Catholic Citizenship » Conscience and Your Vote
Conscience and Your Vote
Bishop Peter A. Libasci developed a document, “Conscience and Your Vote,” to assist others in understanding the nature of conscience and the moral obligation to vote and to outline Catholic social teaching on some of today’s pressing issues.The document is based on the shared faith and human understanding we possess as Catholics. This document is not a “voter guide.” The Diocese of Manchester does not in any way endorse a particular candidate, political party, or political action committee. This resource was developed to assist others in understanding the nature of conscience and the moral obligation to vote and to outline Catholic social teaching on some of today’s pressing issues.
Voting in New Hampshire
What are the Issues?
In Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, the United States bishops presented central and enduring themes of the Catholic social tradition that can provide a moral framework for decisions in public life:
- The Right to Life and the Dignity of the Human Person: Human life is sacred. Direct killing of innocent human beings is always immoral, and Catholic teaching therefore designates these acts as intrinsically evil. They can never be supported or excused. Within our society, innocent human life is frequently and deliberately destroyed by abortion and euthanasia. Human life also is destroyed by certain “fertility treatments” like in-vitro fertilization, experimentation using stem cells from human embryos, and cloning in order to manufacture human body parts. Catholic teaching about the sanctity of human life also leads us to oppose the death penalty, genocide, torture, unjust wars, and economic policies that ignore the needs of the poor and vulnerable.
- Call to Family, Community, and Participation: The family, which emerges from marriage between a man and a woman, is the original and basic unit of society. Social and economic policies should work to strengthen the family rather than weaken it. Every person and association has a right and duty to participate in shaping society to promote the well-being of individuals and the common good.
- Rights and Responsibilities: Every human being has the right to life and to religious freedom. Everyone has a right to refuse to participate in actions contrary to one’s religious beliefs and to share and defend one’s creed and moral principles in the public forum. Everyone has the right and duty to participate fully in all aspects of life: political, social, cultural, and economic.
- Option for the Poor and Vulnerable: We must have special concern and charity toward the unborn, persons with disabilities, the dying, refugees, long-term unemployed, prisoners, and all who are marginalized in our nation and beyond. Today, the situation of immigrant workers is especially urgent.
- Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers: Economic justice includes the opportunity for dignified work at wages sufficient to support a family, workplace safety, meaningful participation in decision-making through collective bargaining or other forms of employee representation, and the right to take time for religious observances. Workers also have the duty to provide a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay.
- Solidarity: Loving our neighbor has global dimensions and requires us to eradicate racism and address the extreme poverty and disease plaguing so much of the world. We are called to welcome the stranger among us, including immigrants seeking work, a safe home, education for their children, and a decent life for their families. We are called to promote peace and pursue justice. CLICK HERE to learn more about Church teaching on immigration and the Just War Tradition. To learn more about the global peace and development efforts of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, visit Catholic Relief Services at www.crs.org.
- Caring for God’s Creation: As stewards – not owners – of the earth, people have an obligation to cherish and care for the environment. The earth yields forth many resources needed for human flourishing, especially energy and the capacity to produce food. These precious resources must be used prudently, fairly, safely, and with a constant concern for future generations.
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Resources for Campuses and Young Adults
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