Voting In November and The Role of Moral Discernment: Why Romney and Ryan Get The Nod
Through responsible voting in accordance with the full truth about the human person, we Americans possess the ability to positively form the character of our nation, and thereby contribute to the proper moral formation of our children in the future.
In authentically exercising the privilege to vote is required careful and reasoned moral discernment, which must always be guided by the light of faith and governed by a properly formed conscience. In this process of discernment, we must always remain faithful to the teaching of the Church on the full truth of the human person, which leads us to oppose intrinsic evils with maximum determination.
Our vote gives to us the power to shape the future course of our nation. The moral realm and the moral character of political candidates must become of primary importance in order to direct that course properly and for the good of all.
To say that voting choices will form our children, is not to refer only to economic, public debt, or tax burden concerns. As important as these are, they pale in comparison to the manner in which our children may be morally formed, either in a positive or negative way, as a direct consequence of our vote. The fact is, society acts as a moral teacher. What is legal is often deemed moral, whether it is or not. Accepted practices become the norm. The virtues and vices of a society imprint themselves upon the people who live within it. Whether a particular civil law is in sync with what is right and good or not, whether cultural norms are in accordance with the divine law and the natural law or not, is often inadequately considered by individuals until they have already fallen under their influence. The obvious example of such a tragic situation is legalized abortion.
The political opponents for the offices of President and Vice President in the election of 2012 stand in diametric opposition on crucial moral issues -- namely intrinsic evils. While it is true that both the Democrat and Republican candidates speak in some form or other of providing a positive socio-economic influence on the nation, their personal moral philosophies concerning human life and the dignity and truth about the human person could hardly be more radically divided.
President Barack Obama's position on critical moral issues facing our nation is well known. These include: legalized abortion; embryonic stem-cell research (embryo-destructive experiments); homosexual unions (so-called marriage equivalency); the continued dismantling of the institution of marriage; and the attacks on freedom of religion and freedom of conscience through the unjust HHS mandate. Obama's adamant and consistent support of these gravely immoral practices, most of which involve intrinsic evils, is so well documented as to be without question.
Vice President Joe Biden has repeatedly distanced himself from the Christian fold and damaged his communion with the Church through his tenacious support of legalized abortion, homosexual unions, and embryonic stem-cell experimentation. For Catholics, these intrinsic evils can never be supported, nor permitted nor condoned under any circumstances. They are entirely contrary to the Gospel, Christian discipleship, and the true Christian religion transmitted in its fullness by the Church. Nevertheless, Biden has publicly made his position of dissent clear on numerous occasions.
One the other hand, presidential and vice presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan oppose these intrinsic evils. Whatever one may think of their views on how to balance the budget, shore up the economy, solve the health care dilemma, combat terrorist attacks, and so forth, there is an essential difference in the moral character of these two men in contrast to their political opponents. The question is, does it matter? As disciples of Christ, the moral character of those we place in positions of authority must always be of primary concern.
Nevertheless, there are a number of Catholics who are taking swings at Ryan. The claim is that his proposed policies fail to conform to their understanding of "social justice." Unfortunately, some Catholics advocate a social justice that is detached from the principle of subsidiarity, which skews the whole meaning of the doctrine. Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" plan, which focuses on debt reduction, most often comes under fire. However, Ryan is a faithful Catholic who is dedicated to implementing the principles of Catholic social justice doctrine properly understood. He is by no means unconcerned with helping the poor. On the contrary, in a column he wrote in 2011 for "Our Sunday Visitor," he stated that his budget plan "helps the poor, first and foremost, by ...
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