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Thoughts for the Week
 
 

 

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Thoughts for the Week - Fr R Taouk 
26th June 2016

Principles Governing Our Obligation to Vote
by Rev. Fr. Titus Cranny S.A.

Catholics are not strangers to the world. For though they belong to the City of God on Earth, the Church of the Divine Redeemer, they live in the world with its farms and its factories, its military forces and social agencies, its economic programmes and atomic inventions, taking part in the activity around them. They seek to achieve two different but wholly compatible ends: Reasonable temporal welfare in human society and the eternal glory of the Saints in Heaven. They belong to the Body of Christ with its spiritual means, aims, and ends, but they participate in the affairs of the world to contribute to the common good of all. For since that day when the Saviour took the coin of tribute into his hands and said: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's", men have known that they are bound to carry Christian principles into public life as well as private life, to integrate Christian maxims and principles into the whole fabric of human endeavour. 

Many years ago in a letter to the Bishops of Germany, Pope Pius X set down the principle of morality in public life: "Whatever a Christian does even in worldly affairs, he is not at liberty to disregard what is supernaturally good, but he must order all towards the highest good as his final aim, in accordance with the precepts of Christian wisdom. All his actions, however, as far as they are morally good or bad, that is to say, as far as they are in accord with or transgress the natural or divine law, are subject to the judgment and jurisdiction of the Church".

And so it has always been. The living members of the Church have recognized the function of the State in human living; they have realised their obligations to it, and they have understood the Church's interest in political matters. Even when despotic governments persecuted the Church to the shedding of blood, she did not protest against the State as such, but against the worship of false gods, the immorality of public games, and the violence and cruelty of rulers. If human dictates transgressed the laws of God, then Catholics had no choice but to follow God.

The rapid growth and development of the representative form of government in many parts of the world has brought on new obligations. The citizens in any state have the duty of supporting their government by obeying laws, paying taxes, and contributing to the common good, but citizens in a republican state have the additional duty of participating in the government itself, that is, by assuming public office or at least by using the electoral franchise. But while the role of public office extends to relatively few people, the ballot obliges the majority of citizens in a country.

Sad to say, however, many citizens, even Catholics, have been remiss in their obligation of voting. Even people otherwise good, fail to exercise their right when duty demands it. They are negligent and careless when they should be interested and active. 

N.B.  For the complete text see:
http://www.catholicapologetics.info/morality/general/voting.htm