Pastor’s Note: One Nation, Under God
“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. We need to participate for the common good. ” – Pope Francis
The 2016 Elections could set a record low for voters. Rarely have both parties nominated candidates who invite so much frustration, indifference and even contempt, causing many of us to consider not casting our ballots.
To secure the right to vote, Americans have been beaten, jailed and tortured. Some even died. Yet in the 2012 presidential election, less than 54 percent of the eligible population turned out to vote. And voter turnout has been a big problem for decades. Since 1980, it has hovered between 48 and 57 percent in American presidential elections.
Our bishops urge our all people of good will to contribute to civil and respectful public dialogue; and to shape political choices in the coming election in light of Catholic teaching. Remember that we are both faithful Catholics and American citizens with rights and duties as participants in the civil order.
What follows is a letter from our own Bishop P.J. McGrath and I believe his letter speaks volumes about the upcoming election:
Since 1796, when John Adams succeeded George Washington as President, a founding principle of our great nation has been the orderly transfer of power, as an expression of the will of the people. The notion of a democracy relies upon this.
As hard-fought as many of our elections have been, our nation has always succeeded historically in coming together in a mature and civil manner, for the benefit of all, for the good of all of the people. No matter what the outcome, we have united – in word and in deed – as one nation.
This year’s contentious and unsettling presidential race threatens our ability to come together as one people. The claims by some of our fellow citizens that they will not accept the final outcome of the election borders on the seditious, portending a future that would be neither civil, nor true to our common roots as Americans. We cannot do this. It is not who we are, not who we are called to be.
I ask Catholics and all people of good will to come together on November 8th and 9th and on all of the days that follow to continue to forge one nation, subjects to the rule of law and to unite as one American people, committed to the common good of these United States, with its government “of the people, by the people and for the people” (Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address).
May God bless you all and may all of our people come together as “one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”
With every best wish and kind regard, I remain, Sincerely yours,
Patrick J. McGrath
Bishop of San Jose