Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The importance of informed conscience in casting our votes

The ‘race for the presidency’ occupies much of the media’s attention at the moment in Ireland.   Catholics, in particular, should be reminded that no matter what public opinion says, no matter what their individual likes or dislikes are, each voter in the upcoming presidential election must follow her or his own informed conscience in the choice she or he makes.  As Cardinal Raymond Burke said in Knock recently:

‘An erroneous notion of the moral law and of conscience has led to an equally erroneous exclusion of the discussion of the moral law and of questions of conscience from public life.  In many so-called advanced nations, we witness an increasing tendency to deny to citizens the most fundamental right, the right to observe the dictates of one’s conscience, formed through right reason and the teaching of the Church.  We witness the phenomenon in the language of political leaders who profess to be Catholics and yet vote for legislation which violates the moral law, claiming to hold personally to what the moral law demands but, at the same time, to be obliged by their political office to follow a different law in making decisions for those whom they represent and govern.’

He went to say that today: ‘The struggle is fierce, and the opposition is powerful.
[Emphasis added]
We must inform ourselves of the views of the candidates who say they are Catholic (this is most important), but we must also, of course, make ourselves aware and take note of the ideologies and agendas of those candidates for the presidency who are not Catholic, or who are not Christian.   What do these people stand for, what are their beliefs with regard to the sacredness of all human life from conception to natural death?  
What are their beliefs with regard to the dignity of marriage – the union of one man and one woman?  Will they uphold the Constitutional pledge to guard with special care the institution of Marriage, on which the Family is founded, and to protect it against attack? 
What are their beliefs with regard to the Constitutional recognition of the Family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society?  Will they uphold the Constitutional guarantee to protect the Family in its constitution and authority, as the necessary basis of social order and as indispensable to the welfare of the Nation and the State?
All of these questions must be answered satisfactorily before we enter the polling booth on presidential election voting day.

We call on all our Archbishops and Bishops of Ireland – please make a public statement now, well in advance of the voting day, so that all Catholic voters are made aware of the importance of knowing the stance of each candidate with regard to the questions posed above