Columban Vocation for Justice Newsletter: Preparing for the Election

The Summer 2024 edition of Vocation for Justice focuses on ‘Preparing for the Election’.  It is filled with thought-provoking content that we hope will be useful to Christians as the UK moves towards a general election.

In Fratelli Tutti (#197), Pope Francis poses questions for politicians’ self-reflection: “How much love did I put into my work?” “What did I do for the progress of our people?” “What mark did I leave on the life of society?” “What real bonds did I create?” “What positive forces did I unleash?” “How much social peace did I sow?” “What good did I achieve in the position that was entrusted to me?”

In Evangelii Gaudium (#205) he says, “I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor!”

These sentiments are powerful but might allow us to sidestep the responsibility of our own engagement. We might say to ourselves that, “it’s politicians who have to act, not us”. However, a general election cycle reminds us that we are a crucial part of the political process – we have to tell candidates what we care about and how we want them to act as our representatives.

The Catholic Church teaches that “participation in political life is a moral obligation” (Evangelii Gaudium #220). This calls us to much more than voting. We need to inform our consciences, hear the cry of the Earth and of the poor, proactively make ourselves aware of injustice, reflect, pray and discern, and then respond. And there are so many calls to hear, so many actions to take – it’s challenging, heart-breaking, exhausting, never-ending.

Sometimes I wrestle with the feeling that I can never do ‘enough’. But, thank God, it’s not all about me – we are ALL called to play our parts in God’s mission for justice and peace, to make our contributions to a much bigger picture.

This edition of ‘Vocation for Justice’ contains articles on ‘The Common Good at Election Time’ by Jane Lavery and ‘Catholic Social Teaching and Democracy’ by Anna Blackman.  Interfaith campaigning is highlighted in an article by Shanon Shah, Director of Faith for the Climate.

There are tools and reflection materials for discernment, engaging with candidates and manifestos, and, ultimately, playing our part in encouraging candidates to be disturbed by injustice and ready to respond lovingly for the common good. There are outline ideas for organising hustings.

Fr. Rob Esdaile’s article ‘Preaching the Election’ might help parish priests to feel confident to offer a sermon series before the election! And a prayer for the election has been written by Columban Fr. Kevin McDonagh, who has recently joined our team here in Britain, after three decades working in Peru.

We have secured extra funding to allow you to order extra copies of this issue, so that you can pass it on to family, friends and people in your local community. Give one to your parish priest, asking him to pay particular attention to Fr. Rob’s article on page 4 and to share copies with members of your parish. Encourage people to keep ‘Vocation for Justice’ near their front door, ready to ask political canvassers some of the questions on pages 5-8.


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