Archbishop Chaput isn’t too excited about the upcoming presidential election. In an interview with CNA, the Archbishop expressed deep disappointment at the quality of the candidates on offer.
Archbishop Chaput has seen plenty of elections. CAN reported, “In the 50 years he has voted, the archbishop said,’the major parties have never, at the same time, offered two such deeply flawed presidential candidates. The 1972 Nixon/McGovern race comes close. But 2016 wins the crown.'”
Archbishop Chaput regards both candidates as “very bad news for our country, though in different ways.” He noted Trump’s appearance of impulsiveness and apparent belligerence to the people. And he described Clinton as “a criminal liar, uniquely rich in stale ideas and bad priorities.”
However, the Archbishop warned against cynicism and he reminded Catholics to vote. “The surest way to make the country suffer is to not contest them in public debate and in the voting booth,” he said.
Catholics are divided on how to vote in this election, but this is an old problem. It was the Catholic demographic in swing states such as Ohio that elected Barack Obama to the White House in 2008 and in 2012. Catholics make up around 20 percent of the electorate, but they are often split between Democrats and Republicans. Neither party truly represents Catholics.
A Catholic who is aligned with the Church in their political views would support issues on both sides. The Church has previously expressed support for universal healthcare, immigration and an end to the death penalty, which are issues commonly associated with Democrats. Hoated with Democrats. However, the Church is also supportive of life, which means an end to abortion. It also supports marriage.
These are traditionally conservative issues. In the United States, few policies, even those that advance the broader goals of the Church, do so in a way that is morally and ethically consistent with all the teachings of the Church. Therefore, it is reasonable to oppose many of the government’s schemes. For example, Catholics are opposed to Obamacare because while it advances the goal of providing healthcare to people, it also forces people to participate in the most heinous sin of abortion.
Catholics have the power to be the most transformative force in American politics, if only they would wield it. Five of the eight sitting members of the Supreme Court are Catholic! Antonin Scalia made six prior to his passing. The other three are Jewish.
Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine is Catholic, but he is not politically pro-life, which means he is not pro-life at all. Joe Biden is also supposed to be Catholic. Biden, who supports abortion and is opposed to marriage, was given the Laetare Medal by Notre Dame University.is a contradiction of the university’s Catholic identity, as Archbishop Chaput pointed out.
We must vote and we must vote with our consciences. It may be that the current selection of candidates it to nobody’s highest preference. But this should inspire faithful Catholics to engage in the political arena, both as voters and as candidates themselves.
As Catholics, we can change the political direction of our nation, but we must act as one voice, not two, informed and guided by the Church.
By Marshall Connolly