Monday, October 29, 2018

Sunday Sermon, October 21 -- On Voting with a Catholic Conscience (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

It is the right and duty of the Church to speak to political concerns of the day. While it is true that the Johnson Amendment requires priests to be cautious regarding support for specific candidates, most people (including most clergy) believe that priests are far more restricted than is truly the case. Indeed, priests are permitted to speak very clearly about issues and there is no hiding that some politicians have come down solidly on one side of these issues. Separation of Church and State is meant to protect the Church from the influence of the State, not to silence the Church from speaking about public life.  In any case, it is contrary to natural law for the State to forbid priests from speaking about political life from the pulpit - in fact, clergy should be permitted to endorse or oppose particular candidates, even from the pulpit.

Regarding issues, we look to the key non-negotiable issues which are the foundation for public life, including: Right to Life, Defense of Marriage and Family, Care for the Dying, and Religious Liberty.  Looking at the platforms of the Republican and Democratic parties, we read: "We assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed" (Republicans) and "We believe unequivocally that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care service, including safe and legal abortion ... We will continue to oppose--and seek to overturn--federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman's access to abortion." (Democrats); and again "We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life." (Republicans) and "We will appoint judges who defend the constitutional principles of liberty and equality for all, protecting a woman's right to safe and legal abortion." (Democrats); and again "We condemn the Supreme Court's ruling ... which wrongly removed the ability of Congress to define marriage policy in federal law. We also condemn the Supreme Court's lawless ruling [in which] ... five unelected lawyers robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman." (Republicans) and "Democrats applaud [the] decision by the Supreme Court that recognized LGBT people--like every other American--have the right to marry the person they love. But there is still much work to be done." (Democrats)

Finally, when considering ballot initiatives, it is also good to consider who is behind the funding for the various initiatives. For example, in Montana this year, there is an initiative to expand Medicaid through taxation of tobacco products. This initiative is promoted and funded by Planned Parenthood, which might make some choose to vote no on I-185.

Listen online [here]!


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