As Election Day approaches, I’m reminded of how our right to vote is both a privilege and a moral obligation. As Catholics, we must be informed about and participate in the politics of our local community and our nation. The world of politics is a place like any other in our world where we are called to be light in the darkness.
In the Catholic tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue; participation in the political process is a moral obligation. All believers are called to faithful citizenship, to become informed, active, and responsible participants in the political process. (USCCB Administrative Committee, Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility, p. 8.)
Politics . . . should be about an old idea with new power—the common good. The central question should not be, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” It should be, “How can ‘we’—all of us, especially the weak and vulnerable—be better off in the years ahead? How can we protect and promote human life and dignity? How can we pursue greater justice and peace?” (USCCB Administrative Committee, Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility, p. 2.)
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has done a lot in terms of articulating how our Catholic tradition impels us to be faithful citizens. Check out their Faithful Citizenship web site which provides resources that “are designed to help you learn, share, and act on Catholic teaching about how our faith can and should shape our choices and opportunities as citizens, so that we can build a world more respectful of human life and dignity and more committed to justice and peace.”