US Bishops release latest version of ‘Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,’ Catholic guide to voting

US Bishops release latest version of ‘Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,’ Catholic guide to voting

AUGUST 10, 2016

From the USCCB website: 

The Catholic bishops of the United States are pleased to offer once again to the Catholic faithful Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship (en Español), our teaching document on the political responsibility of Catholics. This statement represents our guidance for Catholics in the exercise of their rights and duties as participants in our democracy. We urge our pastors, lay and religious faithful, and all people of good will to use this statement to help form their consciences; to teach those entrusted to their care; to contribute to civil and respectful public dialogue; and to shape political choices in the coming election in light of Catholic teaching. The statement lifts up our dual heritage as both faithful Catholics and American citizens with rights and duties as participants in the civil order.

From the introductory note:

This version draws on the wealth of papal teaching since the 2007 version of Faithful Citizenship, such as the later magisterium of Pope Benedict XVI and that of Pope Francis to date. From these great teachings we discern, for example, messages to the universal Church to attend in a special way: to the inextricable link between our witness to the truth and our service to those in need (Caritas in Veritate); to our role as missionary disciples, called forth from the sanctuary to bring Christ to the margins with joy (Evangelii Gaudium); and to the care for our common home and all who dwell in it, especially the poorest (Laudato Si’).

The document is also updated to take account of recent developments in the United States in both domestic and foreign policy:

  • The ongoing destruction of over one million innocent human lives each year by abortion
  • Physician-assisted suicide
  • The redefinition of marriage—the vital cell of society—by the courts, political bodies, and increasingly by American culture itself
  • The excessive consumption of material goods and the destruction of natural resources, which harm both the environment and the poor
  • The deadly attacks on fellow Christians and religious minorities throughout the world
  • The narrowing redefinition of religious freedom, which threatens both individual conscience and the freedom of the Church to serve
  • Economic policies that fail to prioritize the poor, at home or abroad;
  • A broken immigration system and a worldwide refugee crisis
  • Wars, terror, and violence that threaten every aspect of human life and dignity

All of these threats, and more, speak to a breakdown in what Pope Francis has called an “integral ecology” (Laudato Si’, nos. 137-55). Without the proper ordering of relationships of persons with each other, with creation, and ultimately with God himself, sin takes hold. Pope Francis reminds us that all individuals, nations, and members of the global community have the duty to place the needs of others ahead of selfish desires to possess and exploit the good things that come from God’s hand.

This document is to be read prayerfully and in its totality. It would be a serious mistake—and one that occurs with regrettable frequency—to use only selected parts of the Church’s teaching to advance partisan political interests or validate ideological biases. All of us are called to be servants to the whole truth in authentic love, and it is our fervent hope and prayer that this document will provide aid to all those seeking to heed this call.

Read the document here. You can also get a pdf version and order copies here. 

Read the source and comments: http://aleteia.org/blogs/deacon-greg-kandra/bishops-release-latest-version-of-forming-consciences-for-faithful-citizenship-catholic-guide-to-fall-election/

Kansas City Bishops Say No “Proportionate” Reason to Vote for Pro-Abortion over Pro-life Candidate

By Kathleen Gilbert

Archbishop NaumannKANSAS CITY, MO, September 16, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As the election season approaches, the bishops of Kansas City have issued a joint pastoral letter on the responsibility of all Catholics to promote the culture of life and limit evil as much as possible when casting their vote this November.

Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas John Naumann and Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph Robert Finn emphasize that the Catholic Church in America does not endorse specific political parties or candidates; however the Church “has always cherished its right to speak to the moral issues confronting our nation.”

The bishops write that the Catholic Church has a responsibility “to form properly the consciences of her members,” especially as they take active part in a democratic system of government.

The letter mentions various social issues that, while having “important moral dimensions” that Catholics should investigate, can be addressed in different ways and ultimately allow Catholic voters to disagree in good conscience.

But the letter then warns that this is by no means true of policies that involve intrinsic evil, which must always be rejected: “There are, however, some issues that always involve doing evil, such as legalized abortion, the promotion of same-sex unions and ‘marriages,’ repression of religious liberty, as well as public policies permitting euthanasia, racial discrimination or destructive human embryonic stem cell research. A properly formed conscience must give such issues priority even over other matters with important moral dimensions.

Bishop Robert Finn“To vote for a candidate who supports these intrinsic evils because he or she supports these evils is to participate in a grave moral evil. It can never be justified.”

