A blessed Feast of All Saints!
I want to encourage you to vote on Tuesday. One of our national embarrassments is that we American citizens do not take our duty to vote — a freedom most of the world’s inhabitants long for — seriously.
Might I also thank our candidates. Disagree with them on issues I do, but I sure appreciate the sense of public service that inspires them, and will ask God’s guidance for Tuesday’s victors.
We Catholic pastors scrupulously avoid endorsing candidates. Why? For one, we trust the judgment of our people, that they will “render to God what is God’s, and to Caesar what is Caesar’s.”
Two, it’s counterproductive, as our people want us to stick to principles that should guide us, not partisan politics.
Three, we embrace America’s heritage of “separation of Church and State.” (Although it does annoy me that other pastors hardly seem to blush at overt endorsements, even inviting candidates to preach in their churches, without a peep from the usual watchdogs who blast any Catholic pastor who dares even to offer guidance on issues or candidates.)
Many of you have expressed appreciation for the statement of the bishops of New York State on Proposition 1, on casino gambling. You have kindly observed that this was helpful, as we offered a moral reflection to hopefully enlighten, while refraining from taking a side.
What about Proposition 6? Well, having just elected a seventy-six year old for one of the world’s more challenging duties, and seeing the zeal and success of Pope Francis, prompts me to admit a lot of sympathy for the measure, which would allow judges to stay on. I suppose one of the virtues we most admire in a magistrate is wisdom, and that trait usually advances with age. We allow our pastors to stay on in pastoral administration until they’re eighty, and, if healthy, invite them to remain active in a parish even after that. I’m glad we do.
Blessed John Paul II once observed that the real enemy of democracy is not tyranny, but apathy! Study the issues! Ask the Holy Spirit for inspiration! Then, vote! Then ask the Lord to guide the winners, and thank God for the defeated who were willing to serve.