The fundamental error in defining a “Catholic Vote”

It began over a month ago with a two- to three-line invitation in the bulletin to attend a “non-partisan” meeting on the presidential election and its significance for the Catholic vote.

Then, in last week’s Sunday bulletin, a full one-page flyer inserted in the bulletin entitled “The Catholic Vote” urged all Catholics to consider the church’s teaching and pointed out the concerns with the current administration in regards to this teaching. This past Sunday’s bulletin included an even more detailed and extensive insert comparing the two candidates on issues important for the “Catholic vote.”

My husband, who often attends Mass at a different parish, reported that the “Catholic vote” message at that church actually came from the pulpit.

A friend who also attended that same Mass detailed that the message named certain “non-negotiable issues” for Catholics and accordingly encouraged the direction in which Catholics should vote.

I am what they call a cradle Catholic. Baptized within months of my birth, I was “catechized” on Catholic doctrine and socialized on Catholic practice well into my adult years.

I attended a Catholic elementary school, Catholic high school and a Catholic college. I was educated by gifted and talented nuns.

The priests that I knew were dedicated, inspiring men who never surfaced as pedophiles during the clergy sexual abuse scandal.

I spent 13 years as a nun in a religious order of women who remain exemplary in their value-centered living and dedicated social service. All in all, one could safely say that I have had an overall positive Catholic experience.

Yet, I am also African American with Caribbean and Central American heritage; I am a heterosexual woman who is a LGBT advocate, and a psychologist, an educator, author, and a diversity management professional.

And it is from these multiple identities that I take issue with my church on what they have deemed to be the “Catholic vote.”

The fundamental error in defining a vote as Catholic is that it assumes that I have only one identity that governs my thought process and that determines my behavior. Continue reading


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