In the Catholic tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation. This obligation is rooted in our baptismal commitment to follow Jesus Christ and to bear Christian witness in all we do. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, “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. . . . As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life” (nos. 1913-1915).
Unfortunately, politics in our country often can be a contest of powerful interests, partisan attacks, sound bites, and media hype. The Church calls for a different kind of political engagement: one shaped by the moral convictions of well-formed consciences and focused on the dignity of every human being, the pursuit of the common good, and the protection of the weak and the vulnerable.The Catholic call to faithful citizenship affirms the importance of political participation and insists that public service is a worthy vocation. As Catholics, we should be guided more by our moral convictions than by our attachment to a political party or interest group. When necessary, our participation should help transform the party to which we belong; we should not let the party transform us in such a way that we neglect or deny fundamental moral truths. We are called to bring together our principles and our political choices, our
values and our votes, to help build a better world. (Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, #13-14)
The resources presented here are aids for the daily living out of our faith in our parish and broader community. During election cycles, timely material will be added on specific areas that require special attention. To understand our approach to discernment of faith in public life, please start with the following:
- Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship
- Formando la Conciencia para ser Ciudadanos Fieles
- Civil Dialogue
- Diálogo Cordial
- Guidelines for Pastors and Parishes on Advocacy and Political Action
- Directrices para los Párrocos y Parroquias sobre la Promoción y la Acción Política
- Faithful Citizenship – Resources (from the California Catholic Conference)
Parish DOs (and a few DON’Ts) Before Elections
- The Church calls for the formation of conscience and political engagement as Catholic missionary disciples first!
- Individual citizens are free to fully engage in partisan politics; however, religious leaders, including parish leaders/reps should avoid taking positions on candidates or participating in political party matters.
- Do NOT share or distribute voter guides on parish property or as a parish leader
- Focus on biblical principles and Catholic social teaching
- Encourage Parishioners to Register to Vote and Consider Organizing Voter Registration
- Share information about changes to elections, Vote Centers, and ‘Vote By Mail’
- Host a Parish Forum on Faithful Citizenship and Bringing Our Catholic Commitments into Political Conversation (contact our Office for more info).
- Hold a Prayer Service Before an Election (see Prayer Before an Election: http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/prayers/prayer-before-an-election.cfm)
- Do pray for discernment and for an increase of justice and peace in our land!
Bulletin Announcements & Inserts
- Summary Bulletin Insert Part 2 – The Challenge of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: Making Moral Choices and Applying Our Principles | en Español
- Summary Bulletin Insert Part 1 – The Challenge of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: Our Call as Catholic Citizens | en Español
- Civil Dialogue Bulletin Insert (Español)
- Conscience Formation Bulletin Insert (Español)
- How to Contact Your Elected Officials Bulletin Insert (Español)
- Do’s and Don’ts Guidelines During Election Season
- Voter Education and Voter Registration (Español)
- Tips for Conducting Candidate Forums (Español)
- Videos for Faithful Citizenship
- Resources for Parishes & Schools
- California Catholic Conference
- Resources for Youth
- Resources for Campus & Young Adults
- Faithful Citizenship: An Exploration of Sacred Scripture and Tradition
- How to Lobby and Understanding the Legislative Process
- Helpful Websites – Alerts, Information, Voting Records