"Responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation."
Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship
"As Catholics, we are called to be engaged in the public discourse, to be involved in the political process and to exercise our obligation to vote in this very important election," says Most Reverend John Noonan, Bishop of the Diocese of Orlando. "However, we must be informed and well formed voters. As Catholics our moral principles must guide our decisions in life and particularly in the voting booth. Our consciences must be well formed and educated in the truth of our faith as it is handed down to us through the Church."
The Church's obligation to participate in shaping the moral character of society is a requirement of our faith, a part of the mission given to us by Jesus Christ. As people of both faith and reason, Catholics are called to bring truth to political life and to practice Christ's commandment to "love one another" (Jn 13:34). We are called to bring together our principles and our political choices, our values and our votes, to help build a better world. At times Catholics may choose different ways to respond to social problems, but we cannot differ on our obligation to protect human life and dignity and help build through moral means a more just and peaceful world.
For many years, we bishops of the United States have sought to share Catholic teaching on political life. We have done so in a series of statements issued every four years focused on “political responsibility” or “faithful citizenship”. In this document we continue that practice, maintaining continuity with what we have said in the past in light of new challenges facing our nation and world. This is not new teaching but affirms what is taught by our Bishops’ Conference and the whole Church. As Catholics, we are part of a community with a rich heritage that helps us consider the challenges in public life and contribute to greater justice and peace for all people.”
Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, 2007
“Flowing from our God-given dignity, each person has basic rights and responsibilities. These include the rights to freedom of conscience and religious liberty, to raise a family, to immigrate, to live free from unfair discrimination, and to have a share of earthly goods sufficient for oneself and one’s family. People have a fundamental right to life and to those things that make life truly human: food, clothing, housing, health care, education, security, social services, and employment. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities - to one another, to our families, and to the larger society, to respect the rights of others and to work for the common good.”
CCHD, Basic Principles of Catholic Mission