Catholic identity must not be checked at the door of the polling booth

From CNA:

Catholic identity must not be checked at the door, advise Costa Rican bishops

San José, Costa Rica, Jan 27, 2010 / 11:02 pm (CNA).- In light of the upcoming presidential elections in Costa Rica set for February 7, the country’s bishops issued a statement reminding the faithful that their Catholic faith is not just another aspect of their lives, but rather has “unavoidable implications in the field of political morality and public life.”

In their letter the bishops urged Catholics to vote by discerning the best choice “with the help of the Lord” and to use sound reasoning in the search for what is best for the country.

After noting that “politics is a noble activity,” they added that it must be guided by “paths of justice, respect for human life, marriage, the family, religious freedom and the search for the common good.” The bishops then pointed to the various challenges the next president must address such as the country’s breakdown in security, violence, disrespect for life, ongoing poverty, unstable families, unemployment, corruption and drug trafficking.

The letter reminded Catholic voters they must not check their Catholic identity at the door of the polling booth, and stressed that the Christian faith “has unavoidable implications in the field of political morality and public life.”

The bishops also exhorted “all people of good will to analyze ahead of time and to attentively discern, guided by reason and ethics, the proposals set forth by candidates, in order to cast a vote that is responsible and reasoned.”

“At this time in our history,” they said, “we invite the entire People of God to invoke the help of the Lord and the maternal protection of Our Lady of the Angels, so that we may once again feel her intercessory presence and she may guide us to strengthen our democracy in peace, justice and freedom.”

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  1. idatom says:


    Our shepherds would do well to follow the lead of the Costa Rican bishops by reminding their flocks to pray for wisdom before voting and not to check their faith at the door of the voting booth.

    In DC this past week I saw much faith and public witness during 37th march for life this was about ninety percent Catholic and mostly youth. What a beautiful sight.

    Tom Lanter

  2. vincentuher says:

    Costa Rica is blessed with bishops who are genuinely shepherds of the flock of Christ. Other national conferences of bishops would do well to adopt the Costa Rican bishops’ statement (an ecclesial “Ditto.” if you will).

  3. DavidJ says:

    Could we file this under the “Duh” tag? You have to love when bishops have to teach the obvious. Kudos to them for doing it, though.

  4. Can we get these Bishops to replace the USCCB?

  5. EENS says:

    As far as coping with evil, St. Thomas is helpful when he categorically states, in Summa Theological, that to choose a lesser evil (i.e., commit a smaller sin to avoid a great sin) is not permissible. (See Summa of the Summa, Ignatius Press, 1990 (Peter Kreeft, ed., P. 1,. Q. 48, Art. 6. I couldn’t find my full Summa, but this is a good condensation). [St. Thomas Aquinas makes distinctions between the forbidden choice of a lesser moral evil (“fault” or “sin”) in contrast to the permissible choice (or tolerance) of a lesser suffering (“pain”). I take him to mean that our free will must always choose the moral position, but that in matters of discipline we have some discretion.
    I believe it’s not hard to see the moral dangers inherent in trying to justify choosing (not just tolerating) a lesser evil. That practice has produced a society whose members largely no longer have a moral conscience, and in which morality itself has been supplanted by sundry forms of secular pragmatism. People generally (society) have become so conditioned to “choose the lesser evil” that they (we) have lost sight of Our Lord’s mandate not to sin at all (“Go, and sin no more.” How anyone gets “sin less” out of that is not clear to me). In our present dilemma, while the principle (i.e., intransigence in avoiding the sin of voting for a candidate who supports abortion) seems harsh when faced with the prospect of the continued murder of innocents (which will continue anyway), I think Catholic morality is clear about those who oppose such murder having to do so from a morally integral position and in spite of whether we sometimes fail ourselves in practice. If we start out by abandoning the principle, how can we hope to ever succeed in practice? We won’t; we’ll fail consistently, and fallen human nature will lead us to constantly redraw the line between “lesser evil” and “greater evil” until we end up… well, it looks like we (as a society) already have ended up at the point where we draw the line where it suits our taste and expedience.
    Along with pure doctrine we also have pure example: I can’t remember a single instance in which Our Lord gave us an example of when it is legitimate to commit one sin to avoid another.

  6. ssoldie says:

    I’m with Joe of St. Therese.

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