The Catholic Vote
In the coming weeks, Catholics will need to properly form our consciences and exercise our duty as Christians to vote. The Catechism of the Catholic Church indicates that all people who have the freedom to do so are bound to exercise the right to elect their leaders, "Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one's country" (CCC 2240).
In order to assist us with forming a proper conscience, the Holy See, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and local Bishops all give guidance regarding the essential truths and priorities of people of faith. The Bishops of Virginia summarize the philosophy of beginning to form our conscience with these three first principles:
Many issues are important.
Not all issues have equal moral weight.
Protecting life is paramount.
In order to form the Catholic conscience before casting a vote, the following resources are available to Catholic in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
"A Different Kind of Political Engagement," - a pastoral letter from the Catholic Bishops of Virginia.
"Presidential Comparison 2020," - a chart indicating several Catholic issues and where each candidate stands on that issue, noting that the right to life is the paramount issue from which all other issues flow.
"Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship," - a document 53 pages in length promulgated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, outlining all of the issues the Catholic must consider when voting.
Please note that only resources approved by the Virginia Catholic Conference or the USCCB, and no other outside groups (Catholic or non-Catholic) are permitted to be distributed in the parishes and schools of the Diocese of Richmond, electronically or in print.