A Vocation in Politics


#1

For a little bit of background, I am currently confused with regards to my faith. Openly, I am an atheist who makes a facetious comment about religion quite often. But inside, I still feel a calling to God and am interested in rejoining the Catholic Church. I always read Christian texts, listen to its preachers and often visit churches to let my mind explore.

There are two things I love: crowds and busyness. Right now, I am an ACTIONN leader (interfaith community organizing), the hopeful Youth City Council Chairman, the Vice President of a school volunteer club, a member of my district’s Student Advisory Board, the President of a Red Cross Youth Group, and the Secretary for my school’s National Honors Society. I am also organizing the high school chapter of the Young Democrats in my area, and have been a fellow for a presidential campaign. Beyond all of this, I have volunteered countless hours for Catholic Charities, various Veterans’ Groups, and the Boys and Girls Club.

My passion has always been politics. And it is for that reason I envision myself as making a career in public office. The thrills of running a campaign, meeting people from all backgrounds, and fighting for what one believes in all appeal to my mindset. Many family members have said that I am entering an extremely dirty and corrupt field, but I view this as pessimism and a lack of faith in what people can do. I feel a very strong internal calling for this vocational field.

What does the Church say about someone in my position? I understand what Catholics believe in terms of policy (the consistent life ethic, social justice, traditionalism), and align to a great many of its teachings. But is there anything I should know as someone who wants to be a politician? What spiritual advice would be helpful?

Thank you, and God bless.


#2

“I am also organizing the high school chapter of the Young Democrats in my area, and have been a fellow for a presidential campaign. Beyond all of this, I have volunteered countless hours for Catholic Charities, various Veterans’ Groups, and the Boys and Girls Club.”

It would be highly refreshing to see someone as dynamic as yourself running for office.
However, if you are leaning toward the Democratic party, many of their views counter the teachings of the Catholic church, and therefore, I find few candidates in that party I can honestly support.

I have to agree with your family; it’s a dirty business. I would advise getting some private sector experience in business or similar areas before heading straight into politics. It may give you a more objective view of those in the political arena. IMHO, of course.


#3

This link may be helpful to you in terms of what Catholics believe in regards to politics and public service…

usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/forming-consciences-for-faithful-citizenship-part-one.cfm

These two passages strike me as particularly relevant to your question:

  1. Unfortunately, politics in our country often can be a contest of powerful interests, partisan attacks, sound bites, and media hype. The Church calls for a different kind of political engagement: one shaped by the moral convictions of well-formed consciences and focused on the dignity of every human being, the pursuit of the common good, and the protection of the weak and the vulnerable. The Catholic call to faithful citizenship affirms the importance of political participation and insists that public service is a worthy vocation. As Catholics, we should be guided more by our moral convictions than by our attachment to a political party or interest group. When necessary, our participation should help transform the party to which we belong; we should not let the party transform us in such a way that we neglect or deny fundamental moral truths. We are called to bring together our principles and our political choices, our values and our votes, to help build a better world.
  1. As the Holy Father also taught in Deus Caritas Est, “The direct duty to work for a just ordering of society is proper to the lay faithful” (no. 29). This duty is more critical than ever in today’s political environment, where Catholics may feel politically disenfranchised, sensing that no party and too few candidates fully share the Church’s comprehensive commitment to the life and dignity of every human being from conception to natural death. Yet this is not a time for retreat or discouragement; rather, it is a time for renewed engagement. Forming their consciences in accord with Catholic teaching, Catholic lay women and men can become actively involved: running for office; working within political parties; communicating their concerns and positions to elected officials; and joining diocesan social mission or advocacy networks, state Catholic conference initiatives, community organizations, and other efforts to apply authentic moral teaching in the public square. Even those who cannot vote have the right to have their voices heard on issues that affect their lives and the common good.

Good luck with whatever you decide! God knows, we need good people to become more involved in the political process. From what you’ve said, I’d happily vote for you.


#4

As a supporter of universal health care, expanded child care, actions to combat climate change, and prohibiting the death penalty, the Church’s concern for the marginalized is of utmost importance to me.


#5

Well, to lessen your confusion a bit… you can cross “Atheist” off your list.

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#6

Not abortion, marriage or human cloning?

Universal health care doesn’t work, and I doubt there’s much we can do about climate change.


#7

“Universal health care doesn’t work.”

Yes, it does. Switzerland’s model of everyone having access to private health plans on the market should be emulated in the United States. And with climate change, we are called upon by Pope Francis to take care of our planet.

On abortion, the best way to combat this grave moral evil is to fund adoption centers, provide sexual education, teach families about NFP, and change culture in a way that encourages people to wait until marriage for sex. Not to forget social safety nets for poor mothers. If all of these things were to be implemented through public policy, I can guarantee that the rate of abortions will go down sharply. If we make it illegal, all we will see is millions of poor mothers going through backdoor procedures, potentially killing themselves in the process through unsafe tactics. If we want a culture of life, that is the opposite direction we should be pursuing.


#8

There are many, faithfully practicing Catholics in politics; there are also, many UNfaithful Catholics in politics. Early on, you must decide who you will serve: God or your political party. If you choose God, then you will be successful no matter where your life takes you.


#9

So as somebody else has said about your open atheism, thats what you need to get rid of first, cant serve 2 masters. If you are open athiest in public then you will easly be swayed by corruption and will become just like them.


#10

Your naivety is, if not refreshing, at least amusing.

There is a full tilt battle going on right now over Planned Parenthood, and while there have been incremental advances in limiting abortions, they have been at best incremental on state levels, and all of them subject to federal lawsuits, keeping them tied up in court for who knows how long.

With your agenda, you will get no - as in zero, nada - support from the Democratic party to even run in local contests, and you will be actively and aggressively opposed in statewide positions - as in state legislature positions. You will either have to pass their litmus tests, or lie and try to get in under the radar, at which point, should you manage to be elected, you will be a one termer.

And the rest of your platform will get you rejected by the Republicans right out of the gate.

And as for independent parties, they are about as viable as a third wheel on a bicycle.

I would suggest that if you want to work on anything, you try working on your relationship with God; as a professed atheist, you need to get a few basic things straight in your head and your life before you decide you are going to go out and change society. One of the signs of atheism often is a conflict at the most basic levels of conscience. That may not be your background, but you seem to be in need of some serious contemplation over basic conflicts in very basic matters.


#11

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