The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Professor looks at faith and politics

Emily Dabish | Wednesday, September 17, 2008

As a part of Saint Mary’s Rock the Vote festival and Super Tuesday series, Vincent D. Rogeau, a professor in the Notre Dame Law School, discussed the balance between political responsibility and being a Catholic.

The Catholic faith calls followers to express the values of the faith through participation, Rogeau said.

“[Voting] is the primary way for expressing our values,” he said, even though some of the values of the faith may be compromised while voting.

While the Catholic faith gives guidance to voters through the values of the faith, it does not remark on what party to vote for because “it is not the position of the Church to say how people should organize their political lives.”

Certain principles should be acknowledged when making a political decision, primarily the right to life, he said.

Right to life does not solely deal with abortion but includes unjust war and the death penalty, he said.

Other principles Catholic voters should be concerned about include the dignity of the human person, social, economic and political rights and responsibilities, the dignity of work, and stewardship for God’s creation.

Rogeau said the United States does not fully embrace these principles.

“[Voters need to think about how a candidate’s] policies affect the weakest among us [and] how these positions affect people who face discrimination,” he said.

He said every person is created equal and therefore it must be recognized that it is impossible to come to agreement on every issue.

Since every Catholic value may not be found in one candidate, Catholic voters should look for the candidate that respects others, he said.

“It is important to have a well developed and informed conscience,” he said, cautioning people not to be a one-issue voter. “Rely on your heart and God.”