Sixth Sunday after
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
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: