A special federal election issue
We mentioned last month speculation that there would be a federal election in late summer or early fall. The speculation turned out to be true! As you undoubtably are aware, a federal election will be held on September 20, and the campaign has begun.
This special edition of the Catholic Commons is dedicated to our Catholic Action campaign. Catholic Action is our ongoing initiative to educate Catholic voters about Catholic social teaching, empowering them to discern their own vote through the lens of that teaching, and to encouraging greater Catholic voter turnout. Throughout this newsletter you’ll find more information about the several activities we are undertaking to support Catholic voters in this federal election. We learned recently through the B.C. Catholic that in past elections the number of practising Catholics who voted has been lower than the number of voters who don’t attend church. The purpose of our Catholic Action campaign is to change that, and to empower Catholic voters to form their consciences well for the common good of all our neighbours.
For all our Catholic Action resources, you can visit our website by clicking here. You can also follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CatholicConscience.org.
We wrote an op-ed for the B.C. Catholic that shares a broad outline of a Catholic approach to discerning your vote, and some points to ponder for Catholic voters in this election. Here is the full text of the op-ed for your consideration.
A federal election has been called for Sept. 20, two years before the nominal deadline. In the current circumstances, this places a heavy burden on Canadian voters, particularly for those who hope to make wise and well–formed choices.
There is much to consider, even compared to ‘normal’ elections: we continue making our way through a dangerous pandemic, with important decisions to be made about the form and the timing of efforts to restore, and hopefully improve, our national economy.
One question voters might consider is: in such circumstances, is it wise or in the best interests of Canadian society – including particularly the poorest and most vulnerable – to force an early election on such a short timeline?
In any case, voters – and particularly Catholics – should always be prepared. We have a moral obligation to stay engaged throughout the election cycle, so that when the time comes, we are ready to discern our votes prayerfully and independently for the good of all.
As Pope Benedict XVI explained, it’s not up to the Church to provide specific solutions. Rather, the Church, through the votes of individual Catholics, supports ranges of solutions that fairly comply with the Church’s teachings. It’s up to each of us to exercise our “free and responsible judgment.” We are called to vote prayerfully and independently.
Catholic social teaching – our faith’s vision for life in society – is the best tool for discerning our votes as Catholics. To “vote like a Catholic,” Catholic Conscience proposes a four-part process: discernment, discussion, participation, and reflection, or examen.
Discernment: Your vote, being precious, should be firmly grounded in knowledge and truth, based on at least two independent media sources, preferably of differing political perspectives. Importantly, these should include faith-based sources such as our Catholic newspapers. We should learn to apply Catholic social teachings across the full range of issues – from the environment to economics, from social policy to foreign policy, and to exercise prudential judgement in determining which party, in our own view, most comprehensively and effectively addresses these issues. Don’t forget to pray for guidance.
Discussion: Sharing well-formed knowledge is a spiritual work of mercy. Offering our thoughtful, charitable views in conversation with others, and listening respectfully to theirs, is an important way to us discern our votes. Open and respectful dialogue can be a powerful way of considering and testing counterarguments and differing points of view, collectively discerning a fuller picture of the truth and determining more fruitful paths forward for all. To learn more about respectful discussion, consider take a look at our virtual July 21 workshop “Communicating Like a Catholic.”
Participation: Candidates want to meet you, especially during elections. They will come to your door to do it. Take the opportunity to build respectful relationships with those who want to represent you. Raise important issues with them, especially when issues aren’t addressed in their party’s platform. Personal relationships matter, and can endure when they are respectfully forged. And since only one out of 10 Canadians express their views to their politicians, charitable dialogue can have an outsized impact on their own discernment as political leaders.
Examen: Ask yourself, what has political engagement done for your soul? Has it helped you grow in virtue, charity, hope, and faith? In the end, what matters is helping to gather souls to Christ. Examination of your conscience can help ensure that your politics and your Christian witness stay aligned, and that your love of neighbour is nourished.
