Primacy of conscience

It has been awhile, hasn’t it? No real reason, just time away! But I have returned, for today at least, so address an issue that is pressing heavily on many of us.

The election is about 54 days away at this point – it is close. Voting is important, it is an essential element of a democracy. I was raised in a household that held the right to vote high and it was impressed upon me at an early age that voting was a privilege – and not one to be squandered. Although a toddler at the time of his election, and one raised in a Republican family, I was often reminded that having a JFK as Catholic president was important. I’m pretty sure my parents voted for him because party politics were somewhat different at the time.

Anyway, here we are today during particularly fractious and divisive times. We are barraged with messages that tell us if we vote for this person, or do not vote for that person, terrible things will happen. Feelings and emotions run high, opinions are confused with facts, and we are faced with inordinate amounts of information.

As Catholics we may believe we must vote for one party over another, but that is simply not the case. We have a responsibility to vote for causes that support life, contribute to the common good, respect human dignity, and more. Beyond that we have a special call to not only help those less fortunate, but to be transformed by them. What one party can live up to that?

If you are struggling, I would simply like to share two links with you. One is to the USCCB website to help with voting called Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. The other is to a very well written article about conscience, originally published in America Magazine in 2015. Both links will offer you guidance and resources, but in the end, we have to pray, discern, choose wisely, and vote according to our understanding of our faith and the importance of our own conscience.

Fast forward to today’s fractious and combative environment, one in which we are regularly threatened


11 thoughts on “Primacy of conscience

  1. Thank you Fran. I have read the news feeds of the Bob Woodward book. And I have heard the “defense” of the revelations from the book … “It’s nothing new” … “It’s timed to sway the election” and other ridiculously non-defensive defenses. Our own Church has railed against moral relativism for many years and some in positions which should prevent them from entering the political fray use these types of accusations against one presidential candidate saying his support for abortion makes him untenable as a candidate. Yet the other, the one who, unfortunately, holds the office is held in high regard as the “greatest pro-life president ever” because he made an appearance at a march. So we let him behave in manners that offend (and abuse) women, people of color, immigrants, the poor, the sick, soldiers who serve our country and who have died in that service, and on and on. But we have hopes of him employing one more justice on the Supreme Court (though, by all accounts, the conservatives should already have the majority). Is that not moral relativism–boiling down the entire election to an appointment of a judge?
    My conscience will not allow me to vote for this serial liar, misogynist, racist, narcissist. I have yet to make up my mind on the other candidate, who is also flawed but infinitely more “decent” than his opponent.
    This man must be stopped. And his followers must look themselves in the mirror and know what they have allowed in the name of life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment. We truly face a dilemma as Catholics, but many others have solidly thrown their support behind this president because of his claim that he is “pro-life.”

      The lies, the chaos, the lack of human dignity, the creation of doubt, the sowing of division at rates we have never seen before… evil is insidious. This happens across the board, but this is not an “all sides” thing when you look at the power of evil. It is so distressing.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you for weighing in, Fran. Something must be wrong with me: I’m not struggling at all. I’m pretty clear about for whom to vote.
    Praying for equanimity and civility on November 3, and afterwards. May the abundant grace of the Spirit fill the voting polls 🙂


  3. Pingback: What’s Up in the Neighborhood, September 12 2020 – Chuck The Writer

  4. Hi Fran,

    I found your blog today after reading your review on Amazon of The Nones Are Alright.
    This week, my husband and I discerned, after many years of angst and sadness, and 23 of being active parishioners in our local parish, that we can no longer financially support the institution of the Church, and we informed our parish priests of this decision.

    After years of remaining faithful through so many heartbreaking and horrible scandals and transgressions, the last straw came when a fellow parishioner told us we would be committing mortal sin if we vote for the “wrong” candidate. When I expressed to her that this view was judgemental, deeply insulting, and also incorrect, she stood her ground and acted as if she was really OK with that as long as she got to speak her “truth.” It was a horrific personal attack on me from a person I’ve only met once.

    I sincerely wish that the hierarchy believed that our own consciences were the true guide. Sadly, there is much evidence to the contrary, as evidenced by this person who took it upon herself to quote from a priest, a couple of bishops, and even a former college football coach from a Catholic university. As the country becomes further divided, so does our church. I don’t know if I will ever return.

    Anyway, I’m glad I found your blog and hope to delve further into your posts.


      • Thank you for your compassionate response. I, too, am thankful that I found my way here. I am also very grateful for your compassionate response to my comment. It is a grace that my broken heart needed in this situation, and that we did not get from any of our parish priests. These are men who we have known well, and personally. I suppose I understand, but at the same time, I find it incredibly sad and unsettling.

        As for the Francis Effect, yes, I am familiar. I have heard Father Dan Horan speak several times at the LA Congress and am a regular follower of the podcast. When we were first contemplating separating from our parish, he responded personally to me with pastoral wisdom and compassion.

        I have not completely given up hope in the Church. Right now, though, I am unable and unwilling to identify myself with Her. I am in a tomb time… and hope for resurrection.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I like to say that I knew Fr Dan, before he was Dan Horan. We met years ago when he was in formation, but was not yet ordained. He is a great and wise man. Please know I will hold you and your husband in prayer. You should not have been made refugees from your eucharistic home.

          Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.