The goal of our “faithful citizenship” campaign is to help Catholic voters make informed choices at the voting booth. Our basic premise is that voting is the responsibility of every citizen, an obligation that must be taken seriously in a democratic society. That responsibility becomes all the more serious given the moral implications of many of the issues facing our nation today.
As teachers of the faith, we believe it is our responsibility to talk about these issues, to explain what the church teaches and why, and to help Catholics form their own consciences in preparation for voting.
The term “forming consciences” means that Catholics have studied and understood the church’s teachings, rather than merely reacted to what the media has reported or others have said.
Similarly, voters should study the various candidates’ records, what they have said about these issues and how they have voted on them in the past. Elections should not be decided by who looks better on TV or whose last name sounds more familiar.
Voting according to one’s conscience would be so much simpler if candidates’ positions on each and every issue were in accordance with the moral teaching of the church.
Unfortunately, that has not been true in any election as far back as I can remember. In 2008, a candidate who pushes draconian measures against illegal immigrants might be pro-life; another who is for the death penalty might be a staunch supporter of legislation aimed at helping the poor.