As we approach the election for president, the senate and congress, it is essential to remember that as the U.S. Bishops’ document on Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship states, Catholics’ political engagement should be “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 vulnerable.”
Seeking the common good is basic to Catholic teaching on social justice, but the common good must always include moral consciousness. Reasonable people can differ but their ultimate decisions must respect the moral issues of life, marriage and dignity.
The Church always avoids party partisanship and manipulation but consistently addresses issues that refer to the moral fiber of our country. What are some of these issues?
• Defending the institution of marriage as a union between one man and one woman;
• Keeping our nation from turning to violence to address fundamental issues, seeing abortion as the solution to unwanted pregnancies, euthanasia and assisted suicide to deal with the burdens of illness, destruction of human embryos in the name of research, the death penalty to combat crime and resorting to war rather than diplomacy to resolve international disputes.
• Achieving comprehensive immigration reform that secures our borders, treats immigrant workers fairly and provides a path to citizenship.
• Providing health care for the growing number of people without it, while respecting human life, human dignity and religious freedom in our health care system.
• Opposing policies that reflect prejudice and hostility toward immigrants and minority groups, and ignore religious bigotry and other forms of discrimination.
• Encouraging families, community groups, economic structures and government to work together to overcome poverty and pursue the common good.
These are not political issues, they are moral issues that we as Catholics are bound to protect and defend.
Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles wrote recently: “This is a time for Catholic voices and Catholic action. The challenges we face in these times are ultimately questions about our identity. Who are we? What do we believe in? And what do we stand for? These are ultimately questions of our discipleship.”
“Being a Catholic means living with Jesus and living according to his words and example.”