Nuns on the Bus tour is virtual this year, but calling to truth and justice goes on

Sister Jeanne Christensen, RSM
October 24, 2020

Network Lobby is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1971 by religious Catholic women. Membership is open today to all people who are advocates for justice. In this election year, Network is sponsoring a virtual Nuns on the Bus tour to emphasize that Catholics and all people of faith have a moral obligation to be politically responsible and to vote according to their own well-informed conscience. For Catholics, that includes an understanding of the Catholic social teachings, the importance of being a multi-issue voter, and why who we elect matters.

The principles of Catholic social teaching are the life and dignity of the human person; a call to family, community, and participation; rights and responsibilities; an option for the poor and vulnerable; the dignity of work and the rights of workers; solidarity; and care for God’s creation.

Bishop Robert McElroy of the Diocese of San Diego recently said in an address: “Frequently in discussions of the application of Catholic social teaching to voting, the question is raised whether one specific issue is singularly determinative for voting in the current election cycle. Some have categorized abortion in that way. Others, climate change. Still other Americans see the central issue in the 2020 election as the ability to heal our culture of exclusion and racism so that we can truly become a unified nation with a coherent political community.

“Each of these issues has a powerful moral claim upon the conscience of a faith-filled Catholic voter.”

These issues are interrelated. For example, if we truly respect life and advocate for the unborn, we must also advocate for their right to adequate food, safe, affordable shelter, quality education, family stability and freedom from abuse and violence.

Pope Francis has called us to frame the defense of human life and dignity in expansive terms and on many issues. He said “Our defense of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery and every form of rejection.”

This year’s Nuns on the Bus tour will provide fact-based information on the most pressing issues in our nation. We will listen to the lived experiences of those facing difficult challenges and help tour participants to understand and then vote for the good of all on Election Day.

As Bishop McElroy said, “We must vote in faith and rebuild in hope to serve the nation that we love and the Gospel by which we are redeemed.”

Jeanne Christensen is Justice Advocate against Human Trafficking for Sisters of Mercy of the Americas in North Kansas City.

Originally published in The Kansas City Star.

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