Today I was praying in the church as our maintenance man opened up. This good man gets up early to throw open the doors to Christ, that all San Francisco may enter God’s house. He also has to open the sacristy safe, so visiting priests can get their chalices. But he was having trouble, turning the dial back and forth in a fruitless effort to crack the vault. Five minutes passed, and I began to grow solicitous enough to begin the Memorare. No sooner had I gotten out the first words (“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary….”) than I heard the safe swing open. Timing is everything.
The remedy for even the smallest of life’s problems is prayer. Which brings me to the question of: What’s A Catholic To Do (on November 8)? I wouldn’t hazard to suggest for whom to vote, but a priest must offer guiding principles, the first of which is prayerful confidence in God’s providence.
1. Despite our national chaos, God is still the master of human history. Nothing will happen this year without His permission. “All things work for the good for those who are called” as St. Paul writes. Be careful not to lose your peace or your faith in God as you watch the news (and don’t watch too much if it!).
2. There are no political solutions to our most burning issues. Politics can help order our lives together, but ultimately only God can bring about a peaceful social order. Consider Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving address during our Civil War: “No human counsel hath devised ...these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.” Good candidates have the intelligence and humility to rely more on God’s natural laws than on themselves. Candidates who ignore the Natural Law are not capable of ruling.
3. We are not only electing a president, but more importantly, a Supreme Court, a vice-president, and over 300 high-level presidential appointments. With what kind of people is the candidate surrounding himself or herself, and how will these people govern us? You know a candidate not so much by what he says but by what kind of people with whom he surrounds himself.
4. It only stands to reason that Catholics should vote for a candidate that seems more likely to preserve the Church’s freedom to exercise her work publicly, who respects Christianity, and is even willing to support the Church (along with other healthy forms of religious expression). Obviously Catholics would not vote for candidates who would force the Church to violate her convictions or who would coerce her out of public life.
5. The life issues are more important than all others. If we can kill unborn Americans, the disabled, the elderly, or other vulnerable groups, no one is safe. Trust no one that says he is “personally pro-life” but will not support laws that defend all human lives. We call “genocide” any political program that selects a particular group for extermination. Legalized abortion is an act of genocide because it targets a whole group of people based only on their age.
So what’s a Christian to do on November 8? I say we use the brains God gave us, and put the outcome in His hands. Are you praying the rosary every day? If not, you have no reason to complain!