UP Catholic 10 28 2016 E Edition Page 6

6 October 28, 2016 THE U.P. CATHOLIC COMMENTARY www.upcatholic.org Father Rick Courier, Thank you for preaching Christ to us, for bringing Christ to us, for being Christ to us. Thank you for teaching us to trust, for teaching us to love, for teaching us to live. We are so thankful for your sacrifice, your ministry, and your love. Please know that you are loved in return, by your flock, and most importantly, by your Shepherd. The Parishioners of St. Anthony of Padua and St. Thomas the Apostle To Reverend Paul Schiska, Thank you for your 'yes' to our Lord's call 59 years ago! Your presence at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is a courageous witness of faith and love! With grateful hearts and our love, Your Parish Family of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Bark River W ith a few weeks left in the election, campaign coverage is ever present: in conversations at work, on televisions at the gym, and all over Facebook newsfeeds. This election has left many voters fatigued, as campaigning began more than a year ago. Others have expressed dissatisfaction with the candidates for the nation's highest of- fice, citing issues of trustworthiness, integ- rity, character, and experience. The choice of candidates and feelings of political homelessness," the negativity, the research needed for deci- sions, or a combination of these reasons makes it eas- ier to step away from the political process altogether. For some, retreating from this election is particularly tempting. Yet Pope Francis, among others, has called for continued engagement at all levels of government. Why? Because people of faith, in following the example of the Gospel, have a duty to pursue the com- mon good and leave the world better than it was before (Evangelii Gaudium). Voting and advocacy help us live out this duty, as pol- itics is responsible for "the just ordering of society and of the state." On Nov. 8, we will elect members of the U.S. House of Repre- sentatives, the Michigan House of Repre- sentatives, the State Board of Education, the Michigan Supreme Court, and other local offices. Instead of letting frustration with the presidential race take over, Catholics can and still should head to the ballot box. Through charitable works and overall con- cern for the human condition, the Catholic Church and people of faith have long served the most vulnerable and marginalized of society. In politics too, Catholics can high- light and work within this "field hospital," ensuring the vulnerable and efforts to pro- mote the common good are heard by elected officials (Pope Francis at Casa Santa Marta, 2015). Setting partisanship and rhetoric aside, a focus on individual conscience formation and attention to critical issues will help Catholics choose their preferred candidates at all levels of government. Voters bene- fit from asking questions such as: Which values are most important and how can they be promoted? How can we uphold the dignity of all in society, especially the un- born? What should society look like? Which candidates at the local, state, and federal level will help reach that vision for society while protecting the most vulnerable in our midst? In an effort to assist with these questions, the U.S. bishops write in Forming Con- sciences for Faithful Citizenship that Catho- lics should consider candidate positions on issues of human life and dignity, children and families, religious freedom, poverty, health care, immigration, education, and restorative justice, among other issues. The bishops urge people of faith to weigh all these issues carefully while recognizing that they are not all morally equivalent. Accord- ing to the document, "the direct and inten- tional destruction of innocent human life is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must be opposed." With these thoughts in mind, help shape the policies that will be debated and pur- sued by voting on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Mich- igan Catholic Conference (MCC) offers materials to help prepare Catholics for the upcoming elections, including information to assist in conscience formation, candidate evaluation, political guidelines for parishes, and Election Day logistics at www.micatho- lic.org/2016election. It is important to remember that the work does not end when votes are recorded. Regardless of which candidates win, at all levels of the ballot, Catholics can communi- cate with their elected officials, making an effort to shape the dialogue and to create a more just society. Through this election and the months to come, may the desire to advance the com- mon good provide motivation for individ- uals to be engaged in the public realm. In spite of the urge to retreat, now is really the time to make our voices heard. The Word from Lansing is a regular col- umn for Catholic news outlets and is writ- ten by Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) President and CEO Paul A. Long. Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state. Calling for dignity in the public square THE WORD FROM LANSING Paul A. Long SETTING PARTISANSHIP AND RHETORIC ASIDE, A FOCUS ON INDIVIDUAL CONSCIENCE FORMATION AND ATTENTION TO CRITICAL ISSUES WILL HELP CATHOLICS CHOOSE THEIR PREFERRED CANDIDATES AT ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT. Election guidelines for Catholics available at www.micatholic.org/2016election

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