As our attention turns to the upcoming presidential election on November 3, 2020, the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, in Convent Station, N.J., asked their Office of Peace, Justice, and Ecological Integrity to prepare reflections that will help to discern and form our consciences during this electoral season. Each week they will share a quote from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States, some questions for reflection, and a link to further material to those who would like to take a “deeper dive” into the issues the bishops raise. The Sisters of Charity of New York are grateful to be able to share the reflections created by Father Terence Moran.

Reflection:

From Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship:

  1. In reference to solidarity, a special emphasis must be given to the Church’s preferential option for the poor. While the common good embraces all, those who are weak, vulnerable, and most in need deserve preferential concern. A basic moral test for any society is how it treats those who are most vulnerable…This preferential option for the poor and vulnerable includes all who are marginalized in our nation and beyond—unborn children, persons with disabilities, the elderly and terminally ill, victims of injustice and oppression, and immigrants. 55. These themes from Catholic social teaching provide a moral framework that does not easily fit ideologies of “right” or “left,” “liberal” or “conservative,” or the platform of any political party. They are not partisan or sectarian, but reflect fundamental ethical principles that are common to all people.

Reflection:

  1. St. Vincent de Paul said, “Go to the poor: you will find God.” What have your experiences in ministry to those experiencing poverty taught you about God?
  2. The SC Peace, Justice and Ecological Integrity Priority Issues states, “As members of the Vincentian family, we view issues from the perspective of people made poor and work for systemic change of structures that impoverish and marginalize.” In the coming months, as you listen to policy proposals from both parties, ask yourself what impact this proposal will have on the poor who deserve preferential concern.

Deeper Dive:

On Sunday, June 20, the Poor People’s Campaign gathered over a million people virtually to hear the voices of the poor and disenfranchised in American society. You can watch a recording of this powerful gathering here https://www.june2020.org/ It’s 2 ½ hours long so you may want to watch it in segments. You can also read the Poor People’s Moral Justice Jubilee Policy Platform which offers concrete policy proposals that the Campaign offers to both political parties as they draft their 2020 Electoral Platforms https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/about/moral-justice-jubilee-policy-platform/

Prayer:  Peruvian pioneer of Latin American liberation theology, Gustavo Gutiérrez, OP has written, “You say you love the poor. Name them.”  Spend some time in prayer praying by name for the people you know personally who suffer poverty.

Courtesy of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, Convent Station, N.J.