Voting In 2008: New Guidance From Catholic Bishops
The U.S. Catholic bishops have written “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” which consists of summaries of Catholic teaching on seven key issues of concern to the Catholic Church and an enumeration of 10 goals for political life which could be the starting point for personal or group reflection. The seven key issues discussed are: protecting human life, fostering conditions that allow humans to flourish, such as ensuring freedom, peace, a just and impartial legal system, and opportunities for education and work, providing care for the most vulnerable members of society, and being wise stewards of the earth’s resources.
Their aim has been to enable Catholics to better “evaluate policy positions, party platforms, and candidates’ promises and actions in light of the Gospel and the moral and social teaching of the Church in order to help build a better world.”
“Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: a Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States,” U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Nov. 14, 2007 (No. 5), is available at USCCB.org. A very brief summary of the statement will be printed for parish distribution.
Susan Wills, Associate Director for Education for the U.S. Bishops’ Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities comments: “One hopes that lay Catholics, who typically make up 25% of the national electorate, will give as much careful attention to reading this statement as the bishops gave in writing it. Imagine what could happen if at least one-fourth of voters cast their ballots on the basis of moral principles. It’s so crazy, it just might work! “