In Fratelli tutti, Pope Francis appealed for “a renewed appreciation of politics as a lofty vocation and one of the highest forms of charity, in as much as it seeks the common good.” Whenever the next election comes, we are called to this high form of charity. We must all, through our prayerful, well-discerned vote, contribute to the common good.
Matthew Marquardt & Brendan Steven
ON WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, JOIN US FOR A WEBINAR ABOUT HOW WE CAN ADVANCE A CATHOLIC SOCIAL VISION IN POLITICS FEATURING JOHN MILLOY
“How did religious faith, particularly the Catholic faith, which has been such a source of strength and comfort to so many Canadians, assume such a negative connotation? Why is anyone associated with public life encouraged to keep a major part of their identity separate from their public work? Why has the wisdom of Canada’s faith communities been prevented from even being discussed in the public square?”
These are some of the questions posed by former Ontario cabinet minister and prime ministerial advisor John Milloy in his new book, Politics and Faith in a Polarized World: A Challenge for Catholics. In it, Milloy brings to bear the full weight of his experience and analysis to one of the most crucial questions for Catholics in Canada today: how do we effectively bring a Catholic social vision into our political engagement—a crucial core of our call to public witness—in a highly-secularized political environment where Catholic perspectives are often denied a place in the public conversation, or, at worst, are treated with outright hostility? Milloy offers ideas for the way forward that will both inspire and challenge Catholics to think differently about how we can bring Pope Francis’ idea of political love to life in Canada today as our country’s single largest religious voting demographic.
In a wide-ranging conversation at the apex of the 2021 federal election, we will discuss the past, present, and future of Catholic political engagement at the federal level, as well as the ongoing election campaign—Catholics’ place in it, and Milloy’s analysis of the state of Canadian politics as we prepare to elect our next federal government.
Catholic Canadians passionate about the future of their country won’t want to miss this timely and relevant conversation with a Catholic civic leader who has served at the senior-most levels of Canadian politics. Participants will also enjoy a discount code for Milloy’s new book, courtesy of its publisher, Novalis.
Join us for this free webinar on Wednesday, September 15th at 7:00 PM EDT. RSVP on Eventbrite for login details.
FOR THE 2021 FEDERAL ELECTION, JOIN OUR VIRTUAL NINE-DAY ROSARY NOVENA FOR THE PEOPLE OF CANADA AS TOGETHER WE ENTRUST CANADIAN VOTERS TO MARY AND ST. JOSEPH
As Catholic Canadians, we are called to “seek the welfare of the city,” in the words of the Book of Jeremiah. We are, after all, citizens of two nations: this earthly country Canada, this place and people we all love, and the heavenly Kingdom of God. Let’s come together to praise the Lord of both these nations and to call on the intercession of the heavenly Kingdom for the needs of our earthly nation.
Join Canadians from coast to coast as we gather for a nine-day rosary novena to pray for the people of Canada, as Canadians each discern their own consciences in preparation to vote for our next government during the 2021 federal election. Voting determines the future of our country, by determining who we entrust with the common good of all Canadians. During this rosary novena, we will pray that all Canadians vote with love of neighbour at heart; with the core principles of Catholic social teaching in mind, including the common good, life and dignity of the human person, community, participation, rights and responsibilities, the preferential option for the poor, subsidiarity, solidarity, care for God’s creation, the dignity of work, and more; and that the Holy Spirit inspire all those running to lead their communities and serve as MPs, that they may live a superhuman oblation of self out of love for their constituents and the future of our country.
1. Wednesday, August 25 @ 8:00 PM EDT: Pray with us for the people of the North.
2. Sunday, August 29 @ 10 AM EDT: Pray with us for the people of British Columbia.
3. Wednesday, September 1 @ 8:00 PM EDT: Pray with us for the people of Alberta.
4. Saturday, September 4 @ 10 AM EDT: Pray with us for the people of Saskatchewan.
5. Wednesday, September 8 @ 8:00 PM EDT: Pray with us for the people of Manitoba.
6. Sunday, September 12 @ 10 AM EDT: Pray with us for the people of Ontario.
7. Wednesday, September 15 @ 8:00 PM EDT: Pray with us for the people of Quebec.
8. Saturday, September 18 @ 10 AM EDT: Pray with us for the people of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
9. Monday, September 20 @ 9:00 AM EDT (Election Day): Entrust the voters of Canada to Mary, Seat of Wisdom & Queen of Heaven, and St. Joseph, Patron of Canada.
