Skip to content

Catholicism and Politics

by Bill May
Your Catholic Voice

This past Monday at the J.F. Kennedy School of Government, two of America's most visible and knowledgeable Catholic leaders, Fr. Brain Hehir and the Hon. Ray Flynn engaged in a discussion with Catholic students and faculty about key issues and challenges facing society and the Church today. The event was hosted by the Harvard Catholic Students Association.

The organization's president, Kaitlin E. Burek, opened by stating how timely and important this discussion was because the tension between religion and politics is such a pertinent challenge today. She indicated the students wanted to hear from nationally respected Catholics like Fr. Heir and Ray Flynn who not only have dealt with this tension, but have made a success story out of it.

Flynn, president of Your Catholic Voice, is the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican and mayor of Boston and Rev. J. Brian Hehir is the former head of Harvard Divinity School and president of Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of Boston.

Fr. Hehir talked mostly about the Catholic Church's just war theory and discussed in which cases military force is justified.

Much of the focus of the discussion was on the role of Catholics in the political process. Many students expressed a great deal of interest through their questions about U.S. Sen. John Kerry's public positions on important moral issues contrary to Catholic teaching.

What do you think about this? Bishops have been meeting in the Vatican and here at home to struggle with this problem and are soon expected to announce their decision. Now might be a good time to share your opinions with them. (www.catholic-hierarchy.org/country/dus.html)

Here is a summary of Ambassador Flynn's remarks to the Catholic students.

Young Catholics are not only the future of the Church but will be the moral and political back bone of our society. They are answering Pope John II's call for faithful citizenship by getting involved in the civic life of their community. Church leaders should not only encourage but actively support these dedicated and loyal Catholics who want to make a positive contribution to our church and nation. They are responding to the Pope's message that "man can not be separated from God, nor politics from morality."

I am often asked, "Ambassador Flynn, you have been a successful elected official in Boston for many years and you have also been actively involved in U.S Presidential elections, should Catholics vote Republican or Democrat? What should Catholic political ideology be?"

Our Catholic faith does not easily fit either the "left" or "right", and nor does it fit into the platforms of either party. Our values are often not 'politically correct.' As lay Catholics our responsibility is to evaluate all the candidates, policies, parties, and platforms by how they protect or undermine the life, dignity, and rights of the human person, whether they protect the poor and vulnerable and whether they advance the common good.

As the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stated, "In the Catholic tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue; participation in the political process is a moral obligation. All believers are called to faithful citizenship, to become informed, active, and responsible participants in the political process."

Directly stated, neither political party nor Catholic leaders on the left or right speak for the vast majority of Catholics. The messages from Catholic social teachings are clear, but we have too many wrong message carriers today. Conservative Republicans no more speak for faithful Catholics any more than liberal Democrats do.

Going into the U.S. Presidential election, the political pundits will tell us that the question should be, "Are you better off than four years ago?" Wrong question. It should be, how can we pursue, greater peace and justice? How can we protect and promote human life and dignity? How can we - all of us, especially the weak and vulnerable - be better off in the years ahead.? Our faith tells us that there must be a seat at the table for everyone. Are we determined to combat discrimination based on sex, race, ethnicity, disabling condition or age?

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in its recent document, "Faithful Citizenship, a Catholic Call to Political Responsibility", thoroughly lays out a clear agenda for Catholics to follow in this election year. As Catholics, who we vote for and our policy choices are all matters of conscience, but as Catholic citizens and residents of the United States, we have the duty to participate now and in future debates and choices over the values and visions that will guide our nation.

The dual calling of faith and citizenship is at the heart of what it means to be a Catholic in the United States. Faithful citizenship calls us to seek "a place at the table" of life for all God's children in the elections of 2004 and beyond. This is what our Catholic Church teaches and these positions are not based on polls, focus groups or what is politically correct. It comes from the Good News of God and the teachings are not subject to political manipulation.

Contact

Your Catholic Voice
http://www.yourcatholicvoice.org CA, US
Bill May - Your Catholic Voice - Vice President, 661 869-1000

Email

info@yourcatholicvoice.org

Keywords

Politics, Catholic, Politician, Social Teachings, Doctrine

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity
DAN SHEA

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Catholic Online MasterClass
Learn from experts

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Catholic Media Missionaries
The New Evangelization

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.