Our nation faces crucial challenges. Some say we are at a tipping point. Many citizens, duped by slick television advertisements, funded by secretive front groups for mega wealthy titans with an ideology driven by greed, are prepared to vote diametrically opposed to their own best interests. A scary testament to the power of the media. We however must rise above the divisive, hateful scare tactics and decide what kind of country we intend to be.
Catholic social teaching has much to offer in these trying times, to those who are drowning in this swamp of half truths, confusion, distortions, and lies.
For example, some including Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, proscribe a philosophy of heartless individualism. They ignore the clarion call of Jesus to feed the hungry, clothe the naked...etc. Instead they paint the poor as lazy moochers, unworthy of our care and concern. Blessed John Paul II described "individualism" as a dimension of the "culture of death". The Church teaches that responsibility for the common good rests with us all. What we do to the least of these...
Some say that government is the problem.
The Church says that government is as necessary for the well being of the human community as the family. The state exists to defend and promote the common good of civil society and its citizens. John Paul II states in his 1991 encyclical letter "Centesimus Annus", "One can only rejoice that States set up social welfare systems to assist families...and pension funds for retirees."
Some say that unions are the problem...
The Church teaches that we have a right to collective bargaining, and that unions specific role is "to secure the just rights of workers within the framework of the common good of the whole of society." (Laborem Exercens -On Human Work, John Paul II encyclical letter 9/14/1981)
Some say that we must increase our already bloated military budget.
The Church says "Justice, then, right reason and consideration for human dignity and life urgently demand that the arms race should cease..." (Pacem In Terris - Peace on Earth, Pope John XXIII encyclical letter 4/11/1963).
The choices this November 6th are clear. Will we chose mean spirited individualism and tax breaks for the super wealthy, or will we chose to provide for the common good with health care, jobs and education for all?
Neil V. Himber, Youngsville