‘Catholics have an obligation to be interested in politics’

As Canadians go to the polls today to elect a government, Catholics are being wooed by candidates and parties in much the same way U.S. Catholic voters are sought.

The Catholic Register, Canada’s oldest Catholic weekly, has been in the thick of things. A detailed article, “The spirituality of politics”, tackles what some of the nation’s Catholic groups are emphasizing as important in voting. Associate editor Michael Swan talked about politics with people from a range of Catholic organizations — from the Campaign Life Coalition, which focuses on abortion, same-sex marriage and euthanasia, to the Catholic Worker Movement, which focuses on peace and life issues such as opposing the death penalty and supporting people with mental handicaps.

He also traces the history of the church’s involvement in Canadian politics, dating back to the 1890s, when Bishop John Cameron of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, regularly dined with Canada’s first Catholic prime minister, Sir John Thompson. That was 70 years before the United States elected its first Catholic president, John Kennedy.

The page also includes a summary of the points in the Canadian bishops’ federal election guide, which starts with this premise: “Catholics have an obligation to be interested in politics.”

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