Balancing Catholicism with political views

Liza Magill, Opinions Editor

As a Catholic, I, according to societal standards, must agree with the Catholic Church on every issue, political or religious. But for me, this is not the case. And I am not alone––thousands around the state of Minnesota and across the country also classify themselves as Catholic but have liberal social views. Why, just because I am Catholic, should my political views align with my religious views? I’m my own person, and I make my own decisions.

Because I’ve gone to a Catholic school since the age of five, my faith has always been a large part of my life. My grandmother, still one of my role models, attended church daily until her death and taught me more about life and religion every time we were were together. I trust my own morals due to this upbringing. I know that every decision that I make will be the best for me. But who am I to decide that for someone else? Even as a Catholic, I am not willing to force my beliefs upon other people. No one has this right.

It is true that the Catholic Church actively involves themselves in political issues by encouraging the doctrine of Catholic Social Teachings––whether in terms abortion, gay marriage, immigration, or another issue. Yet, the Church’s views constitute only the views of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. Almost every religion represented in the country also has an official stance on political issues, yet Catholics, due to the outspoken nature of the Catholic Church, often get the brunt of attacks when they politically disagree with their Catholic leaders.

Paragraph 1782 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that each individual has the right to act freely and consciously to make their own moral decisions. “He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters.” My political, social, economic, and moral viewpoints are not detrimental to my Catholic faith. Catholicism is not a political party.

My Catholic faith stands at the center of my being. So do my liberal social views. My political views represent my thoughts, my choices, my beliefs––not a conglomeration of the views of those around me. I, as a Catholic, can still choose for myself.