Given that we are in an election year here in the United States, it comes as no surprise that Catholic social media is chock-full of advice on the matter of voting.
Actually, strike that: It’s overflowing not so much with advice as with definitive proclamations, hard and fast rules and regulations, and non-negotiable principles, all of which dictate in black and white what a Catholic can and cannot, must and must not, do with respect to voting.
“A Catholic can never vote for so-and-so!”
“As Catholics, we are obligated to vote!”
“A vote for Candidate X lends moral support to all his evil ideas!”
“We can only vote for a true Catholic!”
And my personal favorite: “That man is a Hindu. We can’t vote for him! God will not be mocked!” (This unadulterated balderdash was put forth, with great confidence, by a so-called “Catholic” pro-life hero.)
The problem (as you may have guessed) is that many of the most vocal commenters, despite whatever “traditional” bona fides they may have to their name (or not), have never taken the time to avail themselves of the guidance offered to the faithful by the Church and her approved theologians on the matter, much less attempted to apply those principles to the present circumstance.
Those who do, however, may be disappointed (hopefully not!) to find that there is ample room for debate, discussion, and disagreement in the matter.
That’s not to say that there is very little to be had in the way of insight from the Church as to the duties and obligations incumbent upon Catholics when it comes to voting, just that the situation isn’t nearly as black and white as one might have assumed.
In the following video, Kevin Davis (of Catholic Family Podcast) hosts a discussion with Fr. Stephen McKenna and me wherein we’ll examine the Catholic moral principals that apply to voting. It is somewhat lengthy (about 1 hour / 20 minutes), but hopefully worth your while.