American Catholics have a dual heritage, said Ryan Hamilton, government relations associate for the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the public policy voice of the state’s Catholic bishops.
Through baptism, instilled with the light of Christ, Catholics are citizens of the kingdom of heaven, Hamilton said. And as Americans, citizens of a representative democracy, everyone is called to participate in public life and contribute to the common good, he said.
“Our system requires active participation from us, the citizens,” Hamilton said. “And so faithful citizenship is the term we use to describe how Catholics are meant to live out this dual heritage and bring the richness of our faith into the public square.”
Hamilton shared his thoughts during a conversation about the Nov. 8 midterm elections for the “Practicing Catholic” radio show hosted by Patrick Conley. Hamilton referred to something Pope Francis said in 2013 about politics: that good Catholics immerse themselves in politics by giving their best, so that leaders can govern.
MCC staff use the phrase “educate, inform and transform” to describe “the ways we are called to participate or the ways to practice faithful citizenship,” Hamilton said. Catholic social teaching helps Catholics form their conscience, he said, and once formed, “we need to inform ourselves about the positions of the candidates.”
“So making an informed vote requires that we get to know these people,” he said. “We have to be in contact with our elected officials”, so the first interaction is not after the elections. “Let’s be in a relationship from now on when they’re candidates,” he said.
Voting resources available on the MCC website include candidate questionnaires, video interviews with Minnesota House and Senate candidates, information on Catholic social teaching, and an election statement from the bishops of Minnesota on Catholic social teaching and “reclaiming the word ‘justice,'” Hamilton said, including prenatal justice as “primary consideration in…. vote.”
To hear tips on how to get to know the candidates and learn where to agree and disagree, and to hear the full interview, tune in to this episode of “Practicing Catholic” at 9 p.m. on October 21. . The show also repeats at 1 p.m. on October 22. and 2 p.m. on October 23, all on Relevant Radio 1:30 p.m.
To read the letter from the Catholic Bishops and find election resources, including polling places, visit mncatholic.org/electionresources.
Produced by Relevant Radio and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the latest broadcast also includes interviews with Kendra Tierney, speaker and liturgical life expert and owner of the Catholic All Year blog, which describes liturgical life; and mass class with Father Tom Margevicius, worship director for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, who discusses the rite of communion.
Llisten to the interviews after they have been broadcast on PracticingCatholicShow.com or choose a streaming platform at https://anchor.fm/practicing-catholic-show.
Category: Practicing Catholic, Uncategorized