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SATURDAY HOMILY: Voting with a Catholic Conscience

By Fr. G. Peter Irving III
November 3rd, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

There is no excuse to sit on the sidelines on November 6. "I don't like politics!" No excuse. "I don't like either of the candidates!" No excuse. "I'll just pray about it." Yes, by all means pray, but prayer is no excuse for inaction. Priests for Life and Catholic Vote and EWTN have excellent voter guides. Study them, pray over them and then vote with a Catholic conscience on Election Day. Jesus, Mary and all the Angles and Saints will be watching. Don't let them down!

LONG BEACH, CA (Catholic Online)  I wish I could say otherwise, but I must confess that I have been very distracted by the political contest playing out before us, especially in this final stretch before Election Day next Tuesday. I have lived through many elections in my adult life, but this one is without a doubt the most consequential of them all.

The stakes are the highest they have ever been and all issues are on the table. But at the top of the list are three: the sanctity of human life, the sanctity of marriage and religious liberty.

It is no coincidence that those who promote the killing of unborn humans under the deliberately deceptive rubric of "choice" and those who promote the redefinition of marriage under deliberately deceptive rubric of "equality" are the ones who want people of faith to simply shut up and confine their religion to the four walls of their churches.

Some Catholics, I think, prefer it that way. They have an aversion to politics. Politics can be complicated and messy. Hence, Catholics who think this way are quite content to remain completely outside the current of political discourse. They are the ones who say, "Just let me go to Mass and say my prayers, but keep politics out of it."

I agree with this view, to a point. The Church is not a political party. The Church does not exist to get involved in political campaigns. The Church's job, if you will, is to speak about God! But the topic of God is a deep one (infinitely so!) which necessarily impinges upon every aspect of human life, even the political.

Look at Jesus. He was definitely not a politician. He went to great lengths to avoid becoming enmeshed in both political and religious partisanship. When the people wanted to apprehend Him and make Him king, He hid Himself from them. They were looking for an earthly, political Messiah and this He was not.

Jesus came, rather, to teach the Truth; indeed, He is the Truth Incarnate. But for this He ended up being tossed about among the leading "politicians" of His day, both Jewish and pagan, like the proverbial "political football."  Finally, He was beaten, tried, convicted and then crucified as a political criminal (remember the Roman governor's placard, "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews"), which He was not!

The point I am making is this: when one proclaims the Truth, one will be opposed. St. Simeon said as much about Jesus at His Presentation in the Temple when he spoke those mysterious words to Our Lady: "He will be a sign that will be contradicted" (Luke 2:34).

Abortion is the taking of an innocent human life in each and every circumstance. No exceptions.

Marriage has always been and will always be the exclusive union between a man and a woman for the purpose of engendering new life. Period.

These are not political statements. These are simply truths. They are truths which the Church proclaims for everyone to hear and which everyone can understand.

Indeed, it is the Church's solemn duty as well as the duty of every one of Her members to convey these truths to a culture which is rapidly descending into the throes of death.

No bishop, no priest or deacon, no religious or lay faithful can safely run away from this obligation. Each one of us in his or her own place and with all charity must make these truths known to everyone.

To do this effectively requires that we be humble. In today's Gospel Jesus extolls the great and necessary virtue of humility. We must bow down before the Throne of Mercy and recognize that we are no better than anyone else; that we are card-carrying members of the club of sinful humanity.

We must bow down in humility before the Divine Majesty, admitting that we are nothing and can do nothing without God. We must bow down before the Divine Wisdom enshrined in the Magisterium of the Church and embrace it fully. We must bow down to Christ crucified and be willing to be misunderstood and rejected as He was.

There is no excuse to sit on the sidelines on November 6. "I don't like politics!" No excuse. "I don't like either of the candidates!" No excuse. "I'll just pray about it." Yes, by all means pray, but prayer is no excuse for inaction. Priests for Life and Catholic Vote and EWTN have excellent voter guides. Study them, pray over them and then vote with a Catholic conscience on Election Day. Jesus, Mary and all the Angles and Saints will be watching. Don't let them down!

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Father G. Peter Irving III is a priest of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and is pastor of Holy Innocents Church in Long Beach.

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