During a press conference on his return flight from Azerbaijan, Pope Francis gave some solid advice on how to vote in an election where both candidates hold positions contrary to church teaching: “Study the proposals well, pray and choose in conscience.”
The Pope made his remarks in a response from a question from John Sullivan of the New York Times Magazine asking “How would you counsel the faithful in America and what wisdom would you have them keep in mind next month when the election occurs?”
“When it happens that in whatever country there are 2, 3, 4 candidates that no one likes, that means that the political life of the nation perhaps is too politicized.” said the Pope.
Pope Francis was very clear that he was not telling people whom to vote for in any particular campaign saying “In electoral campaigns, I never say a word. The people are sovereign.”
Full Transcript of the questions and reply via CNA:
John Jeremiah Sullivan, New York Times Magazine: Holy Father, as you know the United States is nearing the end of a long presidential campaign that has been very ugly and has received much attention in the world. Many American Catholics and people of conscience are struggling with how to choose between two candidates, one of whom diverts from some aspects of the Church’s teaching and the other of whom has made statements vilifying immigrants and religious minorities. How would you counsel the faithful in America and what wisdom would you have them keep in mind next month when the election occurs?
Pope Francis: You pose me a question where you describe a difficult choice, because, according to you, you have difficulty in one and you have difficulty in the other. In electoral campaigns, I never say a word. The people are sovereign. I’ll just say a word: Study the proposals well, pray and choose in conscience. Then, I’ll leave the issue and I speak of a fiction, because I don’t want to speak to this concrete issue. When it happens that in whatever country there are 2, 3, 4 candidates that no one likes, that means that the political life of the nation perhaps is too politicized but perhaps it doesn’t have that much politics. And,one of the jobs of the church, also in the teaching in the (university) faculties, is teaching to have political culture. There are nations, and I’m thinking of Latin America, which are too politicized. But, they don’t have political culture. They are from this party, or this one or this one. Effectively, (they are) without a clear thought on the foundations, the proposals.