“As Catholics, we are part of a community with a rich heritage that helps us consider the challenges in public life and contribute to greater justice and peace for all people…In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation.”
–“Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States,” USCCB 2007
What Compels Our Advocacy?
The Catholic Church has a history of social teaching that reaches back centuries and provides a compelling challenge for responsible living. We believe that all people, especially the poor and most vulnerable, should be greeted with compassion and embraced with love and deep respect.
What does the Church teach about issues affecting public policy?*
The Church’s obligation to participate in shaping the moral character of society is a requirement of our faith. Catholic teaching challenges voters and candidates, citizens and elected officials, to consider the moral and ethical dimensions of public policy issues.
What is unique about Catholic Advocacy?*
Advocacy is a different way of acting in the public arena and in our faith communities, and lifts up our dual heritage as both faithful Catholics and American citizens. The Catholic call to faithful citizenship affirms the importance of political participation, but the Church calls for a different kind of political engagement: one shaped by the moral convictions of a well-formed conscience and focused on the dignity of every human being and the pursuit of the common good.
The 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. Catholic values are not partisan or sectarian, but reflect fundamental ethical principles that are common to all people. Catholic principles call us to be:
- Focused more on moral principles than on the latest polls;
- Focused more on the needs of the weak than the benefits for the strong;
- Focused more on the pursuit of the common good than on the demands of narrow interests.
Your participation is important!
Advocacy can seem big and overwhelming at first…or you may think one person can’t make a difference. DON’T WORRY! You don’t have to be an expert, and you don’t have to figure it out alone.
As part of a Catholic parish, group or organization, you see and hear every day how public policies are affecting the needs of people in your own community. Your knowledge of these concrete needs can be of great assistance to political decision makers at the local, state and national levels. Our Catholic voices joined together as part of the Dialogue for Justice can create a powerful force to influence our elected officials to make policies and decisions that reflect our Catholic values.
* Excerpted from Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States, USCCB 2007. You can obtain a copy of the full document online here.