Area Catholic Community Update

At our ACC Planning Council meeting this week, the members went through and counted all the submitted ballots for our Together as One Area Catholic Community logo. We had around 1000 total ballots submitted, which is a pretty good representation from our parishes. And while each of the three options received a fair number of votes, it was the third option (see page 1) that was chosen most often.

This option will be used and incorporated into our bulletin, website, and other ACC materials going forward. Hopefully, it can become for us a symbol of our unity in support of one another and in the Catholic Church. May it remind us that we truly are Together as One. Thank you to everyone who voted. That participation and involvement is essential to foster the life and spirit of the Church and community.

Having recently completed our own simple balloting in the pews at our parishes for the logo, and witnessing on a national scale the beginnings of the primary elections for presidential candidates, we are reminded that our voice and our vote does matter. Having a vote is a right given to citizens of the country by our Constitution, but it is a right that bears a responsibility.

Voters have a responsibility to know that for which they are voting. It would be irresponsible to vote simply based on what someone else tells you without investigating and deciding for yourself. It would be a violation of that responsibility to “sell” your vote, or vote in a particular way because someone is paying you.

Voting well requires that the individual be aware of what is happening, look at the possibilities, and do his/her best to choose the option that most benefits the common good and is in accordance with God’s will (i.e. it does not violate the moral law). This means that the option to vote should by its nature encourage a kind of involvement that other systems lack. At its best, individuals should become more invested in the outcome and in the community.

Of course, there is a difference between the ideal and the real. In reality there are many problems that arise due to our weak human nature. We might hope that everyone spends the time to make wise decisions, but we know that there are many “lazy voters” who do not take the time to look deeper into the issues at hand, or who might not even vote at all. Some people might feel that with a large number of voters that one more vote will not really make a difference. Or it is possible that the option we chose is not the eventual winner and we can become discouraged or even disillusioned. Voting can then lead to division and factions rather than compromise and community.

As we go forth into an election year and a new Area Catholic Community, may we always seek to follow the good parts and avoid the pitfalls and obstacles to that good. May our votes and voices be heard and respected in our community, even if it is not the majority. May we work together in Christ’s love to build the city of God.

- Fr. Timothy