Pastors, Parishes, & Political Responsibility

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Pastors, Parishes, & Political Responsibility

June 22, 2020

Guidelines for permissible political activities by Catholic organizations

(Reviewed 6/2020)

In the United States of America, all adult citizens are blessed to have the opportunity to vote for our political leaders. This is not a responsibility to be taken lightly, and the Bishops of New York State renew their call to Catholic citizens to inform their consciences on the critical issues of the day, to learn the positions of candidates for office, and to exercise their right to vote. These issues include, but are not limited to, respect for the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception until natural death, issues of war and peace, religious liberty, the education and formation of children, the needs of the poor, oppressed and vulnerable, and access to health care for all people, particularly the elderly and infirm.

In the document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, the bishops of the United States remind us of the role of the Church in the public square. “The United States Constitution protects the right of individual believers and religious bodies to participate and speak out without government interference, favoritism, or discrimination. …Our nation’s tradition of pluralism is enhanced, not threatened, when religious groups and people of faith bring their convictions into public life. Indeed, our Church’s teaching is in accord with the foundational values that have shaped our nation’s history: ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ ”

But the document goes further than asserting the rights of Catholics to participate in the political process. It notes that such participation is obligatory. “In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citi