Amendments in Fla.
Forming-Consciences-Faithful-Citizenship-bulletin-insert.pdf usccb (Catholic Bishops)
VOTE NOV 6
See also: Politics
Citizens of a democracy have both the right and the duty to vote. This includes the duty to study the issues and discern with an informed conscience.
Catechism on participation
1913 "Participation" is the voluntary and generous engagement of a person in social interchange. 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.
1914 Participation is achieved first of all by taking charge of the areas for which one assumes personal responsibility: by the care taken for the education of his family, by conscientious work, and so forth, man participates in the good of others and of society.31
1915 As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life. The manner of this participation may vary from one country or culture to another. "One must pay tribute to those nations whose systems permit the largest possible number of the citizens to take part in public life in a climate of genuine freedom."32
The Church does not say for whom to vote but must teach the principles necessary for making decisions. These are principles of the natural law, they are universal and without them society cannot be just. See: "What Does the Church Teach on Elections?"
The natural law, present in the heart of each man and established by reason, is universal in its precepts and its authority extends to all men. It expresses the dignity of the person and determines the basis for his fundamental rights and duties" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1956)
To the Church belongs the right always and everywhere to announce moral principles, including those pertaining to the social order, and to make judgments on any human affairs to the extent that they are required by the fundamental rights of the human person or the salvation of souls" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2032).
An informed conscience
The most fundamental right which must be defended is the right to life. Abortion and Euthanasia are intrinsic evils. Life is an unalienable, God given right and a requisite to all other rights.
There are many other important issues in which there is also Catholic teaching: concern for the poor, the economy and health services. All Catholics must agree that these are important but may have different views on how to better attain these goods. These goods depend on the first right which is the right to life
We must beware of generalizations such as: "Im for America", "Im for the poor", "Im for the working class". These mean little if they are not backed up by specifics. Tyranny is always cloaked in ideology. We need to take notice of the record and the specific plans of the candidates.
People of good faith can legitimately disagree over the role of government in providing aid to the poor. Jesus tells us very clearly that if we don’t help the poor, we’re going to go to hell, But Jesus didn’t say the government has to take care of them, or that we have to pay taxes to take care of them. Those are prudential judgments. You can’t say that somebody’s not Christian because they want to limit taxation. To say that it’s somehow intrinsically evil like abortion doesn’t make any sense at all.
Beware! The November elections are extremely important for the future of America. We cannot assume that people understand that we are loosing our basic rights and our freedom. The media has drugged us so badly that many do not see. The media distorts and covers up much of the truth. I exhort you to:
1-Register yourself and your family to vote
As Catholics we do not wed ourselves to any party or politician. We vote based on values, first of all the protection of innocent human life.
"…the technical formation of politicians is not part of the Church's mission; various other institutions exist for this purpose. Rather, the Church's mission is to "pass moral judgments even in matters relating to politics, whenever the fundamental rights of man or the salvation of souls requires it.... [T]he only means it may use are those which are in accord with the Gospel and the welfare of all men according to the diversity of times and circumstances" (Gaudium et spes, n. 76).
Benedict XVI Full text
Benedict XVI to bishops of USA - paragraphs 6 & 7 January 2012
"Here once more we see the need for anengaged, articulate and well-formed CATHOLIC LAITY endowed with a strong critical sense vis-à-vis the dominant culture and with the courage to counter a reductive secularism which would delegitimize the Church’s participation in public debate about the issues which are determining the FUTURE OF AMERICAN SOCIETY."
Relativism in politics
President Kennedy, running for President as a Catholic, thought to protect himself from anti-Catholic prejudice by declaring that his faith would have no influence in his decisions as President. He popularized the concept of an absolute separation of church and state. According to him, religion is purely a personal and private affair which should not in any way guide decisions in politics >>>, His view has since been embraced by most people in America, including most Catholics. Thus we have Catholic politicians that consistently vote for abortion. Kennedy's concept has led to the secularization of America and the erosion of religious freedom.
We must avoid Kennedy's error and recognize that the Church not only teaches about supernatural truths but is also a public institution with authority to speak about the truth of man and his moral responsibilities in the world. Catholics do not seek to impose their faith but do have an inescapable duty to defend in the public forum the value and dignity of the human person and the natural law.
Jeff Mirus writes on the salutary effects of understanding this: