Catholic speaker stresses voting for the ‘common good’

April Samuelson

Father Charles Currie of Georgetown University spoke last night in the Kiva on “Voting for the Common Good.” The event was sponsered by the Catholic Student Association. ELIZABETH MYERS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: John Proppe

The common good can best be compared to a banquet table surrounded by different types of people, the Rev. Charles Currie said last night.

“There are the rich, the poor, the powerful and the powerless,” Currie said. “Women and men of all shapes and color. As people of faith, we look to overcome the lack of faith around us. We are individuals, but we are individuals sitting together.”

Currie, president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, spoke about working and voting for the common good last night in the Kiva to an audience of mostly community members. The speech, which drew about 150 people, was sponsored by the Catholic Student Association.

Currie talked about how the activism of the ’60s and ’70s is reflected in modern Catholic teaching.

“There is a use for great youthful idealism, but it needs to be put into a constructive, not destructive way,” Currie said. “(His generation) learned ideals had to be combined with serious analysis and a commitment to work to survive for the long haul.”

This idealism is part of the search for the common good, which Currie said is the centerpiece for the modern Catholic experience. He said college students serve this common good with immersion experiences in poverty-stricken areas.

“Personal involvement with the innocent suffering is key,” Currie said. “Immersion is significant to developing.”

Currie said this is not just a Catholic value, but an American value, and something Catholics should consider when voting.

“Every human life is sacred and created in the image of God,” Currie said. “Inform your culture and apply prudence by voting for the common good and recognizing that our lives are interdepedent.”

He said this need for change can be found in the recent behavior of Congress.

“It is reverse Robin Hood fashion,” Curie said. “We are robbing the poor to give to the rich. We saw this lesson when Congress recently tried to link a rise in the minimum wage with a tax cut for the rich.”

Currie also told the audience to consider issues of fair trade and immigration when voting. He compared modern refugees separated from their families to Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

“Recall that Jesus, Mary and Joseph were refugees in Egypt,” he said. “Our community’s response should be to protect the most vulnerable.”

Anne Lucas, freshman integrated science education major, said she has been to a lot of social issues speakers and Currie was one of the better ones she’s seen.

“I liked how he emphasized social involvement and immersing yourself into situations of poverty,” Lucas said.

Ravenna resident and real estate agent Rillis Moneypenny said Currie’s topics also apply to adult life.

“He said a lot of good things,” Moneypenny said. “When you get older you will find them to be true and look for that common good besides making money.”

Currie closed his speech asking college students to move for the sake of others.

“We have not left you ‘millenials’ with an easy task,” Currie said. “You have a lot to turn around. You can start by voting and choosing careers for the common good.”

Contact religion reporter April Samuelson at [email protected].