December 24, 2016
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The current conundrum resonating within the nation revolves around the election of Donald J. Trump on Nov. 8. However, many people are grappling still with how President Trump’s leadership will reconcile with Catholic Church teachings.
Although Trump speaks on behalf of a conservative political group, Catholics appear just as divided as other Americans over the presidential vote, arguing that although Trump supports the pro-life movement, Hillary Clinton possibly gears toward better immigration and race policies.
“It’s very important as a Catholic to vote according to what you believe in,” Ms. Marie Lopez said.
Protecting the sanctity of life, a great importance to the Catholic faith, stood as a prioritized factor in the election of Trump, yet, Clinton’s support for comprehensive immigration reform settled as an equally vital quality in a president.
“There is no definite and all-encompassing ‘official’ teaching of the Magisterium on the issues of illegal immigration,” Fr. Patrick Wainright said. “There are certain principles that the governors of each country should take into consideration. On one hand, that the sovereign country has a right to protect its borders against illegal or hostile activity from other countries.
“On the other hand, that any immigrant or foreigner should always be treated with the respect and charity due to a human person.”
Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church, spoke about current controversies without targeting the election, holding the truth in the message of the Church regarding issues such as border control and constructing walls.
Although the Magisterium lacks an “official” teaching on the matter of immigration, Pope Francis, according to the Catholic News Service, urges members of all nations to lobby their governments to be more inviting and integrative of migrants by living “the vocation of service with a strong sense of austerity and humility.”
Despite the differences in ideologies, the Catholic Church remains clear on its views of theology, but free will allows for everyone to make their choice on which candidate follows their faith or their set of political beliefs.
“We are all human beings given the gift of free will,” Ms. Lopez said. “It is ultimately up to us to vote for the candidate that agrees with our faith the most in order to follow the plan of God.”
According to CRUX and the IBD-TIPP, Trump’s victory may be partly due to the Catholic vote, winning a majority of those self-identifying as Catholics by 52 to 45 percent.
The “Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics” by Catholic Answers Press under the Catechism of the Catholic Church points to political issues and their stance with the faith, following issues that give Trump the vote.
“People say ‘I’m from this party’ or ‘I’m from that party,’ but effectively, they don’t have clear thoughts about the basics, about proposals,” Pope Francis said. “I will only say: Study the proposals well, pray and choose in conscience.”
CCHS student and new voter John David Carney ‘17 similarly followed his conscience and sense of morals the best path to take when entering the voting booth.
“When it came to my voting, one thing I wanted to avoid was voting on behalf of my parents and truly understanding who I really wanted to vote for,” Carney said. “My family and I don’t align ourselves to a party as much as we align ourselves to our faith. My faith and what the Catholic Church believes became the priority over the party I associate myself with.”
Despite the debate and election’s conclusion a few weeks ago, discussion remains in regards to what the president elect will do for the country, and whether or not he will guide the nation towards actions in acceptance with the Church.
“The principles of faith are essential at the hour of weighing and assessing the goodness or evil of the different policies of the candidate,” Fr. Patrick said. “We should always have in mind that society as a whole should provide a helpful environment for the individuals to more easily live in a way that they can reach heaven.”
Many religious figures, including Pope Francis, remain prime examples of what the future of the nation looks like under the new president, and how as Catholics should prepare for a hope of the next four years.
Issues continue to storm up conversations in relation to the president’s stance and call to action, a focus for many Catholics who remain hopeful of the leadership Trump reigns.
Pope Francis offered some advice on how to fight the political controversy and remain hopeful for the future of the world, saying, “The best antidote is love. Love heals everything.”