Part of our commission as disciples of Christ is to love and serve our neighbours, through concrete acts of service—including prayer. Together, let’s pray for the people of Canada during this critical moment for all of us, and entrust our fellow Canadians to Mary, the Seat of Wisdom & Queen of Heaven, and Saint Joseph, the Patron of Canada.
RSVP for login details!
ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, JOIN OUR WEBINAR ON HUMAN UNIQUENESS WITH A LEADING EXPERT ON HOW HUMAN BEINGS IMAGE GOD, THROUGH THE LENS OF SCRIPTURE AND SCIENCE
Many today draw a red line between faith and reason—what Scripture tells us about the world and what science tells us are seen as contradictory, as different ways of knowing. The reality is the opposite: that faith and reason are complements and companions in seeking and discerning the truth. Professor Christopher Baglow has spent his career demonstrating and exploring the relationship between faith and science. He is a leading expert on how we image God. Through the lens of Scripture and science, he explains how we can come to terms with our evolutionary origins and heavenly destiny.
Our conversation with Professor Baglow will focus on the nature of this extraordinary human uniqueness as children of God; demonstrating the deep harmony between the Catholic faith and an evolutionary perspective; the book of Scripture and the book of nature; and what science can tell us about God’s ordered creation, and how we are called to live in and with it.
Please join us on Thursday, September 16 at 7:30 PM EDT for a fascinating conversation that will enlighten and edify your faith.
Works of Mercy In Our Community
VOTE WITH A CATHOLIC CONSCIENCE: READ OUR CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING-BASED PARTY PLATFORM COMPARISON
As Catholics, we are called to discern our vote, participate in the political process, and engage in charitable dialogue with others in our community prayerfully and thoughtfully. Our Catholic party platform comparison will empower you to look at each of the political party’s policy commitments through the lens of Catholic social teaching.
In accordance with our duty to participate, this page offers a summary of issues relevant to Canada’s next federal election, setting Catholic teachings side-by-side with the policy positions of the parties, using the parties’ own words. This summary is intended to help you in deciding your vote, whether you are Catholic or simply a good person interested in a better world.
Our party platform comparison looks at the parties’ key policy proposals from the perspective of:
- The sanctity of human life;
- Stewardship of creation;
- Family, community and the common good;
- An economy for all;
- Rights, responsibilities and subsidiarity;
- Solidarity; and,
- Good government, democracy, justice and peace;
FOR HELP DISCERNING YOUR CONSCIENCE, WATCH VOTE LIKE A CATHOLIC
To help you think more prayerfully and deeply about a Catholic approach to discerning your vote, we hosted a Catholic Civics Workshop webinar in February entitled Vote like a Catholic. In conversation with theologian and author Dr. Brett Salkeld, we discussed some of the truths and myths about Catholic teaching on voting and political participation. Critically, we also discussed a Catholic approach to deciding your vote via discernment, discussion, participation, and examination.
With a federal election coming on September 20, this is a great time to watch our webinar and consider how you will approach discerning your conscience in this election! Click below to watch the video.
Serving Your Community
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO VOTE IN THIS FEDERAL ELECTION: AN FAQ
As part of our Catholic Action campaign, we’re working to ensure Catholic voters have the information they need to vote. You can find everything you need on www.elections.ca.
Did you know you can vote by mail? Click here to learn more and how. This is a great option for those who are nervous about voting in-person given the ongoing pandemic.
Did you know there are four different ways to vote? You can vote on election day, Monday, September 20, at your assigned polling station. Polls will be open for 12 hours. If you can’t vote in-person on election day, you can vote during advance polling days. Vote at your assigned polling station from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on:
- Friday, September 10;
- Saturday, September 11;
- Sunday, September 12;
- Monday, September 13.
You can also vote by mail or at any Elections Canada office. Click here to learn more about ways to vote.
