But what do our bishops have with the blank vote? Last week, they presented a text aimed at giving some points of reference to Catholics before the elections. It is not in the role of the bishops, especially several months before the date of the elections, to say for whom to vote, or not to vote. Besides, no one would admit it anymore. But curiously, they repeatedly explained that one could vote blank. No doubt the tense political context and an increasingly divided Catholic community call for caution. The message therefore became: at least go vote, even white. Clearly: we must participate in civic life, as recommended by the Church. But if you can’t find an “ideal candidate”, you can always slip in a blank ballot.
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Funny answer. First, it is totally ineffective. In France, we can regret it but it is thus, the white votes are not counted. Voting white is useless, except to settle a little easily with one’s conscience. And then, to vote is to choose. There we do not choose. We can clearly see the difficulty: the document of the bishops, which establishes a kind of list of points of attention, placed respect for life and the condemnation of euthanasia in first place, whereas we know that figures in the program of several candidates the revision of the legislation on the end of life. Similarly, at the very end of the document, we find the migrants, who must be welcomed. Difficult to find a candidate who commits to both points. Hence the blank vote, presented as a “lesser evil”.
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Exactly, politics is not black and white. These are not major principles to be applied as such, but daily management, in the medium term, for the common good of our society. Wisely, the Constitution dismisses the imperative mandate, which would make it possible to demand from the elected official the fulfillment of all his promises. We know that this must then do with reality. We vote for him because we think he will be able to position himself according to the values that drive him in the face of situations that are by definition diverse and unexpected.
Catholics will never find the perfect candidate. Besides, it does not exist. When slipping his ballot into a ballot box, the important thing is not so much to know whether he fully meets Christian criteria, but how he will do it, what conditions he will take into account, his attention, for example, to more fragile, its ability to take into account other points of view, other forms of power, intermediary bodies. The protection of life, like the reception of foreigners, cannot be applied in an absolute manner, but come up against complex particular cases, which call for nuanced responses.
Above all, to enter into negotiations, you have to participate. Unfortunately, the bishops’ document does not speak of the direct involvement of Catholics in politics. But this, as we know, is rare. Probably because it’s not easy. That you have to accept compromises, negotiations, failures, too. The example of the new President of the European Parliament shows, however, that it is possible to engage in politics with strong Catholic convictions. Roberta Metsola assumes her convictions, and also assumes to take into account the political realities in which she moves, those of the European Parliament. Catholics cannot content themselves with remaining spectators, distributing good and bad points. It is important that they also ask themselves how they can support the responsibility of those who bear the brunt of it, on a daily basis, taking into account reality. Neither white nor black: in a society where they are now a minority, this is the challenge they now face.