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A letter from America

Catholic Union Deputy Director, James Somerville-Meikle, writes:

I’ve had the great joy of being in the United States this week, meeting Catholic groups and individuals involved in advocacy and public affairs.

Sat outside Union Station in Washington DC, the spring cherry blossom is in the full bloom along Delaware Avenue up to the Capitol Building. But minds here are already focused on autumn and the upcoming Presidential election.

President Biden fired the starting gun on the race for the Whitehouse last week with his State of Union address. In the UK, the timing for our General Election remains uncertain.

What has been striking from my visit is the similarities between the shifting political sands here and back home. Increasingly Catholics find themselves politically homeless, with notions of the common good being drowned out in a public discourse dominated by loud voices on the extremes.

Catholics have rarely had a perfect choice when it comes to voting, but the options facing voters in the US this November are likely to be particularly unappealing.

Yet millions of American Catholics will vote, just as they will in the UK, motivated by that deep rooted duty to participate in public life. Politics, unlike the blossom, isn’t always pretty.