US Catholic bishops say 2007 voting document was misused
By Michelle Bauman
US Catholic bishops say 2007 voting document was misused

.- With the campaign for the 2012 presidential race gaining speed, the U.S. Catholic bishops are saying that their 2007 statement on the political responsibilities of Catholics must not be misused or distorted to justify supporting candidates whose stances on fundamental issues make them unfit for office.

The bishops warned against “misguided appeals to ‘conscience’ to ignore fundamental moral claims, to reduce Catholic moral concerns to one or two matters, or to justify choices simply to advance partisan, ideological, or personal interests.”

An Oct. 4 statement from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops announced that conference president Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York, along with the chairs of nine different committees, are reaffirming their 2007 document "Forming Conscience for Faithful Citizenship," and issuing it with a new introductory note.

The note was discussed at the bishop’s June meeting and authorized at the Administrative Committee meeting in September. It does not modify “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” but clarifies its use and intent.

In the note, the bishops observed that the statement on the political responsibilities of Catholics “has at times been misused to present an incomplete or distorted view of the demands of faith in politics.”

They explained that the topics outlined in the document are not “issues for equal consideration.” Rather, they said, it “makes important distinctions among moral issues.”

The introductory note acknowledged that some issues “involve the clear obligation to oppose intrinsic evils which can never be justified,” while others raise “serious moral questions” and should lead the faithful to “pursue justice and promote the common good.”

Catholic voting became a heated issue in the 2008 election when several prominent Catholic intellectuals voiced support for then-candidate Barack Obama.

In one of the most notable instances, Doug Kmiec, a law professor at Pepperdine University and a former official in the Reagan administration, endorsed Obama and encouraged other Catholic and conservative voters to do the same.

Kmiec called Obama a “bridge-builder” and said that despite Obama’s opposition to Catholic teachings on moral issues, including abortion and same-sex “marriage,” there were proportionate reasons to support him.

Kmiec said he believed that Obama’s opposition to the Iraq war and focus on “the social justice of economic arrangement” made him “closer to the Church’s teaching” than his opponent, John McCain.

In the new introduction to “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” the bishops called on Catholics “to form their consciences in the light of their Catholic faith and to bring our moral principles to the debate and decisions about candidates and issues.”

They explained that the document on faithful citizenship “does not offer a voters guide, scorecard of issues, or direction on how to vote,” but rather, “applies Catholic moral principles to a range of important issues.”

The introductory note lists six “current and fundamental problems” that remain “pressing national issues.” These issues include: abortion and other threats to those who are vulnerable, sick or unwanted; efforts to force Catholic ministries to choose between violating their consciences or ceasing their services to those in need; intensified efforts to redefine and undermine the nature of marriage; an economic crisis that has increased levels of unemployment, poverty, hunger and debt; a “broken” immigration system; and wars, terror, and violence, especially in the Middle East.

The bishops’ note also emphasized the importance of religious liberty. They defended the “right to bring our principles and moral convictions into the public arena” and said that these rights need to be “both exercised and protected.”

The U.S. bishops’ conference has also launched a new website to assist the faithful in the formation of conscience. The website, which can be accessed at http://usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/, offers formation tools for parishes, organizations and individuals.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 24, 2014

Thursday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:35-48


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Acts 3:11-26
Gospel:: Lk 24:35-48

Saint of the Day

Easter Sunday »


Homily of the Day

Lk 24:35-48


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: