Saturday, April 30, 2016

May 2016 Bulletin: The Catholic Voter

Lead article from the May bulletin, online now.

In some political races, each candidate takes a wrong position on one or more issues involving non-negotiable moral principles.  In such a case you may vote for the candidate who takes the fewest such positions or who seems least likely to be able to advance immoral legislation, or you may choose to vote for no one.

A vote cast in such a situation is not morally the same as a positive endorsement for candidates, laws, or programs that promote intrinsic evils: It is only tolerating a lesser evil to avoid an even greater evil.  As Pope John Paul II indicated regarding a situation where it is not possible to overturn or completely defeat a law allowing abortion, "an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality"(EV 73; also CPL 4).\

Catholics must strive to put in place candidates, laws, and political programs that are in full accord with non-negotiable moral values.  Where a perfect candidate, law, or program is not on the table, we are to choose the best option, the one that promotes the greatest good and entails the least evil.  Not voting may sometimes be the only moral course of action, but we must consider whether not voting actually promotes good and limits evil in a specific instance.  The role of citizens and elected officials is to promote intrinsic moral values as much as possible today while continuing to work toward better candidates, laws, and programs in the future.

With the presidential elections front and center in the news and so many people talking about the candidates I find myself questioning what my duties as a Catholic voter are. I have heard so many people say, "I will not vote for X” or “If X gets the nomination I'm not voting."

Those statements really bother me because I feel that even if we don't agree with a particular candidate we still have a responsibility to vote. I don't particularly care for the front runners in the race but I still feel obligated to support the party that best upholds my Catholic values. I do not know about you but regardless of what any politician says I can not say I trust them to do anything other than protect their own best interests. Those best interests reside in supporting their political party because without the support of the party the politicians career will be short lived. Politicians do not get to where they are by not knowing how to play the game. Those are my opinions so I decided to see what the church says about voting.

I found a copy of the Voters Guide for Serious Catholics published by Catholic Answers in my KC briefcase and I highly recommend all of you to read it.  Above is an excerpt from the guide that talks about what to do when there is no acceptable candidate.  Obviously we have the right to not vote but we also have the responsibility to promote good and limit evil. In the case of this election I strongly believe that we as Catholics have to vote because not voting will result in votes for the party that will cause greater harm to our beliefs than the candidate we refuse to vote for.  We are obligated to uphold the 5 non-negotiable issues (Abortion, Euthanasia, Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Human Cloning, and Homosexual Marriage).  The only way to uphold those values is to look past the candidate and vote for the party that has done the most to uphold those non-negotiable issues.

This November 8th make sure you get to the polls and vote.  Don't let your personal opinions stop you because we are morally obligated to limit evil by making informed voting decisions.

God Bless,


Joe VanHoorik
Grand Knight

Thursday, April 7, 2016

April 2016 Bulletin: Death and Prayer

Lead article from the April bulletin, online now.

Brother Knights, March has been a month of mourning. This month we lost two great men: Willis Heins and Gordy Bongaarts. Between the services for both men I spent many hours at the funeral home and church. This was good time to reflect on the lives of these men and the importance of life and prayer.

I never had the opportunity of meeting Willis but I heard from several members that he was a great man and very active member. He served as Grand Knight from 1967 to 1969 and was one of the men that helped build this Council in the early years of its existence. Without men like him we wouldn't have this wonderful Council that we have today.

Gordy needs no introduction. If you have been a member for more than a couple years then you know him; chances are he probably recruited you. My Gordy story happened a few years ago when he drove Jim Weigers and myself to St. Cloud to receive our 4th Degree. The story involves arriving several hours early, failing to make plans for lunch, and a white-knuckle, death-defying ride home in the pouring rain. It's everything you would expect in an outing with Gordy. Gordy absolutely loved the KCs and the church and he wanted everyone to experience their many blessings in the way he had.

Both men were 4th Degree KCs, and I had the honor of serving in the guard at both of their wakes and funerals. When most think of the 4th Degree, they think of the masses we serve at, but the true beauty and joy of the 4th Degree comes in the way we honor our fallen brothers. During the wake we sit in a back room, shoulder to shoulder, for the entire length of the showing waiting for our five-minute turn to go out and guard the casket. Once our guard is over we return to the room and wait again. This process repeats for the entire length of the wake, which can be several hours. Nobody complains about the cramped quarters or long intervals of sitting and waiting. The man we are there to honor was once sitting in that room just like we are doing for him. The whole process leads up to the final salute and presentation of chalice and certificates to the family. After the 4th Degree is dismissed, the 3rd Degree comes in to say a rosary. In Gordy's case there must have been 40-50 KCs forming a circle around the visitation room praying a rosary for the soul of our fallen brother. Personally, I cannot think of a better way to honor a Catholic man than to have his fellow brothers surround him in prayer.

Tell your families that you want the KCs involved in your final preparations. Someone will reach out to your family but they need to know that this is important to you so it can be done properly. If you are a 3rd Degree member, that will include a rosary in your honor. If you are a 4th Degree that can be a full guard posting along with the rosary. The single most important thing you can do for the deceased is to pray for their soul. We are born and die as sinners and we need all the prayers we can get to make it to our final destination.

This month when you are kneeling in front of the blessed sacrament before mass I want you to say extra prayers for the deceased. Pray for grandparents, parents, siblings, friends, brother Knights, or anyone else you knew that has passed on. Pray for their souls, the forgiveness of their sins, and that the Lord welcome them into his heavenly kingdom.

God Bless,


Joe VanHoorik
Grand Knight