Earlier this year, Pope Benedict XVI spoke to US Bishops about the need for an “engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense” to counter any effort to draw Catholic individuals and institutions into “intrinsically evil practices.” He was focused then on the general hyper-ventilation from the Bishops about the perils of the Affordable Healthcare Act with regard to contraceptive coverage.
In the spirit of doing as the Holy Father advised, here are some other “intrinsically evil practices” that Catholics should be taking into account as they cast their vote:
- Excluding the interests of 47% of the population when governing.
- Pouring more money than even the Pentagon is asking for into the military.
- Failing to pass a Job Corps bill to help veterans as they return from two long wars, only to face nearly 11% unemployment and climbing suicide rates.
- Amassing great wealth using the opportunities America makes possible but sending that wealth to shelters overseas to avoid paying US taxes.
- Suppressing the vote through various mechanisms that make it extremely difficult for minorities and the poor to participate in the elections.
- Protecting tax cuts for the rich while reducing critical services to people in need in order to balance the budget.
- Undermining women’s right to make their own healthcare decisions, forcing invasive procedures on them and re-defining rape as only someone with no regard for women or science can.
- Refusing to support equal pay for equal work so that women, who now earn 77 cents for every dollar paid to a man doing the same job, can begin to close the gap.
- Targeting immigrants, demonizing them as “illegals” and withholding from them the opportunities and services that earlier waves of immigrants enjoyed even as these same “illegals” sign up for military service and provide the labor so many businesses rely on.
We know what the Bishops are saying. And not saying.
But all Catholics with “ a strong critical sense” need only ask themselves: What would Jesus say? And what would Jesus do? The answers to those questions are no mystery. Jesus welcomed strangers, recognized the authority and ability of women to make their own choices, treated them as confidants and custodians of everything his life meant, and warned that it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.
What remains a mystery is how so many would-be political leaders ignore the Gospels and shamelessly invoke Christianity to justify their very un-Christ-like public policies.
The nuns –and many faith leaders –aren’t letting them get away with it. Neither should we.