From the Administrator
This is a big week for Pennsylvania. In a few days we’re going to have our primary election. So I hope you’ll forgive me, but I’m going to wade into a bit of deep water. Let me begin by saying that I think it’s important for us as Catholics to consider our role in the crazy world that is our country and our government. I know we have folks in our parish who have run for one office or another. Especially locally, with as many little municipalities as we have, it doesn’t really take that many votes to elect someone. Then, we watch huge campaigns of presidential candidates who duke it out on serious issues.
In our Church, it is specifically the role of the lay Catholic to take part in the political life of our country. It is the priest’s job to teach the faith to the people, but it is the lay person’s job to take the Church’s teaching and apply it to the concrete situations of every day life. Sometimes it’s easy to take the things we believe and apply them to the world. Sometimes it’s not so easy. Sometimes we’re told that faith should have no place in government, but at the same time our faith makes us who we are, it helps us see right from wrong. In the words of Pope Francis
"We need to participate for the common good. Sometimes we hear: a good Catholic is not interested in politics. This is not true: good Catholics immerse themselves in politics by offering the best of themselves so that the leader can govern." - Pope Francis, 9/16/13
Essentially, as Catholics we are called to form our conscience. Living in a world full of sin, it can become too easy to simply accept things as they are, and play along. Sometimes we feel there’s no other option, so what we know is bad, we do anyway, and pretty soon, we don’t even feel bad about it anymore. Instead, we as Catholics are called to first learn what our Church teaches, learn what principles we are supposed to know and believe in, learn what Jesus teaches us about right and wrong, rights and responsibilities. Then we must practice it until it becomes a habit, until it becomes part of us. If we act well consistently, we have formed our conscience. Once we’ve done that well, it will “feel” wrong when we sin, when we push in the wrong direction.
Once we’ve formed our conscience, we’re called to use that sense to be a part of the political process, to vote, letter write, and work in a practical way to build the society that we believe is possible.
With all that in mind, I’m attaching to the bulletin an insert from the Us Conference of Catholic Bishops on Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. The full letter is available online at http://www.faithfulcitizenship.org I would invite you to take a look at the full letter. As with many things from our Bishops, and our Holy Father, you’ll hear all sorts of talk about what they say...but it is important that we actually read what they have really said.