just like the Declaration of Independence says: all men are created equal, or as Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa said centuries earlier, “the dark-skinned Ethiopian and the fair-skinned German are equally human.”

    If you start with that principle, of human equality, based on a special quality of intellectual power that is equally present in all humans and nonexistent in animals, and don’t cave in to pressure to deny it, you will see that the U.S.-U.K. policy of “regime change” is a criminal policy of imperialist aggression motivated by racism, and that is what is creating the tragedy in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Ukraine, and many other places, and driving the U.S. into conflict with Russia and China. We are daily fed racist propaganda that seeks to persuade us that only the people of the U.K. and its allies are competent to choose their own government. When Ukraine’s President Yanukovych declined to sign a free trade deal with the European Union, we were immediately inundated with propaganda accusing Yanukovych of being a Russian stooge, and the rebellion, called the “Euromaidan”, was hailed as a democratic assertion of the rights of the Ukrainian people against an evil, Russian-appointed dictator. When the people of Crimea held a referendum on separating from Ukraine and joining Russia, the torrent of racist propaganda denied the legitimacy of that referendum.

    Why, then, would the “First Black President” of the U.S. adopt such a racist, white Anglo-Saxon supremacist policy, even supporting a white supremacist coup in Ukraine? You have to look at the process by which Barack Obama became President, and what happened to him in his childhood. The British Empire calculated that, after the spectacular failure of the Bush-Cheney Presidency, their racist policy would not be accepted by the people of the U.S. unless it came out of the mouth of a “black” man. Here again, Lyndon LaRouche demonstrated his qualifications to lead us, by denouncing Obama early in 2009 as a fascist, Nero-like narcissist, and attacked Obamacare as “Nazi medicine”, authorizing banners displaying Barack Obama’s face with a Hitler mustache, knowing full well that LaRouche would be wrongfully denounced as a white supremacist racist for making such criticisms. He never caved, and he never will.

    Vote for Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. by write-in tomorrow. If LaRouche doesn’t win, but nobody gets over 50%, then the U.S. Constitution specifies that there must be a runoff; then you may vote for whomever seems most like LaRouche in the runoff. If a candidate wins the first round with over 50%, then that candidate would have won anyhow, because all the other votes for all the other candidates combined total less than 50%; it is not possible to waste your vote by voting for the best, even if no one else votes the same.