Our primary purposes ought not get mired in politics.
Some of us Catholics lean right, others lean left. Many of us track a moderate course. But all of us are disciples of Jesus, and that is what matters. We are brothers and sisters, not election foes.
Unless we have gone outside the pale and become, for example, abortion rights advocates or persecutors of immigrants, we are members of one glorious, sundry, devout, rollicking Catholic family. We may emphasize different causes and principles, but we all are working to bring souls to Christ and build up God’s kingdom in western Oregon. Let’s stop besmirching other Catholics who are people of good will, because that only throws up roadblocks to our mission.
Granted, it’s not always simple. For example, sometimes legitimate hopes for the dignity of life collide. That has been the case with Obamacare and Oregon’s own Measure 101, which would provide health care to hundreds of thousands of working poor Oregonians but which likely will pay for abortions.
In the case of Obamacare, our nation’s bishops held back support, hoping for a better plan, one that offers both universal health care and protects the unborn. The Catholic Health Association has the same ultimate hope, but supported Obamacare.
As for Measure 101, reasonable Catholics could vote for or against. But in the end, we must all continue working for policy in our nation and state that achieves both essentials — safety for children in the womb and health care for all. It is after the voting is done that we Catholics must unite to do the real work, without recrimination.
The Archdiocese of Portland’s Office of Life, Justice and Peace provides a good model for escaping the political mire. The office fights abortion, supports parents, opposes the death penalty, pushes for immigration reform, seeks universal health care, counters racism, seeks affordable housing, lobbies for the environment and stands up for farmers. These good works create partners from both sides of the political spectrum, and the cooperation on Gospel goals makes us realize just how puny and limiting our politics are in comparison.