A Quote for Election Seasons, Past, Present, and Future


“It is your duty to vote. To neglect to do so would be a culpable abdication of duty on your part. It is your duty to vote honestly; that is to say, for men worthy of your esteem and trust. It is your duty to vote wisely; that is to say, in such a way as not to waste your votes. It would be better to cast them for candidates who, although not giving complete satisfaction to all our legitimate demands, would lead us to expect from them a line of conduct useful to the country, rather than to keep your votes for others whose program would indeed be more perfect, but whose almost certain defeat might open the door to the enemies of religion and of the social order.”

Fr. John A Ryan, DD, formerly the Professor of Moral Theology at the Catholic University of America, democracy of the dead (requiescat in pace)

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  • Ted Seeber

    My problem is that I don’t see any men who have a line of conduct actually useful to the whole country. Except maybe Tom Hoefling, but he’s certain not to get elected.

    The rest? It’s just choose your sin that cries out to heaven- they’re all guilty of one or more of them, and the major parties seem to have split them into two groups, with each party taking two.

  • wineinthewater

    I think it is pretty good advice from the good Father.

    “It is your duty to vote honestly; that is to say, for men worthy of your esteem and trust.”

    And that is the problem. Neither major party has a candidate that is even close.

  • http://www.bede.org Stefanie

    Thanks for the reminder, Frank! Recently, much ink was spilled about how few Christians & Catholics actually vote. I was surprised to read this about Catholics because I personally don’t know any Catholics who don’t vote. Yet I’m sure there must be. I was not surprised about the Evangelical churches — most ‘mega-churches’ are quite good at avoiding guidelines on how their political positions. Their emphasis during political seasons is that we are all going to die someday and be judged by God and that’s the most important thing to be concerned about. Live a life that honors God and let God sort out the destiny of your eternal soul. But what are the qualitifications of a life that honors God? In Matthew 25, Jesus sets it out pretty clear.
    We must not ignore the eternal influence Christianity has had and will continue to have on bringing God’s goodness to the world in concrete forms — hospitals, schools, humanitarian aid, protecting the vulnerable who are unable to protect themselves. IMHO, Christianity is not meant to be kept in a bunker-mentality. If it had, we would have never left Jerusalem.

  • Frank Weathers

    Ah the paradox of “worthiness.” As my dear friend Qoheleth was inspired to write,

    “Wisdom is a better defense for the wise than ten princes in the city,yet there is no one on earth so just as to do good and never sin.

    Do not give your heart to every word that is spoken; you may hear your servant cursing you,for your heart knows that you have many times cursed others.

    Jesus himself advises us,

    Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

    and to the Pharisees,

    If you knew what this meant, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned these innocent men.

    and to those who would stone the harlot,

    “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.

    But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.

    And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him.

    Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

    She replied, “No one, sir.”

    Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, [and] from now on do not sin any more.”

    Tough to do without the Sacraments.