As the 2012 election approaches, many families worry about their financial future. Some have members who are unemployed. Others are mired in deep poverty. There are also more direct attacks on the sanctity and dignity of human life, such as the continued legal protection of abortion on demand. Globally, new crises are unfolding, such as the millions of children now facing starvation in West Africa. Finally, new concerns have emerged about our most cherished freedom – our religious liberty.
It is up to the lay faithful to decide how best to advance the moral concerns so frequently addressed in Church teaching. The Church’s role is to assist Catholics in the formation of their conscience, but not to tell people who to vote for.
Some Catholics may be so discouraged with the partisan nature of American politics that they do not want to vote or pay any attention to the politicians. As Catholics, however, we are called to participate in our democracy. It is an old maxim but a true one that if good people do nothing bad things happen. This is what Pope John Paul II essentially meant when he visited our nation and told us that “democracy needs virtue.”
As the public policy agency for the Catholic Church in Missouri, the Missouri Catholic Conference (MCC) does not endorse or oppose, rank or rate candidates for public office. The MCC’s role is to provide unbiased voter education material to Catholics.
In this resource kit, the MCC offers practical tips on how Catholics and their parishes can participate in the 2012 election. Suggestions range from voter registration drives to conducting forums with candidates at parish halls. In all of these activities parishes must conform to federal laws that govern what tax-exempt organizations can and cannot do when participating in election activities. See What Churches Can and Cannot Do During Elections (Section III) for more.
As Catholics, we have a moral obligation to participate in our American democracy. Don’t stand on the sidelines. Work this year to protect the sanctity and dignity of all human life, preserve our religious freedoms and uphold the common good of all, including the very poor and vulnerable. We are all in this together; help spread the light of Christ in this important election year.
MCC Executive Director
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