In anticipation of the election of 2012, the
Archdiocese is making available resources for voter education:
A voter education flyer entitled
"Forming a Good Catholic Conscience for Voting"
(also available in
Spanish), which can be used to instruct parishioners on
the principles by which a good Catholic conscience is formed, and specific
guidance on how to do so in connection with voting.
blurbs for use in educating Catholics about moral responsibility and
series of talks are being offered at various parishes in the Archdiocese on
Faithful Citizenship and forming conscience for voting. Download the
The documents and information from the United States and
New York Bishops are also good tools for
educating Catholics on their civic and moral responsibilities.
There are legal limits on the kinds of political activity
that can be carried out by religious organizations. In general,
religious organizations are permitted to speak out about issues, and to seek
to influence legislation, but they are not permitted to engage in any way in
partisan political activity. The New York State Catholic
guidelines that will help Catholic institutions in applying these rules
to their activities.
Please note that "voter guides" (i.e., documents that compare candidate
positions on issues) from outside groups are not to be distributed by
parishes in the Archdiocese, because such guides may not fairly represent
the issues of interest to the Church, and may involve the Church in
forbidden partisan political activity.
To find out about the candidates in the upcoming
elections, go here
and fill in your address.
(Please note that these links will take you to websites
that are not affiliated with the Archdiocese or any other Catholic
institution. We have no control over, nor do we take responsibility
for or endorse, the contents of the websites. They are provided for
information only, and should not be considered in any way an explicit or
implicit endorsement of any candidate, or a comparison of any candidate's
positions to the teachings of the Church.)
As far as the Catholic Church is
concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is
the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is
thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are
not negotiable. Among these the following emerge clearly today:
life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural
promotion of the natural structure of the family--as a union between a man
and a woman based on marriage--and its defense from attempts to make it
juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in
reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its
particular character and its irreplaceable social role;
of the right of parents to educate their children.
34. Catholics often face difficult
choices about how to vote. This is why it is so important to vote according
to a well-formed conscience that perceives the proper relationship among
moral goods. A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in
favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter's
intent is to support that position. In such cases a Catholic would be
guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil. At the same time, a voter
should not use a candidate's opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify
indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving
human life and dignity.
35. There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate's
unacceptable position may decide to vote for that candidate for other
morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permissible only for
truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan
preferences or to ignore a fundamental moral evil.
36. When all candidates hold a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, the
conscientious voter faces a dilemma. The voter may decide to take the
extraordinary step of not voting for any candidate or, after careful
deliberation, may decide to vote for the candidate deemed less likely to
advance such a morally flawed position and more likely to pursue other
authentic human goods.
37. In making these decisions, it
is essential for Catholics to be guided by a well-formed conscience that
recognizes that all issues do not carry the same moral weight and that the
moral obligation to oppose intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on
our consciences and our actions. These decisions should take into account a
candidate’s commitments, character, integrity, and ability to influence a
given issue. In the end, this is a decision to be made by each Catholic
guided by a conscience formed by Catholic moral teaching.
38. It is important to be clear
that the political choices faced by citizens not only have an impact on
general peace and prosperity but also may affect the individual’s
salvation. Similarly, the kinds of laws and policies supported by
public officials affect their spiritual well-being...
Opposition to abortion and
euthanasia does not excuse indifference to those who suffer from poverty,
violence and injustice. Any politics of human life must work to resist the
violence of war and the scandal of capital punishment. Any politics of
human dignity must seriously address issues of racism, poverty, hunger,
employment, education, housing, and health care. Therefore, Catholics
should eagerly involve themselves as advocates for the weak and
marginalized in all these areas. Catholic public officials are obliged to
address each of these issues as they seek to build consistent policies
which promote respect for the human person at all stages of life. But being
'right' in such matters can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct
attacks on innocent human life.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the
Faith has also given guidance to Catholics in making morally sound
decisions on public policy matters: