Thursday, September 16, 2004 +

Talking with MaryH

in St Blog's Parish Hall.

Because we see darkly, because the issues are many and difficult, because voters vote (or don't vote) for many reasons, most of which are not reasoned, the current presidential election will not be decided unanimously. A minority among the likely voters are Catholics, who also will not vote unanimously. The Church will not tell Catholics whom to vote for in the election, though it has spoken out on some of the issues in ways that will lead some Catholics to decide for one candidate, some for another, and some to be (so far) undecided. None of this is a reason to stop trying to know the truth or to accept it when we hear it.

The question is whether God wants the Catholic vote to be unanimous. I reply that since God knows Catholics, and what's more, knows them individually, the answer is no. I acknowledge that I may be mistaken.

You quoted the psalm we heard and responded to yesterday, and ask, Who are the people the Lord has called his own? The psalm tells us: The nation whose God is the LORD. By this I understand that that nation is not the United States of America. A better choice is your suggestion: the Church; or: the communion of saints; or: all Christians, possibly including Christians who don't know or say they are Christians. What song are they singing? If you hear it, tell what the song says about the current election.

Can you believe that this election is not a test set by God for Catholics? It is indeed a bad test for anybody who has not already decided. Here we are faced with abortion, war, poverty, secular laws and culture, economic and political injustice, terrorism, the invasion of privacy, a failed educational system, the uglification of life, the debasement of language, and a host of other questions, and the answer is Kerry or Bush? It may be so, or not. Perhaps one or the other is part of the answer. Neither the Lord nor the Church has spoken, though many others try to speak for them.

So pray, and seek the truth, and accept it when you hear it. I know you will not judge another who does the same and votes differently from you, and I argue that God will not either. For it is a hard saying but true: even if the truth is one, true responses to the truth may vary. This does not deny that there are also false responses, or that some will vote in a way contrary to God's will for them.

I want to leave you with a thought not relevant to our discussion. It is that what you do today and every day for the rest of your life is much more important to God than your vote on November 2.

May we stop now, after you've had your say?

MaryH replied:

Thank you, Leo. I'll leave it at that because I think, for the most part, we agree. Sometimes I also think that political/cultural problems are given to us not as a test to solve the problem but as a test to love. The story of St. Maximillian Kolbe comes to mind.

He worked in practical ways to address the problems of his time. He fed/housed the poor, he published a newspaper, he spoke the truth. When he was captured he continued being a priest to those who needed him. He was kind to those who imprisoned him and he forgave them. His love was uncompromising for both his friends and his enemies. His was the logic of love.

I enjoyed our talk. I hope we can do it again sometime.