Bishops Statement on Upcoming Election

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Bishops Statement on Upcoming Election

October 8, 2010

A statement from the Catholic Bishops of New York State on the need for Catholics to inform their conscience on the issues and vote in the upcoming election November 2.

Our Cherished Right, Our Solemn Duty
By the Catholic Bishops of New York State

We Catholics are called to look at politics as we are called to look at everything – through the lens of our faith. While we are free to join any political party that we choose or none at all, we must be cautious when we vote not to be guided solely by party loyalty or by self interest. Rather, we should be guided in evaluating the important issues facing our state and nation by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the teachings of His Church.
Our national and state elected officials have profound influence on countless matters of great importance, such as the right to life, issues of war and peace, the education of children and how we treat the poor and vulnerable. We must look at all of these issues as we form our consciences in preparation for Election Day.

Unfortunately, it is the rare candidate who will agree with the Church on every issue. But as the U.S. Bishops’ most recent document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship (www.faithfulcitizenship.org) makes clear, not every issue is of equal moral gravity. The inalienable right to life of every innocent human person outweighs other concerns where Catholics may use prudential judgment, such as how best to meet the needs of the poor or to increase access to health care for all.

The right to life is the right through which all others flow. To the extent candidates reject this fundamental right by supporting an objective evil, such as legal abortion, euthanasia or embryonic stem cell research, Catholics should consider them less acceptable for public office. As Faithful Citizenship teaches, “Those who knowingly, willingly, and directly support public policies or legislation that undermine fundamental moral principles cooperate with evil.”

These are complex times, so our task is not light. It is often difficult to get a good grasp on the positions of incumbent congressional representatives and state legislators, not to mention their challengers. News accounts of positions are hard to come by, and voting records on important issues are often lacking. So the task of doing due diligence can be truly challenging. Yet our state is facing many critical issues which are of vit