Voting with the mind of Christ - I

Friday, 28 October 2016

As we approach Nov. 8, the societal and political fate of a variety of issues will rest in the hands of voters. In a certain sense, these fates rest in our hands on a daily basis through the ways we conduct ourselves, both privately and publicly. In another sense, the fate of issues takes on a particularly solemn and moral character when we cast our vote.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ document, Forming Conscience for Faithful Citizenship, states: “[A]s Catholics we are called to participate in public life in a manner consistent with the mission of our Lord, a mission he has called us to share.” To steal the words of St. Paul and apply them to our upcoming election, we want to “have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16), which is not simply a “wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age” (1 Cor. 2:6), when we approach our ballot Nov. 8.

This, however, begs the question: What does it mean to vote with the mind of Christ? 

Thankfully, as Catholics, documents such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Faithful Citizenship, among others, give us proper insights into the mind of Christ regarding some of the key issues we face in our own political circumstances. 

I will deal with these key issues in two columns. In this column, I will discuss the inviolable dignity of human life and marriage and the family. In the next article, I will discuss religious liberty, preferential option for the poor, healthcare, immigration, and education.

Dignity of Human Life

As Pope Saint John Paul II said, the right to life is the “condition for all others.” Without the right to life, no other right is possible. Devastatingly, since Roe v. Wade (1973), the right to life has been severely jeopardized by the evil of abortion. We are a country that sends over a million unborn children a year to their death through abortion. Saint Mother Teresa herself recognized that Roe v. Wade “has deformed a great nation” and has “pitted mothers against their children” and “aggravated the derogation of the father’s role in an increasingly fatherless society.” 

Increasingly, we are witnessing attacks on life with the renewed push for the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia throughout the country, including attempts in Nebraska.

These attacks at the end of life perpetuate a “throwaway culture,” as Pope Francis calls it, that devalues the lives of handicapped, sick, and dying persons.
Such attacks on life—often rooted in a skewed vision of autonomy and freedom—are unconscionable for a civil society, and run contrary to the mind of Christ that calls us to value all human life from the moment of conception until natural death.

Marriage and Family

The elements of marriage can be categorized in the following points: marriage is a lifelong union, and between one man and one woman, for the good of children. Our nation has prompted the downfall of each of these elements, attempting to loosen the original bonds designed by God for our happiness and salvation.

Contraception and abortion have dismantled the good of children. No-fault divorce has undermined the lifelong union. Same-sex marriage has cast into the shadows the union of a man and a woman. On the rise, polyamory and polygamy demean the exclusivity of the one man and one woman.

Yet, with every attempt to redefine marriage, the fact is that reality is not subject to the editorial discretions of man. Reality is not beholden to our sheer will or desire. Instead, reality stands firm in the grasp of the One who made her. As the Catechism teaches, the married state “has been established by the Creator endowed by him with its own proper laws…. God himself is the author of marriage.” 

At the bedrock of society is the family, united through the union of husband and wife by the grace of God. The family is society’s nucleus. It is through the family that society is able to see God. The fruitful love of husband and wife becomes a “true, living icon…capable of revealing God the Creator and Savior” (Amoris Laetitia, 11). It is through the union of husband and wife that children, begotten of their parents’ union, can attain their human flourishing.

While the proper societal response to the challenges presented to marriage and the family can sometimes seem daunting, our vote provides an opportunity to act with the mind of Christ and begin rebuilding the fundamental building block of society, the family.

As you approach the polls, I pray that, with an informed conscience, you will cast a ballot that aligns with the mind of Christ and instills in our culture goodness, truth, and beauty.