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Bishop explains how voting can jeopardize your soul

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 29th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Bishop David Ricken of the Diocese of Green Bay has gotten some attention in the media for stating the obvious. Ricken told parishioners that their souls could be in jeopardy should they vote for candidates that advocate "intrinsically evil" positions. 

GREEN BAY, WI (Catholic Online) - In a letter to the faithful, dated October 24, Bishop Ricken told parishioners, A well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program that contradicts fundamental contents of faith and morals. Some candidates and one party have even chosen some of these as their party's or their personal political platform. To vote for someone in favor of these positions means that you could be morally 'complicit' with these choices which are intrinsically evil. This could put your own soul in jeopardy."

Ricken did not tell anyone who, specifically, to vote for, but he was clear that your Christian conscience should inform your decision-making. 

Many see voting as a trivial act, arguing that their vote does not matter. Yet the vote is a declaration of support for people and policies that can drive social change. Even casting a ballot for the losing side in an election stills ends a message that the losing position has your support. It acts as a brake on the momentum of the opposition. 

What matters then, is that your vote is informed by your conscience. A good Christian ought not vote for a candidate or a party whose platform endorses the murder of unborn children, the corruption of marriage, and other morally objectionable planks. 

Unfortunately, there are many candidates on both sides of the political spectrum that endorse morally objectionable platforms. For example, some candidates may rightly oppose abortion while endorsing other objectionable policies.  

What Bishop Ricken is saying then, transcends party lines. Catholics, and indeed all Christians, are asked to vote their conscience. In other words, one should identify themselves as a Christian first, and a party member second. 

All too often, one party of another claims the support of a demographic, such as Christians, while supporting positions that aren't very Christian. 

By enforcing personal integrity at the voting booth, Christians can send a clear message to all candidates that they will not accept the advocacy of morally objectionable policies, regardless of party affiliation. In so doing, they will compel legislators and policymakers to reevaluate their stance and adopt more appropriate positions on the issues, informed by Christian conscience, even if they themselves lack that information. 

Every reader is encouraged to read the Bishop's letter, which is linked here.


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