The editorial boards of secular newspapers do it. So why does The Tablet choose not to endorse political candidates? It’s a question we are often asked. Perhaps now is the time to offer some insight, during the final days of an election that seems to be tearing the country apart.
The Catholic press should hold elected officials accountable and report on values consistent with the Gospel and the Church’s social doctrine. Endorsing a particular candidate will not help this mission because no party or candidate falls perfectly in line with Church teaching.
We live in a society where many would like to view religion as a personal matter, one that shouldn’t influence, or interfere, with policy making. Being Catholic is being political. The promotion of the Kingdom of God usually touches politics and could be advanced or hasted by political conditions. A well-formed Catholic conscience should move the faithful to actively participate in politics.
At the same time, one’s conscience should transcend politics. Many news organizations are increasingly compromised by their enthusiastic promotion of a particular political party or candidate. Public discourse is supposed to be the cornerstone of the American way, a country where both parties work together, compromise, and pass laws for the good of all the people. Years ago, news organizations were trusted because they reported fact-based stories, free of bias.
Opinions were for the opinion pages only. Today, it’s not rare for someone to quote a news source in a conversation, only to have someone else in the discussion counter by questioning that source’s accuracy. That public forum for exchanging ideas and beliefs is disappearing. People are choosing to live in their own bubbles. The information they digest from cable news channels will always confirm their vision of the world. This approach does not, and cannot, promote dialogue and mutual respect.
The Tablet strives to uphold the tenets of objective journalism, which includes holding all politicians accountable, therefore, endorsing one would be counterproductive. The Tablet endorses holding truth to power. It is “the pro-life newspaper” and consequently denounces abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, human trafficking, racism, and all forms of injustice the Church considers “pro-life” issues.
The bishops of the United States have recently stated the “threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family and because of the number of lives destroyed. At the same time, we cannot dismiss or ignore other serious threats to human life and dignity such as racism, the environmental crisis, poverty, and the death penalty.”
The Tablet’s primary mission is to provide its readers with news from a Catholic perspective — news they may not see anywhere else. The pages of The Tablet reflect the lives, challenges, and hopes of a richly diverse community formed by successive waves of immigrants and a Catholic community evenly divided between the two major parties. There is one thing we endorse — we endorse all efforts to build a culture of life in our society.
The Tablet encourages readers to participate in the political life of the nation as well-informed Catholics. We will continue to provide you with fact-based reporting and refrain from telling you whom to choose, but do make your voice heard!