Saturday, November 3, 2012

After the election

By Bishop Gerald Barnes
Diocese of San Bernardino

With the presidential election just days away, the political polarization of our country is difficult to deny. Many have strong feelings about the two candidates – both the one who will get their vote, and the one who will not.

I have written recently about our call as Catholics to accept the gift that God gives us to participate in the election of our government leaders. I am hopeful that you will measure the candidates and the propositions against the social teachings of the Church and that you will take the time to examine your conscience on these very important matters before us on Nov. 6.

Given the sometimes acrimonious tone of the dialogue, both inside and outside the Church, I am also compelled to again call upon the faithful of the diocese to show civility and respect for all of our brothers and sisters in Christ once the election is decided. Just as we are called to vote in the election and to stand up for the teachings of the Church in the public square, we must also respect the vote of the people and honor the office of the President of the United States, regardless of who holds it. We can disagree with his policies and we can even express that disagreement. But we give our respect to the office and offer our prayer that God will guide his leadership of our nation.

Our country is confronted with many challenges. Our Church has a part to play in easing the burden on those who find themselves on the margins, and also in promoting the culture of life and the value of religious freedom.

Let us come together on Nov. 7 in support and prayer for our president and other policymakers elected to office. May they govern the people of God with prudence and compassion.