Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Vote for the Poor Souls

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Vote for the Poor Souls

Article excerpt

Quite by accident I ran into my old friend Phil Phewgoer a few days ago at the airport. He now walks with a slight limp, the poor soul. When I inquired about this malady Phil told me that ever since the directive to kneel during certain parts of the Mass came into effect, one of his knees began to bother him "just a little bit."

Despite his pain, Phil, like lots of loyal churchgoing Catholics would, sheepishly fell into line on the kneeling rule. I told him he was under no obligation to kneel if his body found it physically bothersome.

"If it makes them happy, it's no big deal to me," he said.

I wasn't sure who Phil was referring to by "them" in his response. The blessed Trinity, the hierarchy who promulgated the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), or the local parish pastor? We moved on to other topics: family, friends, and, of course, the upcoming presidential election.

"I love this election. Never felt more important. Like you, I'm part of the 'Catholic vote.' Everybody's working hard to get our vote--George Bush, John Kerry, Ralph Nader. Well, maybe not Ralph Nader. Even my bishop is working hard for my vote!"

Phil was right. This upcoming seesaw presidential election makes each and every vote incredibly valuable. Back in the days when votes could easily be bought, all precinct captains needed was a pile of five-dollar bills on election day to deliver the vote.

Things are much more complicated today. Survey and focus group results increasingly contribute to candidates' positions and postures. …

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