Our bishops have encouraged us to take our voting obligation seriously. They said, “We bishops seek to help Catholics form their consciences in accordance with the truth, so they can make sound moral choices. We do not tell Catholics how to vote. The responsibility to make political choices rests with each person and his or her conscience.”
The bishops have stated that, “In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation. As Catholics, we should be guided more by our moral convictions than by our attachment to a political party or interest group. In today’s environment, Catholics may feel politically disenfranchised, sensing that no party and few candidates fully share our comprehensive commitment to human life and dignity.”
Our bishops have reminded us that the Catholic Church teaches that abortion is an intrinsic evil and they make it clear that we are called to oppose intrinsic evils. As Catholics, we can respectfully disagree on how to best address the problems involving immigration, social justice, environmental concerns and other challenges we face. They are social ills but are not intrinsic evils. But our bishops teach us that the right to life is paramount and should be embraced and respected as we strive to address these challenges. The gift of life is the foundation upon which rests all the other marvelous gifts that God has given us. Our bishops invite us to recommit ourselves to the dignity and value of all human life and to bear witness to the sacredness of the unborn, the elderly, and the physically and mentally challenged. We are asked to treat all our brothers and sisters, born and unborn, with the dignity we ourselves expect. They are God’s children too and deserve our love and support. We are challenged to prayerfully consider this as Election Day approaches.
As we know, we live in an imperfect world and we are dealing with imperfect candidates. Our bishops invite us to properly form our consciences and to vote for those candidates whose views we believe best reflect Catholic teaching. As Catholics, we are urged to respond to the call of our bishops and embrace our moral obligation to participate in our political process.