Voting was easy.
Going to the polls, standing in line and marking our ballots — important as it was — took little effort for most of us. Far more essential is the ongoing work that must follow.
Amid the barrage of nasty attack ads and the refusal of most candidates to clearly communicate strong positions in defense of the life and dignity of all, it was unfortunately quite difficult to decide who the most ethical candidates were.
So once again, Americans have many senators and representatives, governors and state legislators who are less than enthusiastic at best and downright hostile at worst to the comprehensive respect-life teachings of the Catholic Church.
Many of the earth’s people continue to suffer since the overwhelming majority of politicians refuse to work for the passage of legislation that protects the unborn, abolishes capital punishment, stops corporate profits from sweatshops, reforms unjust immigration laws, defends the environment, reverses global warming, ends the arms race, encourages nonviolent conflict resolution, lifts the poor out of poverty, provides universal health insurance and ensures adequate nutrition for the hungry masses.
Faithful Catholics cannot let this happen!
Pope Benedict XVI, in his encyclical Deus Caritas Est ("God is Love"), powerfully teaches that "love for widows and orphans, prisoners, and the sick and needy of every kind, is as essential to [the church] as the ministry of the sacraments and preaching of the Gospel."
While many selfishly think that government should mainly be limited to lowering their taxes and maintaining a huge military, Catholic social teaching strongly disagrees.
In his challenging encyclical Mater et Magistra ("Christianity and Social Progress"), Pope John XXIII wrote: "It is requested again and again of public authorities responsible for the common good, that they intervene in a wide variety of economic affairs, and that, in a more extensive and organized way than heretofore, they adapt institutions, tasks, means and procedures to this end."
The Catholic Church calls government to expand its role to the point where each person’s basic human rights are ensured.
But government will not move on its own; it must be pushed by people of faith. It has been accurately noted that most politicians do not see the light until they feel the heat!
We need to tirelessly pray and work to ensure that everyone adequately shares in the goods of the earth and learns to live together in peace.
For the sake of our suffering brothers and sisters in the United States and around the world, it is absolutely essential that Catholics be politically involved throughout the year, not just on election day.
There are many good Catholic organizations prepared to inform and assist us in our efforts to help others: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (www.usccb.org; click life and social-justice issues), your state Catholic conference, Priests for Life (www.priestsforlife.org), Pax Christi USA (www.paxchristiusa.org), Catholic Relief Services (www.crs.org), Catholic Charities USA (www.catholiccharitiesusa.org) and The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change (www.catholicsandclimatechange.org).
Consider regularly visiting the above sites, and please sign up to receive their "action alerts."
Let’s strongly communicate to the people we put in public office that the needs of the poor and vulnerable should be top priority. And that we expect broad-sweeping legislation passed on their behalf.
Let’s turn up the heat!
Magliano is a columnist for Catholic News Service.