Adult Education & Faith Formation » Resources on Faithful Citizenship

Resources on Faithful Citizenship

The Lifelong Learning and Adult Faith Formation Committee at Ascension is pleased to provide this Internet resource list (with highlighted hyperlinks) for those who are interested in learning more about the recommendations of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and other U.S. Catholic leaders in voting in the 2020 election.   
 
Pope Francis stated in 2013:
"We need to participate for the common good. Sometimes we hear: a good Catholic is not interested in politics. This is not true: good Catholics immerse themselves in politics by offering the best of themselves so that the leader can govern."

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
has provided Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, in preparation for the 2020 election, along with a wealth of additional materials on its website.   The USCCB also prepared five YouTube videos on Faithful Citizenship.
 
Part II of “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” provides a summary of policy positions of the USCCB, including positions on Human Life, Promoting Peace, Marriage and Family Life, Religious Freedom, the Preferential Option for the Poor and Economic Justice, Health Care, Migration, Catholic Education, Promoting Justice and Countering Violence, Combatting Unjust Discrimination, Care for Our Common Home, Communications, Media, and Culture, and Global Solidarity. 
 
Part I of “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” sets forth four basic principles of Catholic social teaching, including the Dignity of the Human Person, Subsidiarity, the Common Good, and Solidarity.  The USCCB concludes that these four principles and related themes from Catholic social teaching “provide a moral framework that does not easily fit ideologies of ‘right’ or ‘left, ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative,’ or the platform of any political party” and that they “are not partisan or sectarian, but reflect fundamental ethical principles that are common to all people.”
 
The USCCB asks Catholics to hear, receive, and act upon the Church's teachings in “the lifelong task of forming his or her own conscience.”  By understanding the four basic principles of Dignity of the Human Person, Subsidiarity, the Common Good, and Solidarity, the USCCB believes that Catholics will be “better able to evaluate policy positions, party platforms, and candidates' promises and actions in light of the Gospel and the moral and social teaching of the Church in order to help build a better world.”
 
The Catholic News Service has a good summary of “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” titled “Gospel Cannot Be Parsed in Partisan Terms.” 
 
Crux magazine summarizes the completion of the USCCB document in its article, “U.S. bishops release ‘Faithful Citizenship’ videos ahead of elections.

Many Catholic leaders have spoken out about the 2020 election:
 
San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy delivered a talk on February 6, 2020 at the Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture at the University of San Diego, "Conscience, Candidates and Discipleship in Voting."  McElroy's talk looks at the moral act of voting in original and incisive ways and lays the groundwork for development of "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship," the U.S. bishops' quadrennial document on voting.  McElroy considers three significant issues: abortion, climate change, and the culture of exclusion.   
 
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, offered a prayer at the Republican National Convention and Father James Martin and Sister Simone Campbell offered prayers at the Democratic National Convention.  
 
John Carr, the founder and director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Teaching and Public Life at Georgetown University, wrote an article in America magazine, “I helped write the Bishop’s first document on Catholics and voting.”  Carr writes that the Unites States Bishops did not provide traditional voting guides or political scorecards, nor a checklist of issues; they made it clear that Catholics “are not single-issue voters” and they insisted that voting is “a decision to be made by each Catholic guided by a conscience formed by Catholic moral teaching.”
 
A group of over 150 Catholic theologians, activists, and nuns has signed an open letter to Catholic voters, urging Catholics to exercise an informed conscience and prudence to apply moral principles to particular issues and choices.  They encourage Catholics to use a tool of Catholic social teaching – see, judge, and act – to “reflect on the signs of our times, and vote in ways that further justice and the common good.”  More than 150 Catholics, including former staffers at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, signed the letter, which was organized by Faith in Public Life Action, a faith-based liberal advocacy group.  The issuance of the letter, along with highlights, was reported in the Religion News Service.
 
Network Advocates for Justice, Inspired by Catholic Sisters, has provided a comprehensive  Equally Sacred Scorecard, which compares the political positions of the presidential candidates and checks them against specific statements of Pope Francis from encyclicals and a general audience. 
 

Resources from Catholic News Organizations:   

  • Chicago Catholic – here is online news from the Chicago Archdiocese. You can sign up for an email newsletter if you’re interested.   
  • America is published by the Jesuits and offers many timely and thoughtful articles about Catholic life, culture, and current concerns.
  • National Catholic Register
  • National Catholic Reporter
  • Commonweal magazine has articles on current events in Catholicism, and carries a weekly podcast of interviews and conversations on topics at the intersection of religion, politics, and culture.
  • Crisis magazine states that it is a voice for the faithful Catholic laity. 
  • Crux is on online magazine on current events in Catholicism, “taking the Catholic pulse.”
  • Millenial Journal is an online journal specifically for Catholic Millenials, and features writing of those Catholics born after 1978 (when John Paul II became Pope).
  • EWTN Provides a Voting Guide with “Everything Catholic voters need to know before picking up a ballot.”