Week of November 20, 2016

Week of November 20, 2016


FrCarterDear Parishioners,

Normally as a rule, I stay out of politics. I don’t keep quiet because I do not have strong private opinions on candidates and their issues, or that I do not care about our country. I stay out of it because I know that in the realm of politics, the Church gives us a certain amount of leeway. There can be Catholic Republicans and Catholic Democrats (and even Catholic Monarchists), who are living out their faith to the best of their ability. The Church does not exist to support a particular political platform but to proclaim the Kingdom of God. As a priest, I have to represent the Church and if I speak casually about all the opinions I have, as fallible as they may be, that may make people think that’s what the Church teaches and drive them away from the faith. So, it seems unwise to me to lose the spiritual good of someone’s soul for the temporal gain of someone’s vote.

I am bending that rule in today’s bulletin not to be in support of any party or candidate, but to be in support of something more basic: charity. In many ways, I think charity has been the real loser this election cycle. Elections can bring out the worse in us. We can become so distracted by the negatives of the candidates that we can easily forget that even the worst candidates may have something good about them, and the best even have their drawbacks. We are all human beings. None of us are perfect. That’s easy to see when it’s someone else’s candidate. However, we can easily whitewash the faults of the candidates we support. This habit makes us immediately assume that those we are talking to see people in the exact same light and when they vote for someone that we do not like, we can immediately assume it must be for worse reasons or that they are ignorant, willfully or otherwise. This is not a good way to look at an election because it immediately limits your ability to discuss the candidates objectively and you can easily jump to conclusions about their supporters. As much as you may dislike someone, insulting them and using venom to “win” an argument is no way for a Christian to act.

The good news is that this election season is over. All the races are decided. All the angst and uncertainty of the election is finished. Now should be a time for healing. Remember, as Catholics we have more that unites us than divides us, and we share common values that should go beyond party lines. So, as always, let us pray for our leaders that the Lord may grant them wisdom and that they rule justly. As St. Paul said, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior.” (1 Tim 2:1-3) If he could pray that prayer during the time when the Roman Emperor Nero actively sought the end of Christianity, we can certainly pray it for our leaders today.

God bless,

Fr. Carter