“Voting Is a Sacred Obligation” by Bishop DiMarzio

October 29, 2014 – Excerpted from Put Out Into the Deep, Bishop DiMarzio’s column in The Tablet:

My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,

On Tuesday, Nov. 4, New Yorkers will go to the polls to vote for our Governor, Attorney General, Comptroller as well as members of Congress and State legislators. Citizenship confers on us all many rights and also burdens and some obligations. We, who are fortunate to live in a representative democracy, have a special religious obligation to take seriously our patriotic duty to vote.

My grandfather, who came to the U.S. in 1913, did not become a citizen until 1945, a pattern followed by many old immigrants. My grandmother waited until she was 85 to become a citizen. One of the proudest days of her life was when she took the oath of citizenship with me standing by her side. She could not wait to exercise her right to vote now that she was a citizen. Both were proud to be U.S. citizens.

When I became 18, my grandfather wanted to give me a voting lesson. He said, “Go into the booth, when you see an Italian name, pull down the leaver.” In the past, voting was an exercise in ethnic loyalty or voting for party loyalty. Today, however, we need to go beyond the past and be truly discerning Catholic voters.

Read the full text of the Bishop’s column on The Tablet website.