Friday, October 29, 2010

Your Vote, Your Values

Coming out this weekend in all parishes in Victoria is a joint statement from the Catholic diocesan bishops of Victoria, Archbishop Denis Hart (Archbishop of Melbourne), and Bishops Peter Connors (Ballarat), Joseph Grech (Sandhurst), and Christopher Prowse (Sale) called "Your Vote, Your Values: Issues and Questions for Parliamentary Candidates for the Victorian Election".

I have been eagerly awaiting this document, as I have been wanting to write to my local member and to the other candidates to ascertain where they stand on a number of crucial issues. This is because things are not simple in the State of Victoria at the moment. The political values of the parties and leaders are not clearly demarcated, and the policies of all parties seem more designed to get themselves elected than to do what is right for the state. There are good and honest and virtuous candidates in all the parties, but their own values do not always translate into the value of the party as a whole or that of their leaders.

But we don't get to elect a party or a leader, we only get to elect a candidate. So it is vital to know what your candidate stands for. "Your Vote, Your Values" provides a series of issues and related questions on a number of values, including Life, Families, Education, Health and Aged Care, Community, and Religious Freedom. Taking this statement, I have written it up as a questionnaire in table form for my local member and the other candidates (I have turned all the questions into "Yes/No" questions for quick answering, and also added a question about funding palliative care - I don't know why that was left off the list). I am going to send it to each of them, and request a response. I will inform them also that I am a blogger, and will report on their responses (or lack of response) to my readers on my blog (the questionnaire is rather extensive, and it is not likely that they would go to the bother of answering it unless they knew that it was going to be reported).

I wonder what the response will be?

In the mean time, if you want to do the same, you can download the questionnaire from here from Media Fire (sorry, free Wordpress doesn't support document hosting). You can find out information about the Election and Candidates from this website. Note that official nominations for the 2010 Victorian State election only open next Wednesday, 3 November, so start writing your letters now ready to post next week.

Please share any responses you get with us in the combox to this post, or email them to me and I will post them.

24 Comments:

At Saturday, October 30, 2010 7:03:00 pm , Anonymous bikini747 said...

daily news at http://bikini-blog.blogspot.com

 
At Saturday, October 30, 2010 8:26:00 pm , Anonymous Paul G said...

Hello David,
good luck with getting some answers. Its strange how much resentment there is in the Church expressing its opinion and asking the politicians theirs. I heard a minor academic ranting about the "your vote, your values" document on radio this morning. I gave up and switched off when he started talking about Irish Catholics and the DLP split. If I had been in the same room, I would have thrown my shoes at him, that seems to be the popular method of political debate now.

If we don't ask these questions, changes can come about without anyone noticing. For example, we have legal brothels in our local suburban shopping centre. When was the debate about that? Many pubs in NSW can open until 4am, which according to the police, gives them a very busy Sunday morning. I don't remember any proposal for that by a politician. Virtually all shops are open on Sunday now, and that just happened, little by little. (I always think of Israel, which seems to have a thriving economy, but they respect the Sabbath)

Perhaps a question you could add to your list is support for palliative care. A hospital in Sydney recently had trouble getting funding for palliative care, which prompted a letter to the editor from someone who thinks that this proves how efficient the solution of euthanasia will be.

 
At Sunday, October 31, 2010 10:09:00 pm , Anonymous Schütz said...

Good point about the palliative care question, Paul. I don't exactly know why that wasn't included in the list. It seems to go logically with our concerns about euthanasia and about sufficient health care for the elderly and disabled. I have added it to the questionnaire I have prepared.

 
At Monday, November 01, 2010 1:48:00 am , Anonymous Henrietta said...

I thought the document was a huge step in the right direction, however my only criticism is that although the life issues are listed first, I think there needed to be more made of the fact that you really can't vote for a pro-abortion politician, no matter how good they are on the other issues.

For example a persons right to life is worth more than economic considerations.

All in all though it will be good for the faithful to start thinking about where they cast their vote rather than just voting for the party that they always vote for.

 
At Monday, November 01, 2010 5:10:00 pm , Anonymous Clara said...

Sometimes we can be a little myopic in what constitutes pro-life. I once worked for a company with very 'Catholic' directors - they had six children apiece and gave big donations to catholic welfare agencies - but their occupational health and safety practices were virtually non-existent and they employed contractors who risked life and limb and all for the might dollar. One are they worked in was asbestos removal - they complied with the OH&S requirements on paper, but not in practice. I found this highly immoral and as disrespectful of human life as abortion or euthanasia and resigned.

 
At Monday, November 01, 2010 9:45:00 pm , Anonymous Gareth said...

Even worse, those very misguided Greens people are often the people that sit in the same pew with you and I each Sunday.

What I meant is that it is about time someone chose to higlight this misguidance.

