Faithful citizens

By Eric Villalpando | St. Patrick High School
Sunday, May 20, 2012

As children growing up in Catholic schools, we all learn the difference between right and wrong. We all gain a basic sense of morality; we learn that it is important to be good neighbors and to avoid doing bad things. However, being a faithful citizen takes so much more than the mere avoidance of doing bad things. Being a faithful citizen means taking responsibility for oneself and the surrounding world, and one way to go about this is educating ourselves in order to participate in the electoral process.

Politics is not everyone's cup of tea. However, whether we like it or not, it truly matters who is elected to office, especially when it comes to the presidential office. People may succeed in removing politics from their lives and sealing themselves in a bubble, but no matter how far away politics may seem, it affects everybody. In fact, the decision we make of our nation's leader affects not only our nation, but also the globe. It is our duty – as Catholics striving to become faithful citizens – to become informed as to the current state of our nation and the rest of the world. It is a responsibility of all faithful citizens.

My Catholic education has greatly helped me on journey toward becoming a faithful citizen. During my junior year in high school, I was enrolled in a morality class, which was taught by one of the Christian Brothers at my school. In this class, we discussed hot-button issues, such as abortion and gay marriage. These issues are incredibly difficult to debate. However, it is important to discuss these in a respectful manner in order to form each individual's educated opinion on them. That way, when legislation comes along that deals with these matters, informed citizens are able to effectively voice their opinion. As you can see, being a faithful citizen requires taking action as well as responsibility.

Another way my Catholic education has helped me become a faithful citizen is through one of the extracurricular activities available at my high school: the "Shamrocks for Life" club. It is a new club that was started during my senior year, and it deals with the issue of abortion. As Catholics, we believe that abortion is wrong in all cases, even rape. We believe that all life is sacred, even at a microscopic level. Therefore, no matter how early abortion might occur, we maintain that it is against our beliefs and morally wrong. As Catholic citizens, whether young or old, abortion should be an issue that we are all informed about. Our club was fortunate enough to be able to take part in the Right to Life march in our nation's capital that took place in January. By becoming informed, we were able to share our beliefs and fight for what we think is right, which is crucial in order to become a faithful citizen.

All in all, faithful citizenship is accomplished primarily by action, rather than inaction. We should all acknowledge the responsibilities that we have as citizens of our country. Everybody has an issue that they are passionate about, whether it deals with economic policies or the environment. An essential part of being a faithful citizen is taking part in the electoral process. If we simply stand idle while the government tramples on our beliefs, we are letting down not only ourselves but also our nation. As faithful citizens, we must let our voices be heard.