National Catholic Register

Opinion

Nine Days to Pray Before Election Day

Catholics have been praying for the upcoming elections for months. It isn’t too late to join them.

BY the Editors

October 29-November 4, 2006 Issue | Posted 10/25/06 at 9:00 AM

 

Catholics have been praying for the upcoming elections for months. It isn’t too late to join them.

Nov. 7 is Election Day in the United States. A national novena of prayers for the election has been underway since the Fourth of July. The “Novena for Our National Elections” consisted of two periods of nine weeks apiece.

But now, Election Day is a little over a week away. Those who want to participate can still pray during the nine final days of campaigning — starting on Monday, Oct. 30, and concluding on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

The intentions for this prayer campaign are as follows:

1. That believers will be active citizens, will register to vote where they still have time, and will cast their votes in the 2006 elections.

2. That voters will base their choices on principle rather than historical loyalties or self-interest, keeping in mind that the first duty of government is the protection of human life.

3. That, as a result of this year’s elections, our nation may come closer to embracing a culture of life, in which the unborn and all the vulnerable are protected.

There is a great deal at stake in this year’s election. Shortly before he became Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote to Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick about how Catholic voters should weigh issues.

“Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia,” he wrote before the 2004 elections. “While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

On Oct. 20, Pope Benedict XVI called on laypeople to defend against “the risk of political choices and laws that go against the fundamental values ... rooted in the nature of the human being” and warned particularly against efforts to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples.

Abortion, euthanasia and homosexual “marriage” are on particular ballots across the United States (see page 2) — but, in another sense, they will be on nearly everyone’s ballot this Nov. 7. Last year, we saw how important it is that a party with a pro-life platform have control of the Senate when U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito were seated on the Supreme Court.

A Prayer for Our National Elections

O God, we acknowledge you today as Lord, not only of individuals, but of nations and governments.

We thank you for the privilege of being able to organize ourselves politically and of knowing that political loyalty does not have to mean disloyalty to you.

We thank you for your law, which our Founding Fathers acknowledged and recognized as higher than any human law.

We thank you for the opportunity that this election year puts before us, to exercise our solemn duty not only to vote, but to influence countless others to vote, and to vote correctly.

Lord, we pray that your people may be awakened. Let them realize that while politics is not their salvation, their response to you requires that they be politically active.

Awaken your people to know that they are not called to be a sect fleeing the world but rather a community of faith renewing the world.

Awaken them that the same hands lifted up to you in prayer are the hands that pull the lever in the voting booth; that the same eyes that read your Word are the eyes that read the names on the ballot, and that they do not cease to be Christians when they enter the voting booth.

Awaken your people to a commitment to justice to the sanctity of marriage and the family, to the dignity of each individual human life, and to the truth that human rights begin when human lives begin, and not one moment later.

Lord, we rejoice today that we are citizens of your Kingdom.

May that make us all the more committed to being faithful citizens on earth. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.