Monday, October 18, 2010

Faithful Citizenship for Catholics

It is time once again to get out and vote. Thank God we have the right to vote. We should use this privilege wisely and well.

The Bishops of the Catholic Church in the USA have a spectacular website that can aid us in evaluating and discerning our political options. This year, as more mud than light is thrown about political choices, this website stands as a beacon in the clouds. Read excerpts below or click here ( and get the whole deal. Peace, Fr. Rick


From Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility
from the Catholic Bishops of the United States.

13. In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation
in political life is a moral obligation. This obligation is rooted in our baptismal
commitment to follow Jesus Christ and to bear Christian witness in all we do. As
the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, “It is necessary that all participate,
each according to his position and role, in promoting the common good. This
obligation is inherent in the dignity of the human person. . . . As far as possible
citizens should take an active part in public life” (nos. 1913-1915).

14. Unfortunately, politics in our country often can be a contest of powerful
interests, partisan attacks, sound bites, and media hype. The Church calls for a
different kind of political engagement: one shaped by the moral convictions of
well-formed consciences and focused on the dignity of every human being, the
pursuit of the common good, and the protection of the weak and the vulnerable.
The Catholic call to faithful citizenship affirms the importance of political
participation and insists that public service is a worthy vocation. As Catholics,
we should be guided more by our moral convictions than by our attachment to a
political party or interest group. When necessary, our participation should help
transform the party to which we belong; we should not let the party transform us
in such a way that we neglect or deny fundamental moral truths. We are called to
bring together our principles and our political choices, our values and our votes, to
help build a better world.


27. Two temptations in public life can distort the Church’s defense of human life
and dignity:

28. The first is a moral equivalence that makes no ethical distinctions between
different kinds of issues involving human life and dignity. The direct and
intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception
until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must
always be opposed.

29. The second is the misuse of these necessary moral distinctions as a way of
dismissing or ignoring other serious threats to human life and dignity. Racism and
other unjust discrimination, the use of the death penalty, resorting to unjust war,
the use of torture, war crimes, the failure to respond to those who are suffering
from hunger or a lack of health care, or an unjust immigration policy are all serious
moral issues that challenge our consciences and require us to act. These are not
optional concerns which can be dismissed. Catholics are urged to seriously consider
Church teaching on these issues. Although choices about how best to respond
to these and other compelling threats to human life and dignity are matters for
principled debate and decision, this does not make them optional concerns or
permit Catholics to dismiss or ignore Church teaching on these important issues.
Clearly not every Catholic can be actively involved on each of these concerns,
but we need to support one another as our community of faith defends human life
and dignity wherever it is threatened. We are not factions, but one family of faith
fulfilling the mission of Jesus Christ.

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