 
At Tuesday, November 02, 2010 1:11:00 am , Anonymous Schütz said...

I think there needed to be more made of the fact that you really can’t vote for a pro-abortion politician, no matter how good they are on the other issues.

I find a more challenging question in our political system here in Australia is whether you can/should vote for an clearly anti-abortion candidate who is nevertheless a part of a government that has actually supported the liberalisation of abortion laws. My gut feeling is "yes", but it still bothers me.

 
At Tuesday, November 02, 2010 1:18:00 am , Anonymous Schütz said...

Now you are really skating on thin ice here, Gareth. The thing about pregnancy is that it is very public, and when people who are publically know for their Christainity find themselves in the situation of a pregnancy out of wedlock (yes, we all know how it happens), there can be a very very great deal of pressure to "keep up appearances" by making the "appearance" go away. We don't want that, do we? People sin, Gareth, even Catholics - even very good Catholics. I know I do (peccator inter peccatores, as the blog says), and I suspect that you do too. However, you and I will never find ourselves in a situation that we are carrying a new life as a constant and public witness to our sin. Please moderate your feelings toward these women you know. Please find some compassion in your heart to forgive them as God does, and do something to encouarage and help them in their motherhood.

 
At Tuesday, November 02, 2010 1:24:00 am , Anonymous Louise said...

Gareth, sex outside of marriage is always bad, no doubt about it, but I caution you not to put your faith in others. We are sinners all. The problem, really, is when people change their *definition* of right and wrong to ease their own conscience.

Since neither of these women had an abortion (Deo gratias!) you can at least be sure they are pro-life in belief and practice and that's a good thing.

 
At Tuesday, November 02, 2010 1:26:00 am , Anonymous Louise said...

Yes, I really don't see how any practicing Catholic can vote Green. As a Party they are beyond the pale.

 
At Tuesday, November 02, 2010 4:21:00 am , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

Quod scripsisti, scripsisti.

 
At Tuesday, November 02, 2010 4:53:00 am , Anonymous Louise said...

Well, I hope the people involved have made their confessions and done penance for their sins and did not sin further by receiving Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin.

My point was really that given the age we live in and its terrible general degradation, it's just not surprising when people fall short of the mark. It is very discouraging though, I grant you. I feel it more especially when marriages of committed Catholics break up. Worse still, if one or both spouse shack up with someone else. It's very distressing. But there is a difference between an impenitent sinner and a penitent one, I'm sure you'd agree.

Although a society with a strong moral code which is inclined to place social sanctions on "public sinners" is probably in a better position than ours.

 
At Tuesday, November 02, 2010 6:04:00 am , Anonymous Gareth said...

Yes, thanks for understanding.

These things are all heartbreaking - especially when it is people we know and love or people we have prayed for years.

Some things in our lives are a mystery, but hopefully one day all the crosses that we had to bear and our perserverance will be put into perspective.

 
At Tuesday, November 02, 2010 6:13:00 am , Anonymous Louise said...

In many cases, I'm pretty sure that the Catholics who think they can morally vote for the Greens are simply in the dark about the real agenda/ideology. In other cases, the Catholics are simply dissenters who agree with most of the Greens' platform.

 
At Tuesday, November 02, 2010 6:18:00 am , Anonymous Louise said...

Child abuse is, of course, a heinous crime. Fornication currently is not a crime. Both are mortal sins, however, and fornication is far more damaging than we generally think these days, and if a child results and is not aborted, it's not unusual for that child to be abused physically by his/her mother and/or her subsequent "partners." A great deal of damage is done in this situation too.

 
At Tuesday, November 02, 2010 6:23:00 am , Anonymous Louise said...

How can I stand up and faithfully argue that there our society or community should strive for a culture of life, when some of my Catholic mates who have years of formation behind them get girls pregnant?

Again, this is a bad witness and doesn't help the cause, but strictly speaking, the purity or otherwise of the people who argue for traditional morality (e.g. The Ten Commandments) is really neither here nor there. It's either true or not.

But as it happens, a society which is largely permeated by the Gospel, will be a much better society than one which is not. This is easy enough to see from history. It's worth a closer look.

 
At Tuesday, November 02, 2010 6:26:00 am , Anonymous Louise said...

IOW, try not to give in to discouragement, which is the work of Satan in our lives. As a practical encouragement, think of the people who faithfully pray for mothers and unborn babies each week! Just knowing they're there gives great hope. And think of the faithfulness of our dear Fr Gerald!

 
At Tuesday, November 02, 2010 6:55:00 am , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

Hi Louise

The moral problem with fornication is not that the children who may be born might later be abused. That possiblity also exists when a married couple has sex, does it not? No, the moral issues of fornication have to do with fornication; there are intrinsic moral issues which do not depend on contingencies like possible conception and possible future child abuse. I think we short-change Catholic teaching if we try to present fornication as wrong because it might conceivably be connected with child abuse at some future date. There are much more immediate moral issues.

