Our Call as Catholic Citizens

10-30-2022Letter from the PastorFr. Don Kline, V.F.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Pope Francis, quoting Pope Benedict XVI once wrote: If indeed 'the just ordering of society and of the state is a central responsibility of politics,' the Church, 'cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice.'" (Evangelii Gaudium, No. 183)

As the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops remind us, "Our nation faces many political challenges that demand well informed moral choices: The ongoing destruction of a million innocent human lives each year by:

  • Abortion
  • Genital mutilation of children
  • Physician-assisted suicide
  • The redefinition of marriage
  • Deadly attacks on Christians and other religious minorities throughout the world
  • Efforts to narrow the definition and exercise of religious freedom
  • Economic policies that fail to prioritize the needs of poor people, at home and abroad
  • A broken immigration system and a worldwide refugee crisis
  • Wars, terror, and violence that threaten every aspect of human life and dignity
  • The excessive consumption of material goods and the destruction of natural resources

As Catholics, we are called to be disciples of Our Lord Jesus. It is the hope that this relationship to Our Lord invites us to look at things like our government with a well-informed mindset. As disciples of Our Lord Jesus, we are called to impact public life for the better by seeking greater justice and peace for all people. This means we evaluate policy positions, party platforms, and candidates' promises and actions in light of the Gospel in order to help build a better world.

What does this mean for you? As a member of the Body of Christ, you are called to participate in shaping the moral character of our world. Living our faith in the public square is an essential 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).

In the Catholic tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is amoral obligation. As Catholics, we should be guided more by our moral convictions than by our attachment to any political party or interest group. In today's environment, Catholics may feel politically disenfranchised, sensing that no party and few candidates fully share our comprehensive commitment to human life and dignity. This should not discourage us. On the contrary, it makes our obligation to act all the more urgent. Catholic lay women and men need to act on the Church's moral principles and become more involved: running for of~ice, working within political parties, and communicating concerns to elected officials. Even those who cannot vote should raise their voices on matters that affect their lives and the common good. Faithful citizenship is an ongoing responsibility, not just an election year duty (US bishops' reflection, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship).

In light of Catholic teaching, the bishops vigorously repeat their call for a renewed politics that focuses on moral principles, the promotion of human life and dignity, and the pursuit of the common good. Political participation in this spirit reflects not only the social teaching of our Church but the best traditions of our nation. Tuesday November 8th is Election Day 2022. Your vote matters.