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October 21, 2016

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

Have you ever experienced an election year as we are now enduring? It is especially critical, at
this time when our society is suffering from a crisis of faith, not to lose heart particularly these days
when our nations political process is in such turmoil. We wonder, Where is the Lord in all of this?
Personally, I find it very difficult to trust two candidates who want to lead our nation. I am embarrassed,
disgusted and extremely concerned about their leadership abilities, their vitriolic language, their deathdealing values and their vision for tomorrow. What is one to do?
First, it is imperative that we know and understand what our Church teaches about critical issues
of the day. If you have questions about Church teaching, please contact your pastor. The U.S. Bishops
have provided resources for prayer and education at Secondly, we must educate ourselves on how the candidates (local, state and national) and
their political parties stand on crucial issues by looking at their voting record and considering their words
and actions. Granted, this is most difficult because of the many filters presented by the media.
Thirdly, we must weigh the candidates stance in view of Christs teaching, particularly on life
matters such as abortion and euthanasia. These are not just single issues among many of equal import.
From the outset, if I dont have the natural and divine right to live and breathe, then all other important
issues are irrelevant and moot.
What about the vulnerable such as the poor, those who suffer unjust discrimination, the
immigrant, the migrant, the elderly, the victim of terror and violence? Where do the candidates stand on
such a critical concern as our religious freedom? Whose character, whose values can I trust?
Importantly, this applies to local and state-wide candidates, as well. The answers must inform my
decision as I mark my ballot. Faith must always be the deciding factor when I vote. If it doesnt, I suffer
a real schizophrenic faith. Somehow, weve allowed political party affiliation to rule the day. God can
no longer be on the margins of life. Right and wrong are not negotiable.
Sometimes, it can seem overwhelming. Yet, we persist in prayer and our support for those who
seek to walk in the ways of God. Prayer motivates our behavior, expresses our hope, and nourishes our
faith. Let us ask God today to make us strong in our faith, unwavering in our hope, and persistent in our
prayer. Lastly, by all means, vote!
Faithfully yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Terry R. LaValley

Bishop of Ogdensburg