Just to be clear: I have no problem with people pointing to the serious moral issues that arise from our sexuality. I do have a problem with the condemnation of individuals whose failings or presume failings have become embarrassingly evident. (The lessons of the Gospel aside, isn't this precisely the course of action someone would take if they wished to create a climate in which a woman facing a crisis pregnancy felt pressured to abort?)

And I have a major, major problem with condemning individuals guilty or presumed to be guilty of fornication, while in the same discussion minimising child 'abuse' (complete with inverted commas around "abuse") by Catholic priests as a "slip up" because "in some cases" it's "not even close to the full sexual act". I cannot think of a stance better calculated to bring Catholic teaching, and the Catholic church, into general derision and contempt.

 
At Tuesday, November 02, 2010 9:40:00 am , Anonymous mark lachal said...

Hi David, shall we say hypothetically that there could be a Labor politician in Victoria who is pro life and one would like to vote for them because they are pro life. However, if the opposing candidate was LIberal (and pro life) or DLP(all of hwom are pro life) or Family FIrst ( all of whom are pro life) I would suggest you vote for them as overall most Labor pollies are pro abortion and getting another LAbor POlly ( even if they are pro life elected) could be the difference between a LIberal or a Labor state government and certainly the Labor Party is not going to make any pro life initiatives when they are full of Emilys LIst members!!
There are far more Pro life people in the Liberal Party.

 
At Tuesday, November 02, 2010 10:57:00 am , Anonymous Schütz said...

While indeed it is true that holy lives are the best witness to the Gospel, we at least need to be clear that the truth of the Church's message is not based on the holiness of the Church's members but upon the holiness of her founder. The sins of members of the Church, clerical or lay, are evidences of the truth of at least one part of the Church's message: that all human beings are tempted to and liable to sin and need God's forgiveness and a Saviour who can bring them that forgiveness. Remember always Jesus' words, and let there be "more joy" in the Church over one sinner who repents than over the 99 who "do not need repentance"!

 
At Tuesday, November 02, 2010 9:13:00 pm , Anonymous Gareth said...

That all sounds well and good, but I think you are missing my point.

Precisely my point is, for society or the community to do something productive about moral disorders, in this case being abortion, it has to understand (and then potentially amend) its fruits to begin with.

One can’t possibly do something about a disorder or present to society at large the disorder, without understanding or doing something about its fruits to begin with.

Putting it bluntly, the fruits of abortion are immortality/impurity.

We being on the side of wanting to do something about abortion, we must be serious about doing something about its fruits to begin with which is impurity.

If the very own community that we belong to has issues with the fruits that cause the problem to begin with, then I have a point that is rather difficult to put a point across or as you put it ‘witness ‘ to the rest of society that they should do something about the fruits of the disorder.

Look, I will always view abortion as unnecessary evil, but having witnessed some of the issues within the community I belong to, I do feel less and less confident in putting forward an argument that other people should get their act together, when the house I belong to is not in order and struggles with the same fruits in which we are trying to tell to the rest of society should be avoided.

 
At Tuesday, November 02, 2010 9:51:00 pm , Anonymous Gareth said...

Or going by the looks of our Diocese's interesting 'Catholic' magazine, half the staff of the Diocese's office

:')

 
At Tuesday, November 02, 2010 11:51:00 pm , Anonymous Gareth said...

Why dont you go off to Brian Coyne where you belong Peregrinus instead of hanging around like a bad smell and arguing with magesterial Catholics.

That's right, he is probably too orthodox for you.

 
At Wednesday, November 03, 2010 5:28:00 am , Anonymous Henrietta said...

Peregrinus, I think you have mis-understood my comments. When I say that a persons right to life is more than economic issues, I am not saying that abortion is not sometimes motivated by economic reasons. I am however saying that we should as voters should consider life issues ahead of economic issues.

Regarding voting for pro-abortion politicians, I *think* the only time it would be permissible to vote for one is if all of the candidates are pro-abortion and so you would therefore employ the 'lesser of two evils' principle and try and choose the least bad.

The comments that you make regarding the abortion rate rising in 'pro-life' administrations are interesting. I think Tony Abbott needs to be careful here - especially with his policy on bringing back full-fee paying university fees. If this happens, this would make it more difficult for lower income families and may in-turn contribute to higher rates of abortion. Having said all of this, there is still a moral difference in voting for someone who approves of abortion and someone who may un-wittingly create the conditions where women feel pressured to abort their children.

It would be best if people were pro-life in ALL area - so ensuring that the common good is paramount throughout the life-span

 

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