Monday, October 09, 2006

"Catholics in the Public Square" by Bishop Olmsted

(Hat tip: Amy Welborn)

Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted adds his voice to the various Catholic voter guides out there. Here's an excerpt:
• Are all political and social issues equal when it comes to choosing a political candidate?

Absolutely not! The Catholic Church is actively engaged in a wide variety of important public policy issues including immigration, education, affordable housing, health and welfare, to name just a few. On each of these issues we should do our best to be informed and to support those proposed solutions that seem most likely to be effective. However, when it comes to direct attacks on innocent human life, being right on all the other issues can never justify a wrong choice on this most serious matter.

As Pope John Paul II has written, " Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights - for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture - is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with the maximum determination ." (Christifideles Laici , 38)


• Are there any “non-negotiable” issues for Catholics involved in politics?

There are several issues that are “not negotiable” for Catholics in political life, because they involve matters that are intrinsically evil. In an address to European politicians on March 30, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI stated:
“ As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable. Among these the following emerge clearly today:

• Protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death;

• Recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family – as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage – and its defense from attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role;

• The protection of the rights of parents to educate their children.”
The issues mentioned by Pope Benedict are all “non-negotiable” and are some of the most contemporary issues in the political arena. I should note, however, that other issues, while not intrinsically evil, deserve prayerful consideration, such as questions of war and capital punishment, poverty issues and matters relating to illegal immigration.

***
• How would you define a “candidate who is a faithful Catholic?”

There are a large number of candidates or politicians in our country that label themselves as Catholic. Regrettably, however, some of these are an embarrassment to the Church and a scandal to others by virtue of their support of issues that are intrinsically evil.

A candidate who is authentically Catholic is one who always defends the dignity of every human person and who puts the welfare of the common good over various partisan or self interests. His personal and public life is shaped by faith in Christ and His teachings. Such a candidate can be from any political party, but will never support matters that are intrinsically evil such as abortion, euthanasia, or “same-sex marriage.”
(emphasis added)


Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Dueling Catholic Voter Guides

More on Catholic Voter Guides

Columnist: "Christian Right Driving Wedge Into US"

More From Amy Welborn on the "Dueling Catholic Voter Guides"

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