A Call to Political Responsibility
The process leading up to presidential elections hits the ground running every four years with primaries and caucuses. While Iowa and New Hampshire got a lot of attention for being the first, Minnesota was not far behind on February 7, 2012. Our Catholic faith offers us valuable principals and encourages active participation in the political life of our nation, state and communities. On January 24, 2012, All Saints’ Justice and Service Commission sponsored a special event that will provide insight and reflection on these matters. Bernard F. Evans, Ph.D from the faculty of St. John’s School of Theology was our guest speaker. Professor Evans is a professor and writer on the social teachings of the Catholic Church. His presentation was enlightening and engaging as well as timely.
If you missed this event or would like to explore this subject further, the following resources can help.
- Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship 2011 (U.S. Bishop’s document on political responsibility)
- Challenge . . . Faithful Citizenship (an abbreviated pamphlet version of the document)
Professor Evans has authored two books. Both are available for lone (or sale if you prefer) from the parish (contact Deacon Jim Marschall)
• Vote Catholic? Beyond the Political Din (98 pp / $10). In this book, Professor Evans addresses the same subject that was presented on January 24.
• Lazarus at the Table (125 pp / $15). This is a very well written primer on Catholic Social Teaching.
Excerpts from: Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.
“The Catholic community is large and diverse. We are Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. We are members of every race, come from every ethnic background, and live in urban, rural, and suburban communities in all fifty states. We are CEO’s and migrant farm workers, senators and persons on public assistance, business owners and union members. But all Catholics are called to a common commitment to protect human life and stand with those who are poor and vulnerable. We are all called to provide a moral leaven for our democracy, to be the salt of the earth.” "We bishops seek to help Catholics form their consciences in accordance with the truth, so they can make sound moral choices in addressing these challenges. We do not tell Catholics how to vote. The responsibility to make political choices rests with each person and his or her properly formed conscience."
"Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act . . . . (Every person) is obliged to follow faithfully what he (or she) knows to be just and right' (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1778). We Catholics have a lifelong obligation to form our consciences in accord with human reason, enlightened by the teaching of Christ as it comes to us through the Church."
"A consistent ethic of life should guide all Catholic engagement in political life. This Catholic ethic neither treats all issues as morally equivalent nor reduces Catholic teaching to one or two issues. It anchors the Catholic commitment to defend human life and other human rights, from conception until natural death, in the fundamental obligation to respect the dignity of every human being as a child of God."
"In light of (Catholic teaching) and the blessings we share as part of a free and democratic nation, we bishops vigorously repeat our call for a renewed kind of politics focused more on moral principles than on the latest polls; more on the needs of the weak than on benefits for the strong; more on the pursuit of the common good than on the demands of narrow interests. This kind of political participation reflects the social teaching of our Church and the best traditions of our nation."
A Statement from All Saints Catholic Church regarding Election Related Activity
The distribution or dissemination of any unauthorized materials on parish property is contrary to parish policy. Only those materials that meet the criteria of applicable laws, the principles of Catholic Social Teaching, and the approval of the Pastor will be allowed. All Saints does not under any circumstances approve of the leafleting of worshipers’ cars on parish grounds.
It is appropriate for the Church to encourage Catholics in the call to faithful citizenship – to full participation in the political process. It is appropriate for the Church to weigh in on public policy and on the issues of the day (i.e., the marriage amendment, elective abortion, healthcare, etc.). Issue related advocacy is not partisan in nature.
It is not appropriate for the Church, its parishes, agencies or organizations to engage in any partisan activities. As such, All Saints Catholic Church is non-partisan and does not support, endorse or oppose any political parties or any candidates for office.