“In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation.” (Faithful Citizenship, USCCB).
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The Catholic Vote
The Bishops of the United States, and indeed our own bishops in the Commonwealth of Virginia, reaffirm the civic duty of every Roman Catholic to make their vote according to the needs and goods of all people. In the most simple of terms, Catholics are obligated to advance representatives who will bring about the “most good for the most people” while following the dictates and teachings of the Church’s morality and conviction. Catholics must form their conscience not according to their own preference, but according to the teaching of the Church. As the Bishops tell us, “Conscience is not something that allows us to justify doing whatever we want, nor is it a mere ‘feeling’ about what we should or should not do.” (Faithful Citizenship).
The Bishops of the Commonwealth have asked us to remember three guiding principles in this election:
- Many issues are important – As Catholics we must seek the best ways to respond to the many needs of our neighbors, at every stage of life and in every condition. Indeed, we must be attentive to all issues that affect human life and dignity and the common good.
- Not all issues have equal moral weight – Some practices are intrinsically evil and must maintain a greater moral weight than others. Examples include abortion (which occurs more than a million times each year in the US), euthanasia, human cloning, destructive research on human embryos, genocide, torture, racism, and the targeting of noncombatants in acts of terror or war.
- When the issue is whether to protect or deny the fundamental right to life, it outweighs other matters. The right to life is indeed our first right, and protecting life to the maximum degree possible must be our highest priority.
Following the Signs of the Times
Catholics must acknowledge that the Catholic Vote in this election is even more critical than ever. There are two fundamental issues at play for Roman Catholics in this election.
Abortion Policy Under President Barack Obama. President Obama has made one of the most pronounced efforts of his administration the advancement of abortion, abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization of women, and tax-payer funded abortion. His campaign has championed these issues as “women’s health” and he and his campaign have misled the American public on these issues. President Obama has been noted as the most pro-abortion president to date, and has worked consistently to support abortion and abortion providers.
Freedom of Catholics to Act on Faith without Violating Conscience. Under President Obama, for the first time in history, the Catholic Church is being mandated to pay for services that are contrary to the morality of our faith. Most specifically, President Obama’s HHS Mandate would require Catholic institutions including hospitals, universities, schools, social services, and affiliated ministries to pay for contraception, abortion-inducing drugs, and the sterilization of women. This mandate offers no exemption for the Church, and every insurance plan must provide it for no co-pay. The Catholic Church has never supported these services in our own health plans and cannot comply with paying for them now. President Obama has indicated that “negotiation is over” regarding this issue and has made it a central part of his re-election campaign.
Catholics would do well to note that this mandate has, for the first time in American history, caused the response of every single Bishop in the United States. They have acted individually and uniformly in speaking out against this policy. Currently, over 53 lawsuits from Catholic and other Christian institutions stand against the Department of Health and Human Services. More information about the HHS mandate and the infringement of our First Amendment Rights can be found in the following links: HHS Mandate Fact Sheet, Religious Liberty Under Threat, and more information can be found on the USCCB website.
Homilies and Articles Related to the HHS Mandate and Religious Liberty
“Life and Love Go Together”– Homily on Contraception and the Marital Embrace.
“Unalienable Rights” – Homily on the Persecution of the Church by our Government.
From Bishops DiLorenzo and Loverde
“Life, Liberty, and Faithful Citizenship” – A statement on the formation of the Catholic Conscience regarding elections