The Most Reverend Stephen D. Parkes, D.D.
Fifteenth Bishop of Savannah
As we prepare for Election Day 2020, it is of critical importance that we make decisions based upon an informed conscience and our own personal prayer and reflection. I encourage you to fully participate in the election process but also to be aware of the critical issues of our times. Every vote is important and the decisions that we make today affect not only ourselves but future generations.
As a Church we do not endorse candidates and there is no political party that fully embraces the totality of our Catholic beliefs. Therefore it is important for us to be aware of the important elements of our Catholic social teaching for living a life of holiness, creating a just society and truly building the Kingdom of God.
These issues include
As your Bishop, I encourage you to learn more about our call to faithful citizenship and the formation of an informed conscience by visiting the website for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, usccb.org, and clicking on the link for faithful citizenship.
Prayer and reflection upon the Sacred Scriptures is also important as we make decisions about candidates and issues on the ballot. A good place to start is Matthew Chapter 22, where Jesus is presented with a coin. He asks whose image is on the coin to which the people respond: Caesar. Jesus reminds the crowd then to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. My friends we are not coins. We are people who have the ability to reason and to make good and holy decisions. Upon every human soul is imprinted the image of God who loves us and cares for us. Therefore, we turn to God, in whose image we are all made for help in discerning the issues that are important for the common good and not just to us personally. We give to God our whole selves.
The vision of our Founding Fathers was to protect the undeniable and unalienable rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. As you prepare to vote, please reflect upon how we continue to preserve these rights. Specifically and of the highest priority is that of life and concern for the most vulnerable of our society. We must defend the dignity of every human person from conception to natural death. Of preeminent concern is the child in the womb. We must also care for the sick, the elderly and the incarcerated. How will your vote be a voice for those who have a voice but whose voice is not heard because no one is listening?
Liberty includes the beautiful freedoms that we enjoy in our country. We live in a country that is unique, where freedoms have been enjoyed for over 240 years. Many come to our shores from all over the world seeking something special. Our own ancestors did – including mine who came to this country seeking a new life, filled with hopes and dreams. They found freedom and safety here that they did not know in their homeland. How do we continue to welcome the stranger and preserve the gift of freedom with responsibility?
And finally, the pursuit of happiness. Each day we are called not only to do better but to be better as we create a holy and just society that is built not on our selfish desires but on the daily pursuit of discovering beauty, understanding truth and inspiring goodness. When we seek to be the best that we can be, we experience joy and happiness in our relationship with God and others. This lifelong journey is a pursuit that is worth every effort. How will your decisions in this election be an affirmation of seeking the pursuit of happiness today and for future generations?
Please know that I pray for you during this time of election and always. I also remember your loved ones and your intentions. Please pray for me as your Bishop and for the Priests, Deacons and Religious that serve faithfully in the Diocese of Savannah. We may not see one another each day but may we meet each day in our prayers. May we Rejoice in the Lord always.