Voting from a Catholic perspective

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As we approach Election Day, this topic “Voting from a Catholic Perspective” is very timely.  “Why should we even consider this?”, some might ask.  What does voting have to do with my Catholic faith?  I imagine most of you who are here tonight recognize the important connection between faith and politics.  You recognize our call and responsibility to be faithful citizens, not just citizens.  This is part of our Catholic identity.  The motto of Bishop Dwenger High School expresses this truth: “citizens of two worlds.”  Saint Augustine used the expression “citizens of two cities,” the city of God and the city of man.  We are citizens of both.  We can’t forget this truth.  Jesus Himself taught us: “We are in the world, but we are not to be of the world.”  We are citizens of two cities, two worlds: earth and heaven, human society and the Church. 
Pope Saint John Paul II reflected on this union that exists from being members of the Church and citizens of human society.  He wrote: “There cannot be two parallel lives in their existence: on the one hand, the so-called ‘spiritual’ life, with its values and demands; and on the other, the so-called ‘secular’ life, that is, life in a family, at work, in social relationships, in the responsibilities of public life, and in culture.”  Saint John Paul warned about the grave consequences that come when faith is separated from life and the gospel is separated from culture (Christifideles Laici 59).  The Second Vatican Council taught that the split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age” (Gaudium et spes 43).  We see this grave error in many Catholic politicians and elected officials in the United States who shirk their responsibility as Catholics, their duties to God and to the Church, in making political choices at odds with the most deeply held truths of our faith regarding human life and dignity.  We must reject this error and avoid it when we vote.  When we go into the voting booth, we shouldn’t leave our faith outside.  We must not renounce our citizenship in heaven or our citizenship in the Church when we exercise our American citizenship.   We don’t cease to be citizens of heaven, members of the city of God, when we exercise our right to vote as American citizens, as citizens of the earthly city.