As Election Day approaches, Colorado’s voters are gearing up for what is bound to be a crucial juncture in the state’s political future.
As the 2016 presidential election proved, Colorado is a blue state, which means that Republicans have been working especially hard to shift the state back to the right. With Jared Polis on the Democrat side and Walker Stapleton on the Republican side as favorites to be Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper’s successor, that vote alone will be a critical one.
The Catholic Church does not tell her flock which candidates to vote for. It is each person’s responsibility to educate themselves on who the candidates are, what they believe, the values they stand for and what types of legislation they would likely support or oppose.
“If you truly live your Catholic faith, you will not find complete alignment with any political party, and that is okay.”
Ahead of the 2016 presidential election, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila wrote a column entitled “Voting as a Catholic in 2016” that contained valuable information about issues Catholics ought to bear in mind when heading to the polls. The guidance he gave then is just as relevant for the upcoming state election.
“This is the most important guidance I can give,” he wrote,.“Allow your ongoing personal encounter with Jesus Christ and the Church to guide your political decisions. I say this because we believe that the truth about ourselves and the world we live in is revealed in and through him.
“Our society suffers and has suffered for quite some time because too few people live an integrated life — one that does not divide ‘the personal’ from ‘the public.’”
While the issues of the state election may differ from years past, the same principle still applies. Catholics need to consider the teachings of Christ and his Church when voting. Archbishop Aquila advised three ways to do this.
“[First], look at who forms you and your conscience,” he wrote. “Is it your personal encounter with Jesus Christ and the Church, the voice of God which cannot contradict the truth or revelation, or is it the ideology of some political party?
“Secondly, look at how you have been a leaven in society. How have you sought the common good and values of the Gospel, especially by serving the poor, the needy, the unborn and the dying?
Lastly, he implored the faithful to “look at how each party platform supports human life from conception through natural death, the freedom of religion and the freedom of conscience, the family and the poor.”
It is a temptation for Catholics to align themselves with the Republican party, as they generally promote values and policies that tend to fall more in line with Church teaching. However, Archbishop Aquila stressed that being a faithful follower of Christ is not a partisan act, and that one should not think of their role in the democratic process in these terms.
“If you truly live your Catholic faith, you will not find complete alignment with any political party, and that is okay,” he wrote.
As far as specific issues are concerned, it remains with the person’s conscience to decide how to vote. However, Archbishop Aquila emphasized that when it comes to upholding the dignity of life, while “there are some issues that can legitimately be debated by Christians, such as which policies are the most effective in caring for the poor, the direct killing of innocent human life must be opposed at all times by every follower of Jesus Christ.
“There are no legitimate exceptions to this teaching,” he stressed.