Sunday, June 8, 2008
Opting out of politics not option for Catholics, says church official
TORONTO (CNS) -- Opting out of politics is not an option for Catholics, despite the messy, partisan fray, said a U.S. bishops' official. Participation in the political process is a moral obligation and faithful citizenship is a virtue, said Joan Rosenhauer, associate director of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. "Both opposing evil and doing good are essential," she said. Even though the church itself is never partisan, individual Catholics can and should register with political parties and stay involved -- not only during elections, she said during a May 30 panel at the Catholic Media Convention, an international gathering of journalists and communications professionals. She stressed the importance of a conscience well-formed by Catholic social teaching, referring to the U.S. bishops' 2007 document, "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility."
Funny thing is, I was going to skip voting for the first time ever this year. I'm so disgusted with my choices and disenfranchised with the entire political process. What kind of president allows this to happen to a nation? What kind of president leads us straight for a depression, throws around stimulus checks like they are salve and will heal all the wounds of the last two terms, and doesn't release the oil reserves when his people are being bled dry? Uh, an oil man perhaps? What kind of system would allow for this to happen? What kind of congress, which is supposed to be the checks and balances for the president, what kind representation do we really have when we can suffer so? Look around you! People who are not yet suffering, the average folk not the Richie Riches of the world but the average rat in the rat race, if they are not yet suffering they are soon to be. One need only look at the profile of the people whose houses are in foreclosure these days to see. Also talk to car dealers, the ones who are cash dealers, and ask how many keys they are getting back these days. Then go to the average person's new car dealer and ask them as well. Go ask your banker how many people are defaulting on their home equity loans, or their revolving credit. I don't read the papers and I don't have television, perhaps this information is plastered, but for me, I know this because I talk, listen and feel the pain of those around me. Talk to the school nurse and ask her how many families are in need in her school. Talk to Catholic Charities or your priest. If you have money, spread it around.
My plan for this election was to let my inaction speak for me. I tried to look up the actual document referenced in the article above but my computer virus and internet connection keeps crashing and I cannot read it. I shall try at the library this week to see if this document influences my behavior come November. Meanwhile, all that good Catholics can really do is pray, pray, pray. Oh, and speak up about the injustices we are experiencing. There are so many people, like me, who know very little about politics and care even less these days because we are so upset. But, maybe those wiser than me can tell me how I can really make a difference. I'm not sure my vote can do it. As a housewife and mother my place is with my family, what can I really do? Someone, let me know. Meanwhile, I will pray.