On October 2, 2016 Pope Francis commented about the upcoming U.S. presidential election, “Study the proposals well, pray and choose in conscience.” While I was praying and thinking about the above comment the four horsemen of the Book of Revelation came to mind several times.
Pope Francis added, “When a country has two, three or four candidates who are unsatisfactory, it means that the political life of that country is perhaps overly “politicized” and that it does not have much political culture.” His statement encouraged me to study the four candidates on the ballot and to see how they line up with the U.S. Bishops document called Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship (FCFC).
I asked myself why should I write about this and I found where the U.S. Bishops state, “Together with priests and deacons,…we are to teach fundamental moral principles that help Catholics form their consciences correctly, to provide guidance on the moral dimensions of public decisions in the political life…In fulfilling these responsibilities, the Church’s leaders avoid endorsing or opposing candidates.” (FCFC no. 15)
Metaphorically speaking, in some interpretations, the four horsemen symbolize the spirits of death, war, plague and famine. In no way are the four candidates the four horsemen, but this is a simple attempt to highlight the important issues of our day.
First, “I looked, and there was a pale green horse. Its rider was named Death, and Hades accompanied him. They were given authority over a quarter of the earth, to kill with sword, famine, and plague, and by means of the beasts of the earth.” (Rev. 6:8) I thought of the culture of death in reference to “abortion and euthanasia” (FCFC no. 22) plus “human cloning, [and] destructive research on human embryos.” (FCFC no. 23) When studying the four candidates please see their view on life issues as this is not just evil but “intrinsically evil” – “actions so deeply flawed that they are always opposed to the authentic good of persons.” (FCFC no. 22)
Second, “Another horse came out, a red one. Its rider was given power to take peace away from the earth, so that people would slaughter one another. And he was given a huge sword.” (Rev.6:4) Do the candidates take away peace from men’s hearts with their words or actions? For example, “violations of human dignity such, as acts of racism” (FCFC no. 23) are considered “intrinsically evil.” Do they attack the weakest and most vulnerable members of society? [T]reating the poor as disposable,” (FCFC no. 23) is also “intrinsically evil.”
Third, “I looked, and there was a white horse, and its rider had a bow. He was given a crown, and he rode forth victorious to further his victories.” (Rev.6:3) Pope Francis speaks of first world countries selling arms for war to third world countries in order to make profits. Also, which of the candidates want oil, minerals, and raw materials at the cost of a possible World War III? “[G]enocide, torture, and the targeting of noncombatants in acts of terror or war,” (FCFC no. 23) are “intrinsically evil.”
Fourth, “I looked, and there was a black horse, and its rider held a scale in his hand. [And] I heard…“A ration of wheat costs a day’s pay, and three rations of barley cost a day’s pay. But do not damage the olive oil or the wine.” (Rev.6:6) This scripture could illustrate our current economy crisis where only a few benefit and the rest suffer, or as Pope Francis states in Evangelii Gaudium, “Money must serve, not rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and to the return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favors human beings.” (58) How do the candidate’s economic plan affect the poor and the environment? This type of extreme economics leads to “treating workers as mere means to an end, [and] deliberately subjecting workers to subhuman living conditions” (FCFC no. 23) which is also “intrinsically evil.”
How do the candidates line up with Pope Pius XI’s 1925 encyclical Quas Primas?
“If princes and magistrates duly elected are filled with the persuasion that they rule, not by their own right, but by the mandate and in the place of the Divine King, they will exercise their authority piously and wisely, and they will make laws and administer them, having in view the common good and also the human dignity of their subjects. The result will be a stable peace and tranquility, for there will be no longer any cause of discontent. Men will see in their king or in their rulers men like themselves, perhaps unworthy or open to criticism, but they will not on that account refuse obedience if they see reflected in them the authority of Christ God and Man. (19)
Study, pray, and choose in conscience the candidate that is in accord with non-negotiable moral values keeping in mind that “A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who favors a policy promoting an intrinsically evil act,…[since then] a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil.” [FCFC no.34] Furthermore, “When all candidates hold a position that promotes an intrinsically evil act, the conscientious voter faces a dilemma. The voter may decide to take the extraordinary step of not voting for any candidate or, after careful deliberation, may decide to vote for the candidate deemed less likely to advance such a morally flawed position and more likely to pursue other authentic human goods.” [FCFC no. 36] Another option is to vote for a “write in” if you sense you are violating your conscience with the above choices.
Finally, have hope and do not be afraid of how things turn out for in the very end, in God’s time, a fifth horsemen shows up and wins the final battle for us, “There was a white horse; its rider was called ‘Faithful and True.’…The armies of heaven followed Him, mounted on white horses and wearing clean white linen…He has a name written on his cloak and on his thigh, ‘King of kings and Lord of lords.’… Then I saw the beast and their armies gathered to fight against the one riding the horse and against his army…[and they] were killed by the sword that came out of the mouth of the one riding the horse.” (Rev. 19:11-21)
JESUS I TRUST IN YOU.
Mike Maturen / Juan Munoz (Solidarity)
For certified ‘write in’ candidates their names appear together on a sheet glued to the booth.