The general elections of the United States of America will take place in November of this year, 2020. This makes the year 2020 a very special year for this country and, therefore, for the whole world. The quality of American leadership in the world is at stake; the course of history for mankind is at stake. Will autocratic tendencies prevail, will social and economic inequalities be addressed, will the rights and dignity of migrants receive the necessary attention, will environmental challenges and responsibilities be met with the necessary enlightened and proactive disposition?
El Ignaciano has planned its issues for March, June and September of this year with that crucial event in mind. Catholic, Christian, voters have a responsibility to participate in that central political process and to do so in a way that accurately reflects the values that inform the gospel. The Beatitudes should be carefully read, meditated on and used as a measuring stick when judging political platforms and programs as well as candidate´s track records. This is not an easy thing to accomplish in the complicated world of American culture and politics and it is necessary to avail oneself of the expertise of those who have dedicated their lives to the study of these issues. To this end El Ignaciano will try, in this and the coming issues of June and September, to provide the reader with articles that highlight some of the most important issues at stake in this coming election.
In the current, March, issue we bring you the first installment of the work of Dr. Sixto García on Political Theology and Catholic Social Doctrine with further installments in the subsequent issues of June and September. Also in this issue we bring you Dr. Antonio Lopez´s The Practice of Justice in Accordance with the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church in the Context of Contemporary American Culture, as well as articles on the issue of education by Father Jorge Cela, S.J., Father Robert Vallee and educator Jorge G. De Leon, and finally on the pressing issue of immigration by Siro Del Castillo and of the behavior of the church in the person of some misguided local priests to politicize the eucharist.
One often hears Catholics describe themselves as Republicans or Democrats, but although those characterizations may reflect a general inclination or a general tendency to agree with the temperament or general disposition of one party or the other a catholic should not automatically vote for the candidate of a given party just on the basis of that inclination or tendency. A vote should only be cast after careful, almost prayerful, consideration of each party´s platform and each candidate´s declared position on all relevant issues and a careful assessment of how those platforms and positions stand in relation to Catholic doctrine and gospel values. That assessment should not limit itself to any one single issue, but to all the issues taken as a whole. Pope Francis tells us in Gaudete et Exultate paragraph 105: ¨Our defense of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection. We cannot uphold an ideal of holiness that would ignore injustice in a world where some revel, spend with abandon and live only for the latest consumer goods, even as others look on from afar, living their entire lives in abject poverty.¨ A clear warning from Pope Francis that we should not be ¨one issue voters.¨
El Ignaciano hopes that the articles in this issue and the forthcoming issues of June and September will aid our readers in their effort to discern which party´s platform and which candidates best approximate the values expressed in the gospel and very especially in the Beatitudes so that our concern as Catholics for the dignity of human life at all its stages is best served.
As we close this issue of El Ignaciano, the presence of the Corona Virus epidemic that has been afflicting several parts of the world is now upon us. This growing crisis challenges our social and economic structures and points out with increasing clarity the inadequacies of a system that has allowed to exist unacceptable social and economic inequalities as well as inequalities in the access to quality medical and educational services. The need for the federal government to show proper leadership in the management of this crisis as well as to bring its economic power to bear in providing temporary, as well as permanent, aid to those most in need demonstrates that the principle of subsidiarity can not be used to minimize or obscure the right and obligation of the federal government to promote social and economic justice.
The importance for a democracy to have its citizens exercise their right to vote in an informed and enlightened manner becomes clearer than ever. For a Catholic (Christian) voter this means, as stated before, consideration of each party´s platform and each candidate´s declared position on all relevant issues and a careful assessment of how those platforms and positions, as well as the candidate´s track record, stand in relation to Catholic doctrine and gospel values.
We hope that this issue of El Ignaciano, as well as the coming issues of June and September will help the reader to accomplish that.