No ‘easy way out’ for voters

NORMAL — There is no “taking the easy way out” for Catholics who must form their consciences according to God’s truth and then, after prayerful reflection and study, make prudent choices at the ballot box during an election year.

“The church doesn’t endorse candidates, doesn’t tell us for whom to vote,” said Msgr. Douglas Hennessy, pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in Bloomington, to about 50 young adults gathered for the first Theology on Tap session in the Bloomington-Normal area on Tuesday night.

The church does offer guiding principles, and Msgr. Hennessy outlined many of them in a presentation preceding a lively discussion at The Medici restaurant in downtown Normal. Theology on Tap offers young adults the opportunity to discuss matters of the Catholic faith in an informal setting.

“There are no candidates, at any level, who support all of the things we’d like to see as Catholics,” said Msgr. Hennessy, whose presentation was entitled “Faith and Politics.”

“It’s the responsibility of each person to struggle through the issues and make prudential judgements,” he told the group. “It takes an honest effort to know what the church teaches, and what is really going on.”

He concluded the evening with the charge to “go in peace and do your homework.”

Msgr. Hennessy’s presentation featured a review of the booklet “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” published by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which was distributed to attendees during the evening.

Where many Catholics find “a struggle” is finding the right balance between focusing on a single subject, such as abortion — which is “without question a fundamental issue,” said Msgr. Hennessy — and the wide range of other “great issues confronting the nation at this time,” including the war, immigration, the economy, and the environment.

The Theology on Tap series continues on the next two Tuesday nights with presentations by Dr. Kenneth Howell on Sept. 2 on “Catholic Distinctives: The Whys and the Wherefores,” and by Father Geoffrey Horton on Sept. 9 discussing “Spirituality and Religion.”

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