Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all. These words coming from the mouth of our Lord serve as a preface to a few thoughts that I would like to share with you regarding the election that will be held in our country very soon[1]. “Uuu! Father will talk about election and politics! Red flag! We must find the Archbishop's cell!...”

My brother, my sister, my duty as a pastor is saying something because the elections are something serious and important to this country, and although I am not American (not yet) I have great love for this country. So, the following issues are critical: pro-life/respect-life issues (e.g., abortion, stem-cell research, human cloning, the death penalty, euthanasia), national economy, social justice issues like immigration, education, health care, same-sex marriage, equate animal rights with human rights, etc…

The Catholic Church does not tell you how to vote. The Church presents principles to guide and assist you in preparing for voting, and then you decide how to vote. We should respect each other's decisions. All of us in the congregation are exposed to the same newspapers, Internet sites, TV news shows, Church teachings, and homilies. Some will decide for candidate A, and others will decide for candidate B. We must respect each other's vote, but first, I have to expose my sheep the thought and the opinion of the Church in matters of conscience.

During the coming weeks, before we focus entirely on the Year of faith in the bulletin you will find some inserts with useful ideas on the election season and Christian conscience. I invite you to read carefully[2]. Now I want to share with you our Catholic principles. You decide how to apply them when you vote.

The first one. Please vote. In the system of this country voting is one very important way that we Catholics put our faith and consciences into action.

Second. Have a well-formed conscience. We arrive at a well-formed conscience by knowing the facts as best as possible, by knowing the teachings of the Church as best as possible, and making a reasonable decision.

Third. Be prudent! Prudence is the first and most important of all the moral virtues. The church teaches about prudence: if an action lacks prudence, then even the good that you hope to achieve will not be achieved. As simple as that!
And finally: do good and avoid evil. Some actions are intrinsically evil: e.g., abortion, racism, unjust wars, etc., we must never support them. Never. “So, Father is the right to life just one more issue among many other issues?” No. My brother, my sister, the right to life is the most fundamental right. All other rights are subsequent, and have no meaning and no chance, if the right to life is not respected. The right to life is not the equal of providing better housing or highways[3].

The vote of an American Catholic cannot be light or superficial, or without thinking in the presence of God. There are important things that are in danger. This is a crucial time for the United States. It is a time when Catholics must show our courage and fortitude of our faith.

Starting this Sunday, and until a week before the election, after Holy Communion, the priest will pray the prayer that the American bishops proposed for this time of the election. I ask you to unite your intentions to the intentions of the priest so that all may have one heart and one soul to pray for the upcoming elections in our country

[1] The United States presidential election of 2012 is the next United States presidential election, to be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. It will be the 57th quadrennial presidential election in which presidential electors, who will officially elect the president and the vice president of the United States on December 17, 2012, will be chosen. Incumbent President Barack Obama is running for a second and final term during this election. His major challenger is former Massachusetts Governor, Republican Mitt Romney. Two other candidates have attained ballot access sufficient enough to mathematically win the election by a majority of the Electoral College: Gary Johnson, a former New Mexico Governor and the Libertarian Party nominee; and Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee. As specified in the Constitution, the 2012 presidential election will coincide with the United States Senate elections where one-third of the Senators will face re-election (33 Class I seats), and the United States House of Representatives elections (which occurs biennially) to elect the members for the 113th Congress. Eleven gubernatorial elections and many elections for state legislatures will also take place at the same time.
[3] Let me tell you something very funny, few years ago, in my former parish I gave a similar homily. The next day I received two phone calls. One person said it was terrible that I gave such a pro Mr. Barak Obama talk. The second person said it was terrible that I gave such a pro Mr. John McCain talk . This year, please don't call me. This is very clear: I'm giving you principles. You decide for whom to vote I just ask you to consider that a Catholic always respect life. Always.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris