Love, Neighbors, and Voting

I have no great enthusiasm for November’s election, but I plan to vote with whatever prudence and wisdom I can muster.

Being a good citizen, contributing to the good of society and taking part in public life, is part of being Catholic: or should be. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1915, 2239)

In my country, that includes voting intelligently: thinking about issues and candidates, voting for whoever and whatever is best; or likely to do the least damage, in some cases.

This isn’t a ‘political’ blog, so I won’t be claiming that one candidate walks on water, or that another is a spawn of Satan; or claim that God votes a party ticket.

I occasionally share what I think about immigrants, private property, and other “political” issues. Depending on what part of which post you look at, I could be pegged as conservative or liberal.

I’m neither, and I’m certainly not moderate. Not in the ‘I try to please everybody’ sense.

So what am I?

My father-in law has been asked, from time to time, if he’s conservative — or liberal. His answer: “I’m Catholic.”

I’d give the same answer.

Catholic teachings are quite definite, so it’s possible to peg them on the American political spectrum. That’s a topic for another post.

Today, I’ll settle for putting a few quotes and a link list of resources at the end of this post1 — and suggesting that loving God, loving my neighbor, and seeing everyone as my neighbor, is a good idea. (Matthew 5:4344, 22:3640; Mark 12:2831; Luke 6:31, 10:2527, 2937; Catechism, 2196)

Treating others as I want them to treat me, too: which I see as a logical extension of ‘love my neighbor.’ (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31; Catechism, 1789)

One more thing — That love can’t be safely abstract. I’ve expected to act as if loving God, and my neighbors, matters. It’s not easy, like the time when someone stole the parish church’s Gospel book. But it’s important.

More about what I think, and why:

1 About getting involved:

“…Perhaps the leader is a sinner, as David was. I have to work with others, with my opinion, with my words, to help amend: I do not agree for this reason or for that. We need to participate for the common good. Sometimes we hear: a good Catholic is not interested in politics. This is not true: good Catholics immerse themselves in politics by offering the best of themselves so that the leader can govern….”
(“Pray for politicians that they govern us well ,” Pope Francis, via L’Osservatore Romano (September 16, 2013))

“…Charity is at the heart of the Church’s social doctrine. Every responsibility and every commitment spelt out by that doctrine is derived from charity which, according to the teaching of Jesus, is the synthesis of the entire Law (cf. Mt 22:3640)….”
(“Caritas in Veritate,” Pope Benedict XVI (June 29, 2009))

“…This council exhorts Christians, as citizens of two cities, to strive to discharge their earthly duties conscientiously and in response to the Gospel spirit. They are mistaken who, knowing that we have here no abiding city but seek one which is to come,(13) think that they may therefore shirk their earthly responsibilities. For they are forgetting that by the faith itself they are more obliged than ever to measure up to these duties, each according to his proper vocation.(14)…”
(13) Cf. 2 Corninthians 5:10
(14) Cf. Wisdom 1:13, 2:2324; Romans 5:21, 6:23; James 1:15)

(“Gaudium et Spes,” 43, Pope Paul VI (December 7, 1965))

From the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops):

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About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
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6 Responses to Love, Neighbors, and Voting

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