No man is an island.
As Catholics, we have a profound understanding that the human person, body and soul, can only find fulfillment in a sincere gift of themselves (cf. GS 24). This means, primarily, that we are concerned with sharing the Gospel with others in word and deed, flowing from the love of God.
The work of evangelization is at the heart of the mission of the Church. We are called to participate in this mission by being instruments of God’s will and planting seeds that will lead to conversion by the power of the Holy Spirit. The salvific and spiritual needs of persons come first.
Secondarily, however, we must keep in mind the temporal needs of persons in keeping with the corporal works of mercy (give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, shelter to the homeless, etc.; cf. Mt 25:35-46). Jesus separates the sheep from the goats by justly judging whether they showed concern and care for others.
So, what does this have to do with voting?
Voting comes in many forms. Perhaps you can vote in a referendum in a constitutional monarchy, or a free election of candidates in a representative democracy, or selecting the class president in a secondary school. In whatever form, voting has outcomes. Voting has consequences for individual people, and oftentimes the heaviest burdens come to the poor and outcast in a society.
3 Reasons Every Catholic Should Vote
There are many good reasons to vote. Here are three reasons why every Catholic should vote:
1) By casting our vote, we are keeping the fourth of the Ten Commandments.
2) Voting is ordered to the common good, to which we are all bound.
3) By voting, we are fulfilling our role as the laity to sanctify the world.
The Fourth Commandment
The Ten Commandments are split into two parts: the first three and the final seven. The first three are about loving God and the last seven are about loving neighbor.
The Fourth Commandment is “honor your father and your mother.” At first glance, this refers to the relationship between a child and their parent. However, the meaning and range of the commandment extends to the family and society as a whole. The family is the cell of society, the basic building block. So, without family, there is no society.
Part of the Fourth Commandment, therefore, is supporting political policies and candidates who understand the role of society to support and strengthen marriages and families, to recognize the nature of the family, to protect families, and to guide public morality.
Of course, we must do our best to lend our voice and actions to this end, but it is also important for us to vote. We must vote for pro-family candidates, precisely out of a love and obedience to fulfill the Fourth Commandment.
On a more general level, we have a duty to be an engaged and law-abiding citizen. Obeying just laws, voting, and exercising all rights and carrying out all duties as citizens is a fulfillment of the Fourth Commandment.
Securing the Common Good
Flowing from obedience to the Fourth Commandment is the securing of the common good. Civil authorities have the responsibility to give priority to the common good rather than the personal interests of certain individuals.
By voting, we are making our voice heard that we support those candidates and policies that work to secure the common good, rather than personal interest. By the grace of God, flowing from His charity, we are all called to seek the common good at all times.
Sanctify the World
To sanctify means to make holy. Holiness means to be set apart. By virtue of our Baptism, we are called to love God and neighbor with supernatural assistance. We are made holy by the grace of God through various means, but none so powerful as the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. When we attend Mass and receive the Eucharist in a state of grace, we are sent forth as living tabernacles to a broken world in need of true, authentic love.
The Church provides us, through Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the means to be made holy, to be sanctified, to be transformed. Then, we are compelled and commissioned by the love of Christ and we are sent forth to do the same to the whole world.
In other words, the priest sanctifies the people, then the people sanctify the world. The laity are called to be engaged in the culture and engaged especially in the political sphere.
Therefore, every intentional political action where we advance the good, the true, and the beautiful, motivated by love of God and neighbor can be an act of seeking to sanctify the world. This is another reason why voting is so important for a Catholic.