Not sure what ID you need to vote? Click here for the full list.
Did you know you should receive a Voter Registration Card in the mail from Elections Canada? Click here to learn more.
Most Canadians who are eligible to vote are already registered. To check if you are registered or to register to vote, click here.
If you recently moved, you can still vote. Simply update your address using the Online Voter Registration Service or at any Elections Canada office across Canada by Tuesday, September 14, 6:00 p.m. You can also update your address at your assigned polling station before you vote on advance polling days or on election day.
Your Voter Registration Card—which you should receive in the mail in coming weeks—will tell you where your polling station is. To find out online, use the Elections Canada website. Click here for the Elections Canada home page—you can input your postal code into the purple “My voter information” box to find out what riding you’re in, and where you can vote.
From The Holy Father
POPE FRANCIS AND BISHOPS APPEAR IN NEW VACCINE PSA: GETTING VACCINATED IS “AN ACT OF LOVE”
Pope Francis is adding his voice to a campaign to overcome vaccine skepticism, issuing a public service announcement insisting that vaccines are safe, effective and an “act of love.”
In his message, the pope said, “Thanks to God and to the work of many, we now have vaccines to protect us from COVID-19. They grant us the hope of ending the pandemic, but only if they are available to all and if we work together.”
Getting inoculated “is an act of love” for oneself, family, friends and all people, he said.
“Love is also social and political” as these individual “small gestures of personal charity” add up, “overflowing” into something universal that is “capable of transforming and improving societies,” he said.
“Vaccination is a simple but profound way of promoting the common good and caring for each other, especially the most vulnerable,” the pope said.
“I pray to God that everyone may contribute their own small grain of sand, their own small gesture of love; no matter how small, love is always great. Contribute with these small gestures for a better future. God bless you, and thank you,” he said.
What We’re Watching
WHERE YOU CAN WATCH THE POLITICAL PARTY LEADERS’ DEBATE AND HOW YOU CAN SHARE YOUR CONCERNS WITH THE LEADERS
From Global News:
The official English leaders’ debate, scheduled for Sept. 9 from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. EDT, is produced by the Debate Broadcast Group: CBC News, APTN News, CTV News and Global News.
Leaders of the Liberal Party of Canada, Conservative Party of Canada, Green Party of Canada, New Democratic Party and Bloc Québécois have been invited to participate in the debate.
What do you want the main party leaders to talk about? Let us know by answering the questions in this form. Your concerns will help form the questions and direction of the debate.
A PRAYER FOR CANADIAN VOTERS
We had the great honour of working with the dioceses of Saskatchewan during the 2020 Saskatchewan election. During that election, Regina’s Archbishop Donald Bolen wrote this beautiful prayer for voters discerning their consciences for the sake of the common good. We share it now as a prayer close to our hearts, especially to be said during elections.
Lord, father of our human family,
Your son Jesus taught us in the parable of the good Samaritan that each of us is called to care for our brothers and sisters without concern for our differences, or what divides us.
Pour your spirit out upon each and every one of us. Give us, and all involved in the forthcoming election,
A spirit of humility to acknowledge our failures,
A spirit of gratitude for each of the gifts you have given us,
A spirit of wisdom, to guide our actions in accordance with your teaching,
A spirit of fraternity, so that we might have concern for the most vulnerable,
And a spirit of love, so that we might abide even more fully in You.
O God, Trinity of love, from the profound communion of your divine life grant each and every one of us a deeper sense of unity. Give to us a desire to sacrifice ourselves for our brothers and sisters. Help us to live like your family did, with simplicity in Nazareth, and as the early Christian community did, whose charity has spread throughout the world.
O Good Shepherd, Christ the King, you are our Guide. Continue to guide us then to your will in this, and in every moment of our lives.
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
St Joseph, pray for us.
St Joan of Arc, pray for us.
San Juan Diego, pray for us.
St Keteri Tekakwitha, pray for us.
Ste. Marguerite Bourgeoys, pray for us.
St André Bessette, pray for us.
St Vincent de Paul, pray for us.