Why having two horrible presidential candidates presents a golden opportunity for Catholics

After the first presidential debate, it was clear we have two of the worst candidates for president imaginable. We would be hard pressed to find individuals more unpopular than Clinton and Trump, and as the election quickly approaches, we are left wondering: what happened? Yet, this election could be a great opportunity for Catholics. In fact, this could be our moment.
Wait. What?
Catholics have debated who is the lesser of two evils. We can’t vote for Clinton. We can’t vote for Trump. But perhaps, could we vote against one of them? That’s been the incessant debate for the last few months. However, a third option exists, and I am not talking about Gary Johnson.
It doesn’t have to be Trump or Clinton. It could be neither Trump nor Clinton. The third option could be a complete rejection of the political order and a full embrace of the teachings of Jesus.
We have fallen into the same trap as the Zealots during the time of Jesus, waiting for a political leader to save them. Instead, God sent Jesus who began his life in a humble stable and ended it on cross. He largely ignored the political elite, and was never one of them.
The moment is right for Catholics to offer the message of Jesus as an alternative to the illogical ramblings of current political leaders. People are dissatisfied. They are angry. But, they are also looking for alternatives. No one is under the allusion that any candidate will solve their problems. There is no lofty optimism that was associated with Obama is his early years, or present in the campaigns of Ron Paul or Bernie Sanders.
Catholics have The Answer. We have the Jesus card, and it’s time to play it.
Every bishop, priest, and deacon should preach on this message from now until Election Day:
I understand your dissatisfaction with the current political climate and the lack of a true Catholic candidate. The main political parties do not have policies that will solve our country’s current difficulties, for they are part of the problem. Trump’s wall will not solve our problems. Clinton’s pandering will not solve our problems. A lesser of two evils will not solve our problems.
Nov. 8 will be a depressing day, and many people will be greatly distraught by the results. Yet, there is no reason to despair or rush to buy land in Canada. Catholics will face uncertainties in an increasingly hostile political arena, but the political world is becoming increasing unpopular.
Public disapproval has grown because the political world has abandoned truth, civility, common sense, decency, humility and so many other attributes of a good political order. We renounce it.
While we watch the political world crumble from within, I offer you another place and another person: our Church and the person of Jesus Christ. You will not find the money or power of politics, but you will find love, joy, peace, kindness and goodness.
In the coming weeks, we need to pray for our country, but not that the right person is elected. We need to pray that in midst of this political mess, we collectively repent of our mistakes and turn back to Jesus.
You can find profound personal peace amid the chaos by trusting in Jesus and not political leaders. Too many people have an overwhelming feeling of angst due the election, but we can let it go. All we to do is shift our desire for the impossible, a perfect politician who will create a perfect world, to the possible, an eternity of happiness with God.
Lastly in your daily conversations, you hear the crumbling about the election. Share with your friends and family the alternative. Welcome them to step away from the false promises of the political world, and to accept the teachings and promises of Jesus.
If these themes become the dominate discourse in sermons and the Catholic media, then this election might provide an unparalleled opportunity of growth for Catholicism, turning a disaster into a blessing and a moment of despair to a moment of hope.

Also see:

When the choice is Clinton or Trump, what’s a Catholic to do?

Archbishop Lori: Faithful Citizenship

 

 

 

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Hanael Bianchi

Hanael Bianchi

Hanael Bianchi is a history professor at a community college in Maryland. He earned his doctorate in modern British history from the Catholic University of America and his master’s degree in modern German history from the University of Connecticut. He is a proud father and husband and author of the Catholic Review's "Fertile Soil" blog.