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Webinar held to reflect on election

On November 29, 2012

The Rev. Fred Kammer, S.J., executive director of the Jesuit Social Research Institute, explained the importance of understanding the fundamental principles Catholics should be cognizant of when observing politics during a recent webinar entitled Reflection on the Election.
Kammer reiterated those principles focus on the common good, which is the well-being of the city and is the primary responsibility of anyone in leadership. The common good idea encompasses the respect for individuals within the governed population, effective working groups within the body whether in a city, state or country and peace within the common good, which is rooted in security.
"That is the fundamental principle that underlies all that we try to in catholic thinking about public good, public life and politics," Kammer said.
Kammer explained that during the recent election, the media and some church members might have only emphasized a couple of issues that were perceived to be the most significant to the Catholic Church. This opinion could be due to how the media chooses to focus on a couple of issues rather than an array of issues that make up the common good.
Kammer highlighted that the Forming Consciousness for Faithful Citizenship document, underlines an array of issues and the cover letter from the bishops categorize six specific issues that are of moral concern.
Kammer explained that these issues are not resolved by the election, but still lie ahead. In order for these issues to be resolved, communities must get involved and take action. There must be actions by the government such as laws passed by congress and new regulations or actions passed by the state.
One example is the Affordable Care act, which is now solid and efforts to implement the act are moving forward. In addition, there is now more energy surrounding the promotion of comprehensive immigration reform that catholic advocates have been pushing for. Also, Kammer noted that issues dealing with abortion would now be settled in the supreme courts.
Kammer reiterated that it is important to participate in politics after voting to promote the common good. Kammer repeated that Catholics have the responsibility to promote the stability of the common good and should continue to support causes that are important to them.
Kammer said that students should be faithful citizens too. "Students can take on many responsibilities between elections to promote voting," Kammer said.
Kammer suggested joining in the political debates by participating in political student organizations. In addition, students should assist communities in voter registration to help people get registered to vote, which is an important responsibility. Also, students could help make the process smoother for the elderly. Students could assist the elderly in the voting process by helping them gain access and get identification. Students could also get involved and work on local issues and take on more public responsibility in promoting the common good.
Nhi Tieu can be reached at

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