In a pastoral letter in preparation for upcoming elections in October, Archbishop Eurico dos Santos Veloso of Juiz de Fora, Brazil, is calling on priests and those involved in ministry to stay out of political campaigns and on the faithful to “responsibly vote with their conscience.”
The Archbishop explained that “there needs to be a proper distinction between the role of the Church and the role of each of the faithful as citizens,” and he recalled that “the Holy Father John Paul II, speaking with the Brazilian bishops in 1980, said very clearly that the Church has no intention of getting involved in politics, nor does she aspire to participate in the administration of temporal affairs.”
“Her specific contribution will be that of strengthening the spiritual and moral foundation of society, making it possible that all activity in the area of the common good take place in conformity and in tune with the directives and requirements of human and Christian ethics,” the Archbishop added.
”Bishops,” he continued, “priests and religious should not get involved in the concrete problems of society or in partisan political activity, as the Holy Father has insisted on various occasions.”
Archbishop Eurico dos Santos reaffirmed that “priests and religious, especially during religious celebrations, should not publicly express opinions or positions in favor political parties, candidates or concrete government proposals or programs in the socio-economic sphere.”
On the other hand, the Archbishop reminded the faithful of their “obligation to responsibly participate” in elections, “as a duty of Christian conscience,” and that they should vote “only for those candidates who are truly committed to the common good, who do not make promises they cannot keep…and who demonstrate they are capable and competent for the job.”
”One cannot vote for candidates who are liars and are known to be corrupt, whose campaigns are reduced to criticizing and attacking other candidates, and who take positions that are against Christian morals in the area of life (abortion), freedom of education, social justice and religious freedom,” the Archbishop added.