Faithful Citizenship

Fr. Kevin Dillon

Fr. Kevin Dillon is the Pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Parish, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY.

Most will agree that this election season has been anything but normal; although some might say it is politics as usual with all the name calling and accusations that candidates for political office have engaged in during the past year.  This kind of rhetoric can discourage the average person and even turn off the individual from exercising his/her moral obligation to VOTE.

In the document Faithful Citizenship, the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops reminds Catholics that voting is indeed, an important and moral obligation.  The Bishops say, “In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue and participation in political life is a moral obligation.  As Catholics, we should be guided by our moral convictions, than by attachment to any particular political party or special interest group.  Even those who cannot vote should raise their voices on matters that affect their lives and the common good.”

Long after this election is over, the two candidates representing each of the major political parties of our nation will still be very rich and famous.  After all, even the loser will be able to say “I ran for President of the United States!”  Not many people in our Nation’s history can say that.  The majority of people will be able to say, “We won.”  The other group will have four more years to say, “That’s why I didn’t vote for ___________.

Just remember, we live in a different America than they do.  We have to live, work, eat and play with each other in our America.  None of us get to fly on private jets to leave our community’s problems; we do not get twenty four hour security protection, and truth be told most of us probably are very happy about that and would not trade our private lives in for such things.   Collectively, as ordinary and  private citizens we are what makes this country great  and to take it a step further, as Catholics we make this terrific country even better with our extensive health care, education and social services programs that welcomes everyone, NOT JUST CATHOLICS!

No candidate for political office will stop crime in our communities; he/she will not stop someone from stealing your identity and neither will stop violence and drugs from affecting our neighborhoods.  They will not teach your children right from wrong, but YOU CAN!  They will not come to your home and help your child with math, but YOU CAN!  Neither one will coach your son’s/daughter’s soccer team but YOU CAN!  Neither will volunteer at their local parish’s food bank or Religious Education program but YOU CAN!

The Bishops remind us, “Our nation faces political challenges that demand urgent moral choices.  We are a nation at war with all of its human costs; a country often divided by race and ethnicity, a nation of immigrants struggling with immigration.  We are an affluent society where too many people live in poverty and where basic human dignities are often ignored and private or individual rights over shadow the common good.”    We as a united people with sound values, morals, and ethics can shape and make this country whatever we want.  VOTE on Tuesday, November 8 for whomever you want taking into account Catholic Social Teaching, but remember we are the ones that shape our communities and parishes, NOT them.

For more information the document Faithful Citizenship & how to vote as an informed Catholic go to:

— Fr. Kevin

Fr. Kevin’s letter appears each week in print and online in the St. Boniface Martyr Parish Bulletin.

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