Every year, as Election Day approaches, people ask me my opinion of candidates. They are looking for help in doing the right thing as voters, as citizens, and as Catholics.
To me, the basic question is whether a particular candidate qualified to hold public office. This is not a question just about their education, experience, and character. It also involved whether this candidate is willing to respect and defend the fundamental principles of our society, that all people are created equal, and that all have “inalienable rights”, most especially the right to life.
This is not just my test. It’s a test that is incumbent on all of us as Catholics to apply very critically when we consider whom to vote for. The Holy Father has stated very plainly that the defense of every human life from conception to natural death, and the preservation of the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman, are “non-negotiable” values (Sacramentum Caritas 83).
We cannot compromise on these issues. We must promote them, and resist every attack on them. We must never just look the other way and pretend that they don’t matter, or talk ourselves into believing that they are less important than other transitory concerns.
Last year, Cardinal Egan was very blunt about the qualifications of our elected officials:
“Anyone who dares to defend that [an unborn child] may be legitimately killed because another human being ‘chooses’ to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name”
He was equally blunt about our obligation as voters:
“Look and decide with honesty and decency what the Lord expects of you and me as the horror of ‘legalized’ abortion continues to erode the honor of our nation. Look, and do not absolve yourself if you refuse to act.”
All of this means that when we walk into the voting booth, we must be disciples, we must resist evil, we must promote the non-negotiable values our Church holds to and teaches us. We must look very carefully at the candidates and see if they have the basic qualifications for leadership in our nation. We must not avert our eyes, or shirk our duty, if they do not.
We must vote pro-life, pro-marriage.