Moral Coherence and Voting: Courageous Bishop Daniel Jenky Calls Catholic Citizens to Loyalty to the Lord First
I therefore call upon every practicing Catholic in this Diocese to vote.
For those who hope for salvation, no political loyalty can ever take precedence over loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ and to his Gospel of Life. God is not mocked, and as the Bible clearly teaches, after this passing instant of life on earth, God's great mercy in time will give way to God's perfect judgment in eternity.
Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C. BISHOP OF PEORIA
PEORIA, IL (Catholic Online) - On November 6, 2012, Americans head to polling places all over the Nation to vote. Along with Congressional contests and ballot initiatives, they will be asked to choose a President and Vice president. The choice is between Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan or Barack Obama and Joseph Biden. Oh, I know there are other options - but to vote for them is to eliminate the effect of your vote.
U.S. Catholics can determine the outcome of this Presidential election. That is if we act in a manner which is, to use words of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "morally coherent". That phrase was used in an instruction released in 2002 entitled a "Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life".
Here is an excerpt, "The social doctrine of the Church is not an intrusion into the government of individual countries. It is a question of the lay Catholic's duty to be morally coherent, found within one's conscience, which is one and indivisible. Living and acting in conformity with one's own conscience on questions of politics is not slavish acceptance of positions alien to politics or some kind of 'confessionalism', but rather the way in which Christians offer their concrete contribution so that, through political life, society will become more just and more consistent with the dignity of the human person."
The same congregation repeatedly addressed the primacy of the Right to Life. Here is one example: "The first right of the human person is his life. He has other goods and some are more precious, but this one is fundamental - the condition of all the others. Hence it must be protected above all others. It does not belong to society, nor does it belong to public authority in any form to recognize this right for some and not for others" (Declaration on Procured Abortion (1974), no. 11. I)
To insist upon the fundamental Human Right to Life is not single issue politics. Human rights are goods of human persons. When there is no human person to exercise them all the rhetoric extolling them is sloganeering and sophistry. Nor is our position only a matter of adherence to our "religious" beliefs. It is a response to the truth revealed by the Natural Law and confirmed by medical science. The Child in the womb is our neighbor. It is always and everywhere wrong to kill him or her through procured abortion.
So too with our obligation to defend Marriage and the family and society founded upon it. Marriage is the preeminent and the most fundamental of all human social institutions. It is a relationship defined by nature and protected by the natural law that binds all men and women. It finds its foundation in the order of creation. Civil institutions do not create marriage nor can they create a "right" to marry for those who are incapable of marriage. The institutions of government should, when acting properly, defend marriage against those who would redefine it.
Government has long regulated marriage for the common good. The ban on polygamy and age requirements were enforced in order to ensure that there was a mature decision at the basis of the Marriage contract. Heterosexual marriage, procreation, and the nurturing of children form the foundation for the family, and the family forms the foundation of civil society.
To "limit" marriage to heterosexual couples is not discriminatory now, nor has it ever been. Homosexual couples cannot bring into existence what marriage intends by its very definition. To now "confer" the benefits that have been conferred in the past only to stable married couples and families to homosexual paramours is bad public policy.
We are living under what Pope Benedict XVI called a "Dictatorship of Relativism" in the West. When there is a wholesale effort to deny the existence of anything objectively true which can be known by all and form the basis of our common life, then there is no real freedom. Instead, we teeter on the brink of anarchy. On January 19, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI addressed the Bishops of Region IV in the United States gathered in Rome for their ad limina visit.
He warned them of a "radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres". He told them that the "seriousness of these threats needs to be clearly appreciated at every level of ecclesial life. Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion."
The pope's admonition to defend religious freedom came the day before Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, issued a mandate requiring all employers, including Catholic and other religious employers, to cover sterilization, ...
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