While the letter says an ideal situation would allow Catholics to vote for candidates who oppose all grave evil, it recognizes that sometimes Catholics must cast their vote to limit the greater evil.  “W e may be confronted with a voting choice between two candidates who support abortion, though one may favor some limitations on it, or he or she may oppose public funding for abortion. In such cases, the appropriate judgment would be to select the candidate whose policies regarding this grave evil will do less harm. We have a responsibility to limit evil if it is not possible at the moment to eradicate it completely.

“The same principle would be compelling to a conscientious voter who was confronted with two candidates who both supported same-sex unions, but one opposed abortion and destructive embryonic research while the other was permissive in these regards. The voter, who himself or herself opposed these policies, would have insufficient moral justification voting for the more permissive candidate. However, he or she might justify resorting to a write-in vote or abstaining from voting at all in this case, because of a conscientious objection.”

The letter recalls that when United States bishops had asked Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger for counsel on the responsibilities of Catholic politicians and voters, the future Pope Benedict XVI replied: “A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.”

The letter then poses the question, “Could a Catholic in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports legalized abortion when there is a choice of another candidate who does not support abortion or any other intrinsically evil policy?”  But the bishops say they cannot conceive of a reason that could possibly outweigh the evil of abortion: “What could possibly be a proportionate reason for the more than 45 million children killed by abortion in the past 35 years?”

The letter ends by exhorting Catholics, who now make up a greater percentage of the American voting population than ever before, to take this crucial opportunity to change the course of history in America and exercise strong moral leadership.

“There has never been a moment in our nation’s history when more Catholics served in elective office, presided in our courts or held other positions of power and authority. It would be wrong for us to use our numbers and influence to try to compel others to accept our religious and theological beliefs.

“However, it would be equally wrong for us to fail to be engaged in the greatest human rights struggle of our time, namely the need to protect the right to life of the weakest and most vulnerable.”

Read the source and comments: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/kansas-city-bishops-say-no-proportionate-reason-to-vote-for-pro-abortion-ov

Related Articles/ Videos click below:

Christians Voting for Pro-Aborts?!?! http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/04/06/christians-voting-for-pro-aborts/

Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin: “Never Vote for Any Candidate of Any Party Who Supports Abortion” http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/04/25/catholic-bishop-thomas-tobin-never-vote-for-any-candidate-of-any-party-who-supports-abortion/

An Assessment of the New USCCB Document Faithful Citizenship: FCFC (#34) lists “intrinsically evil acts,” and says that Catholics cannot vote for a political candidate “who favors a policy promoting” them http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/01/06/an-assessment-of-the-new-usccb-document-faithful-citizenship-fcfc-34-lists-intrinsically-evil-acts-and-says-that-catholics-cannot-vote-for-a-political-candidate-who-fav/

THE DOWNLOAD—YOUR VOTE COUNTS – But it’s your own soul that’ll do the counting http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/09/20527/

THE VORTEX: A TIE IS A LOSS – Maybe Catholics should concentrate more on the Faith than on politics http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/03/15/the-vortex-a-tie-is-a-loss-maybe-catholics-should-concentrate-more-on-the-faith-than-on-politics/

Catholic Bishops: Voting for Candidate who supports abortion is formal cooperation with evil

Should Pope Francis get involved in politics? Of course he should   http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/19/should-pope-francis-get-involved-in-politics-of-course-he-should/

Is Health Care a Pro Life Issue? http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/14/is-health-care-a-pro-life-issue/

BISHOP ROBERT MCELROY GOES SOFT ON INTRINSIC EVIL: San Diego bishop says intrinsic evils don’t automatically prioritize issues for voters http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/12/bishop-robert-mcelroy-goes-soft-on-intrinsic-evil-san-diego-bishop-says-intrinsic-evils-dont-automatically-prioritize-issues-for-voters/

Is Socialism Making a Comeback? – Despite Bernie Sanders’s best efforts, socialism is still as bad an idea as it ever was http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/10/is-socialism-making-a-comeback-despite-bernie-sanderss-best-efforts-socialism-is-still-as-bad-an-idea-as-it-ever-was/

TRUTH EXPOSED! Hitler was a Socialist…WATCH! http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/06/05/truth-exposed-hitler-was-a-socialistwatch/

[Watch]Hitler Survivor Warns Americans: “Keep Your Guns And Buy More Guns” Don’t Listen To Commies http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/06/20/watchhitler-survivor-warns-americans-keep-your-guns-and-buy-more-guns-dont-listen-to-commies/

