The Mighty Ballot


Plain Talks on Marriage, Fr. Fulgence Meyer, O.F.M., 1927

Catholics will do their duty especially by contributing their share to procure a good and wise government.

They will take a judicious interest in the political situation in order to be able to cast their votes sanely and efficiently.

They will vote at every state and federal election, and also at every important local election.

All things being equal, they will support their fellow-Catholics in their campaigns for public offices, in order to insure a just proportion of their co-religionists among the civil officials of the land.

While our Church enjoys great freedom in this country, it still has many bitter enemies here whose aim in life is the Church’s destruction. They are doing all in their power to disfranchise the Catholics by depriving them practically of the rights and privileges of American citizens.

They even want to despoil Catholic parents of their natural right to educate their children according to the dictates of their conscience.

These wicked men can succeed in their iniquitous and un-American endeavor only in one way, and that is, if Catholics neglect to use the weapon of defense given them by the constitution of our country.

This weapon is the ballot.

As long as Catholics use the ballot prudently, consistently and universally, no one will ever reduce them to slavery; but once they grow careless in the employment of this powerful weapon, it will be their own fault if they are subjected to an ignoble and tyrannical dominion.

It devolves, therefore, upon our Catholic parents not only to vote themselves in the interest of our right as American citizens – and to vote regularly at every election in order not to get out of the habit and be caught napping – but also to arrange that their children who are of age vote with them. In unity there is strength, especially with reference to the almighty ballot box of a nation like ours.

David and Goliath

The blatant bigotry rampant in various parts of our country may be likened to Goliath, the swaggering giant of the Philistines, flouting the chosen people of God and their religion.

The pebble from the sling of David, that felled the mighty Goliath, is a symbol of the ballot.

If all Catholics cast their vote with a true and sure aim at each election, the giant of intolerance, stalking abroad, will be reduced to impotence and disgrace.

Now, on February 20, 1906, Pope St. Pius X sent a letter to the Spanish people, on the duty of voting, saying that when the cause of religion or of the state is endangered, no one can be indifferent.

St. Pius X repeated the same to the French in Notre charge apostolique. Leo XIII speaking of politics in Immortale Deiwarned against Catholics allowing people to come to power who will not improve the nation.

Pope Pius XI in the encyclical to Mexico Firmissimam constantiam, March 28, 1937 said: “A Catholic will take care not to pass over his right to vote when the good of the Church or of the country requires it.” AAS29, 189.

Ven. Pope Pius XII said in 1946, “The exercise of the right to vote is an act of grave responsibility…” AAS38, 187. Pope Pius XII, in a speech given on September 11, 1947, said, “There is a heavy responsibility on everyone…who has the right to vote, especially when the interests of religion are at stake; abstention in this case is in itself, it should be thoroughly understood, a grave and a fatal sin of omission.”

When there was a threat to the Church in Italy in 1948, Pope Pius XII said, “In the present circumstances it is strictly obligatory for whoever has the right…to take part in the elections. He who abstains, particularly through indolence or from cowardice, thereby commits a grave sin, a mortal offense.” AAS40, 119.

So, what does a conscientious Catholic do when one has two major candidates, both of questionable moral character? In 1921, in a letter from the French hierarchy to all the Catholics of France, the bishops wrote, “It is your duty to vote wisely; that is to say, in such a way as not to waste your votes.

It would be better to cast them for candidates who, although not giving complete satisfaction to all our legitimate demands,would lead us to expect from them a line of conduct useful to the country, rather than to keep your votes for others whose program indeed may be more perfect, but whose almost certain defeat might open the door to the enemies of religion and of the social order.”

St. Robert Bellarmine even pointed out in his work De laicis that some rulers who were personally immoral sometimes do more good than harm, such as the Kings Saul and Solomon.

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With the loss of faith in God has come the loss of childlike faith in ourselves. Communism declares that a man is not fit to own even a little piece of property. Fascism declares that man has not sufficient intelligence to choose his government. Nazism declares that man has no rights outside those that the state allows him. Evolution denies man kinship with any but the animals. A cynical philosophy declares that man is nothing but the slave of circumstance and inherited blood.

But always, in every generation, now as in the first ages, the saints stay young. They keep the innocence of the Little Flower. They cling to the loyalty of the young Apostle John. They hold fast to faith in the heavenly Father. On youthful feet they run alongside the swift young Christ.

The weight of years does not press upon their shoulders. Their souls are young and childlike. They have found the innocence and faith, the cheerfulness and trust that Christ gave to the world. The proud certainty in their minds leaves no place for the ice of skepticism. They find the world the beautiful place that God prepared for those who love Him.

Pope Pius XII, of holy memory, had this to say about the obligation to vote: In the present circumstances it is strictly obligatory for whoever has the right, man or woman, to take part in the elections. He who abstains, particularly through laziness or cowardice commits thereby a grave sin. During another audience, the same pope further emphasized the moral point: There is a heavy responsibility on everyone, man or woman, who has the right to vote, especially when the interests of religion are at stake; abstention in this case, in itself, it should be thoroughly understood, is a grave and fatal sin of omission. On the contrary, to exercise and to exercise well, one’s right to vote is to work effectively for the good of the people, as loyal defenders of God and of the Church. In our particular situation as a country, we have an presidential election coming up, and the interests of religion are at stake and the People of God need to vote….

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Review: For the spiritually-conscious couple this book is a must. Written in the 1920’s by a Catholic priest to counsel married couples on sexual morality, daily problems and child rearing. Among many wonderful lessons, it describes plainly what I needed to know about which birth-control method is moral and which is immoral, from a Traditional Roman Catholic point of view.

A Frank, Yet Reverent Instruction on the Intimate Matters of Personal Life for Young Men. To our dear and noble Catholic youths who have preserved, or want to recover, their purity of heart, and are minded to retain it throughout life. For various reasons many good fathers of themselves are not able to give their sons this enlightenment on the mysteries of life properly and sufficiently. They may find this book helpful in the discharge of their parental responsibilities in so delicate a matter.

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