cover image Vote Catholic? Beyond the Political Din

Vote Catholic? Beyond the Political Din

Bernard F. Evans. Liturgical Press, $9.95 (98pp) ISBN 978-0-8146-2946-8

This effort to bring clarity to the question of how Catholics should vote is aimed at dispelling the notion that certain issues—abortion in particular—carry more weight than others when Catholics cast their ballots. Evans, who holds a chair in rural social ministries at St. John’s School of Theology in Collegeville, Minn., begins by saying that religion and politics can and do mix. However, he insists that focusing on a limited number of issues distorts overall Catholic teaching on the subject of voting. He suggests that Catholics take a wider view by considering such things as the living wage, capital punishment, health care, education, immigration, housing and public assistance, all of which he sees as related to the church’s strong position in defense of the dignity of human life. Evans bases his premise on “Catholic social teaching” and cites various church documents, including statements of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. This teaching, he posits, invites consideration of the needs of the larger community, the protection of human life and the promotion of the interests of the poor and marginalized when participating in an election. While some readers will appreciate his more broad-brushed view of the political landscape, others will be troubled by Evans’s reluctance to make certain issues nonnegotiable. (Mar.)