Socialism’s Bloody History Shows Millennials Should Think Twice Before Supporting It http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/06/06/socialisms-bloody-history-shows-millennials-should-think-twice-before-supporting-it/

Why socialism always fails? http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/04/27/why-socialism-always-fails/

Why Are Young People Cheering for Socialism? http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/13/why-are-young-people-cheering-for-socialism/

What Do the Popes Truly Say About Socialism? http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/13/what-do-the-popes-truly-say-about-socialism/

Here’s one clear and uncomplicated principle for voting: Don’t vote for pro-abortion politicians http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/08/16/heres-one-clear-and-uncomplicated-principle-for-voting-dont-vote-for-pro-abortion-politicians/

THE DOWNLOAD—YOUR VOTE COUNTS – But it’s your own soul that’ll do the counting http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/09/20527/

WATCH: Fr. Pavone on why Catholics can’t sit out the election http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/09/28/watch-fr-pavone-on-why-catholics-cant-sit-out-the-election/

Don’t buy Satan’s lies: Only one political party aligns with the Church on the most basic issues http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/09/29/dont-buy-satans-lies-only-one-political-party-aligns-with-the-church-on-the-most-basic-issues/

Kansas bishops offer election year guidance http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/09/28/kansas-bishops-offer-election-year-guidance/

Voting and Living as Good Citizens: “Four points of guidance, … as we discern our choices as voters” http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/09/29/voting-and-living-as-good-citizens-four-points-of-guidance-as-we-discern-our-choices-as-voters/

THE VORTEX: CATHOLIC AND REPUBLICAN – It’s a good thing for many Church leaders that there isn’t a bishops’ primary going on right now http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/03/14/the-vortex-catholic-and-republican-its-a-good-thing-for-many-church-leaders-that-there-isnt-a-bishops-primary-going-on-right-now/

Catholic Bishops: Voting for Candidate who supports abortion is formal cooperation with evil

Should Pope Francis get involved in politics? Of course he should   http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/19/should-pope-francis-get-involved-in-politics-of-course-he-should/

Not sure how to vote in the U.S. election? Here’s Cardinal Burke’s advice http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/08/30/not-sure-how-to-vote-in-the-u-s-election-heres-cardinal-burkes-advice/

Is Health Care a Pro Life Issue? http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/14/is-health-care-a-pro-life-issue/

BISHOP ROBERT MCELROY GOES SOFT ON INTRINSIC EVIL: San Diego bishop says intrinsic evils don’t automatically prioritize issues for voters http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/12/bishop-robert-mcelroy-goes-soft-on-intrinsic-evil-san-diego-bishop-says-intrinsic-evils-dont-automatically-prioritize-issues-for-voters/

The 2016 Vote: What is an Informed Catholic to Do? http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/09/29/the-2016-vote-what-is-an-informed-catholic-to-do/

Archbishop Oscar Cruz on the forthcoming elections: Principle of participation

Archbishop Socrates Villegas to voters: Don’t be swayed by surveys http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/04/06/archbishop-socrates-villegas-to-voters-dont-be-swayed-by-surveys/

Archbishop Socrates Villegas urges voters to use 10 commandments in choosing their candidates http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/04/07/archbishop-socrates-villegas-urges-voters-to-use-10-commandments-in-choosing-their-candidates/

Is Socialism Making a Comeback? – Despite Bernie Sanders’s best efforts, socialism is still as bad an idea as it ever was http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/10/is-socialism-making-a-comeback-despite-bernie-sanderss-best-efforts-socialism-is-still-as-bad-an-idea-as-it-ever-was/

“A theory that makes profit the exclusive norm and ultimate end of economic activity is morally unacceptable. The disordered desire for money cannot but produce perverse effects. It is one of the causes of the many conflicts which disturb the social order. A system that ‘subordinates the basic rights of individuals and of groups to the collective organization of production’ is contrary to human dignity. Every practice that reduces persons to nothing more than a means of profit enslaves man, leads to idolizing money, and contributes to the spread of atheism. ‘You cannot serve God and mammon’”(CCC: 2424).

“The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modern times with ‘communism’ or ‘socialism’. She has likewise refused to accept, in the practice of ‘capitalism,’ individualism and the absolute primacy of the law of the marketplace over human labor. Regulating the economy solely by centralized planning perverts the basis of social bonds; regulating it solely by the law of the marketplace fails social justice, for ‘there are many human needs which cannot be satisfied by the market.’ Reasonable regulation of the marketplace and economic initiatives, in keeping with a just hierarchy of values and a view to the common good, is to be commended” (CCC:2425).