NY Bishops: forming one's conscience for voting

The Roman Catholic bishops of the state of New York have released a statement and guide for Catholic voting in elections this fall. Here are the open paragraphs:
We Catholics are called to look at politics as we are called to look at everything – through the lens of our faith. While we are free to join any political party that we choose or none at all, we must be cautious when we vote not to be guided solely by party loyalty or by self interest. Rather, we should be guided in evaluating the important issues facing our state and nation by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the teachings of His Church.

Our national and state elected officials have profound influence on countless matters of great importance, such as the right to life, issues of war and peace, the education of children and how we treat the poor and vulnerable. We must look at all of these issues as we form our consciences in preparation for Election Day.

Unfortunately, it is the rare candidate who will agree with the Church on every issue. But as the U.S. Bishops’ most recent document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship makes clear, not every issue is of equal moral gravity. The inalienable right to life of every innocent human person outweighs other concerns where Catholics may use prudential judgment, such as how best to meet the needs of the poor or to increase access to health care for all.

The right to life is the right through which all others flow. To the extent candidates reject this fundamental right by supporting an objective evil, such as legal abortion, euthanasia or embryonic stem cell research, Catholics should consider them less acceptable for public office. As Faithful Citizenship teaches, “Those who knowingly, willingly, and directly support public policies or legislation that undermine fundamental moral principles cooperate with evil.”
(Much more follows in the complete statement here.)
The New York bishops' statement clarifies the debate during the last presidential campaign and election related to the USCCB document, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.

The statement was signed by all the Catholic bishops of the State of New York and those names include a fair amount of diversity on matters ecclesial.

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  1. Trying to vote through the lens of Catholic teachings is very frustrating. The two major parties conflict on key life issues (Democrats, for example, being 'pro-choice' but also championing health care and programs to help the poor). Likewise, their stated positions are often at odds with their actual legislative actions.

    Voting has become a depressing task, sadly.

  2. I don't agree that "Voting has become a depressing task, sadly."

    For me, voting is a privilege that I value greatly. What has become depressing for me is the oft-times rancor that surrounds elections, the obscene amounts of money spent on them (and now much of it with no accountability), and the inability to work collegially once elections are over. I think all of this presents a danger to our democratic republic.


  3. I think each and every one of us is conflicted and contradicted, even often, with many things.
    I'm sure that there will never be a political party, or individual, that completely and perfectly matches up their beliefs with their actions. Too many factors get in the way. Life, unexpected and even expected, changes us.
    I guess we just need to keep our minds and hearts as open as possible and stay as true as we can to our own values.

    And pray A LOT.

    (believe me, I know, much easier said than done)


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