by Archbishop Anthony Fisher, Catholic Archbishop of Sydney
The responsibility to vote is an opportunity to promote the common good of all.
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’”—Matthew 25:37-40
“As you did it to the least of these” says Our Lord, “you did it to me.” These powerful words remind us of our role as beacons of Christ’s light, for if it is Christ we see in the faces of those around us it is equally Christ who works through us.
In a spirit of truth we must always strive to allow the truth to come to light and contribute appropriately to this. So if someone wants to stifle honest debate on any issue, we must be resounding voices for candour. If parties propose to reduce investment in education or research or other ways to identify and transmit the truth, we must ask why. If civic leaders are getting things right (or at least trying) they deserve due praise; where they are failing there should be fair critique, but always in an atmosphere of charity.
In a spirit of justice we must respect the rights of all, seek to ensure that each is given their due, and promote harmony in relationships. Laws and policies must respect the dignity of the individual and promote the common good of all. Remember that each individual is the King, Jesus Christ. A useful litmus test of the fairness of particular institutional arrangements or policies is: who are the ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ (e.g. in our taxation and superannuation policies)? Are good results being achieved for all (or most) without trampling upon the rights of others? Christ challenges us: what did you do for the least—the hungry, thirsty, lonely and trapped?
In a spirit of solidarity we must consider each person our friend—as they are friends of Christ—and so seek to ensure that they have opportunities to flourish and that any obstacles to that are removed. We must look to help those in need, especially those who cannot help themselves. Solidarity means we cannot rightly focus only on our own hip pockets: we must also care about how laws and policies regarding industrial relations, housing, aged care, foreign aid, indigenous peoples, mental health, the environment, immigration, etc. impact upon others.
In a spirit of freedom we must be vigilant to protect our own proper liberties and those of others. Where some people’s freedom is endangered (e.g. the right of unborn Australians to live; the right of religious believers to hold, share or practice their conscientious beliefs) we must do what we can to rectify that situation. Freedom, as Christians understand it, is more than freedom to get my own way in everything: it is the opportunity to do what is right and so must be exercised responsibly.
With the federal election just around the corner, we all have to decide who to vote for. This is not always an easy decision, but it is a very important responsibility, for Christians as for others. We all must decide who deserves our vote.
Jesus Christ, King of all Creation, crowned in thorns, we open ourselves to you; help us to shine your light on others, and guide us with Holy Wisdom as we discern our path ahead as individuals and as a nation. Amen.
Election Prayer Points
- Pray that God would rule over this election – that righteous leaders would be elected to govern this nation in truth and justice because, “When the righteous are in authority the people rejoice”. Proverbs 29:2
- Pray God’s blessing upon all our current parliamentarians and leaders, including their families and all the candidates of all the parties standing for this federal election. 1 Timothy 2:1-3
- Pray for a multiplication of prayer and unity across the Body of Christ in Australia that people will wake up to the dangers facing our nation and respond in prayer. Ephesians 5:14
- Pray for a Spiritual Awakening for Australia, Revival and Transformation for our nation and the proclamation of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. John 3:16
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