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Issues for Catholic Voters

Catholics constitute at least 25 percent of voters in national elections. By their votes, these millions of Catholics have the power to make our country a better nation, more welcoming to life, more supportive of families, and more effective in its programs to help the poor and marginalized. “Issues for Catholic Voters: 2012 Edition” is a timely addition to the conversation about Catholic voters’ responsibilities in the voting booth.

This concise guide introduces the general principles of Catholic moral and social teaching and how they apply to specific issues facing voters in the next election, including health care, immigration, the economy, education, and religious liberty. Catholics will come to understand the difference between principle and prudential judgment, as well as why some issues are more important in political thinking than others—dispelling the myth, for example, that caring about the protection of unborn life makes one a “single-issue” voter.

Pope John Paul II and, more recently, Pope Benedict XVI and the United States bishops have called on Catholics to renew their participation in American political life. That participation means, above all, taking the moral and social principles of the Catholic Faith into the voting booth. With the help of this book, Catholics can affirm that their participation in the political process is not an imposition of their faith on others but rather a service to the common good that is shared equally by all human persons.

We are proud to announce Issues for Catholic Voters – 2012 Edition. Click here to download a copy to your Kindle. Click here to order a hard copy [coming soon].

Issues for Catholic Voters – In Brief:

Catholics should be guided by a few basic principles when considering their participation in politics. Catholics are obliged to participate in politics by voting. Their legislators are elected to serve and protect the common good, human dignity, and rights of human persons.  As voters, they should have a clear understanding of the principles of Catholic moral and social teaching, and they should understand that life issues are dominant in the hierarchy of issues for the Catholic voter.

Prudential judgment is the application of principle to concrete situations, such as those a Catholic might encounter on a routine basis in the political sphere. Catholic principles apply to all political issues. In many cases, however, Catholic principles do not lead prudentially to one acceptable Catholic position, so on certain matters, Catholics of good conscience may disagree. The bishops’ teachings on faith and morals are binding; their prudential judgments on policy guide us but do not bind us.

Each individual Catholic is called to bear public witness to their faith. Faith is not a private matter. The Christian Faith cannot be restricted to oneself and one’s family. Such an attitude would render it impossible to “love one’s neighbor.” Additionally, the political order cannot be separated from the divine order revealed by faith. (Gaudium et Spes, 74). Politics and government need the public witness of what faith teaches about the common good, human rights, and human dignity.

  • Abortion
  • Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide
  • Bioethics
  • Population
  • The Death Penalty
  • War
  • Defense & Terrorism
  • Judiciary
  • Marriage & the Family
  • Education
  • Economic Issues
  • Taxation
  • Poverty
  • Health Care
  • Religious Liberty
  • Immigration
  • The Environment

Abortion

  • Abortion is the dominant political issue.
  • Being pro-abortion disqualifies a candidate from a Catholic vote.
  • Catholics can justly support politicians who advocate incremental means toward eliminating abortion.
  • See all blog posts tagged with “Abortion

Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide

  • The ban against euthanasia and assisted suicide admits of no exception.
  • Removing extraordinary means of supporting life is allowable as a prudential judgment.
  • The growing acceptance of euthanasia and assisted suicide rests on the misguided assumption that pain detracts from the value of life.
  • See all blog posts tagged with “Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide

Bioethics

  • Since science serves human ends, not its own, scientific research must always respect the moral law.
  • Science must respect the inherent dignity of the human person.
  • Unused and unwanted embryos must be treated with the respect afforded to other human beings.
  • Ending human life cannot be justified in the name of therapeutic (i.e., medical) benefits to other persons.
  • See all blog posts tagged with “Bioethics

Population Policy

  • Population policy must not include abortion and sterilization as methods of slowing population growth.
  • The use of contraception in population policy undermines marriage and ignores the moral issues of promiscuity and disease.
  • Catholic institutions should not be required to support contraception or abortion through mandated insurance coverage.
  • The right to abortion should not be allowed to enter international law under the rubric of women’s “reproductive health” or fears of overpopulation.
  • See all blog posts tagged with “Population

The Death Penalty

  • The Church teaches that the death penalty is acceptable in principle but should be avoided in practice.
  • The responsibility of elected officials is to ensure that penal systems and sentencing policies do in fact protect society from known aggressors.
  • The practical elimination of the death penalty is based upon the strength of the penal system and the commensurateness of the sentencing procedures.
  • See all blog posts tagged with “Death Penalty

War

  • States have the right to engage in war in self-defense but should first exhaust all peaceful solutions.
  • Just war is waged within defined moral boundaries in regard to its targets, goals, and outcomes.
  • Political leadership must have both the inclination toward peace and the capacity for decisive action if war is just and necessary.

Defense & Terrorism

  • Nations have a duty to protect their citizens from legitimate threats.
  • Nations should build their capacity for defense in light of just-war theory.
  • Terrorism—the injury and murder of innocent civilians—is never justified.
  • Defending a nation combines the military, international diplomacy, and a compassionate foreign policy.

Judicial Issues

  • Judges should be evaluated according to their judicial records and commitment to the limited judicial role, not attacked for their privately held religious views.
  • Those who would nominate and confirm judicial activists disenfranchise the faithful Catholic voter.
  • Catholic leaders have a duty to respect their constituents and their Church’s commitment to natural law tradition when considering judicial appointees.
  • See all blog posts tagged with “Judicial Issues

Marriage & the Family

  • Marriage was instituted prior to the state and should be recognized by the state as something inviolate and necessary to the common good.
  • Prudential judgments about law and public policy should always seek to strengthen marriage and families.
  • So-called same-sex marriages cannot be recognized by the Catholic Church, and civil unions are likely to undermine marriage and damage its foundational role in society.
  • See all blog posts tagged with “Marriage & the Family

Education

  • Parents—not the state—have the right to educate their children.
  • Catholic parents have the right to have their children educated in a curriculum consonant with Catholic values.
  • Governments should provide financial support to families for the education they desire for their children.
  • See all blog posts tagged with “Education

Economic Issues

  • Work is a matter of human dignity and is necessary to the common good.
  • Government should create the conditions that support business and industry development.
  • Corporate responsibility is critical in helping to maintain economic success.
  • See all blog posts tagged with “Economic Issues

Taxation

  • Taxes should be fairly based upon one’s ability to pay.
  • Tax policy should not penalize marriage or the raising of children.
  • Corporate taxes should not threaten the capacity to create and sustain jobs.
  • See all blog posts tagged with “Taxation

Poverty

  • The preferential option for the poor requires that authorities first provide assistance to the poor and oppressed.
  • The poor must have access to the education and job training necessary to compete in today’s job market.
  • Strong families that remain intact keep their members from falling into poverty.
  • See all blog posts tagged with “Poverty

Health Care

  • Health-care needs should be met by a combination of personal and corporate insurance, philanthropy, and government programs.
  • Catholic health-care organizations must be free to perform their work with clear consciences.
  • Abstinence and fidelity should be the foundation of sexually transmitted disease–education and prevention.
  • See all blog posts tagged with “Health Care

Religious Liberty

  • Religious expression is a human right that should be recognized by the state.
  • States that enforce secularism in social services and education are violating religious liberty.
  • Political debate naturally involves religious concepts since law and public policy directly affect the common good.
  • See all blog posts tagged with “Religious Liberty

Immigration

  • A nation should seek to accommodate the immigrant who, for just reasons, seeks greater access to the basic goods of life.
  • Political leaders and citizens should recognize the reality of human interdependence that crosses all borders and all national identities.
  • The immigrant is a person who deserves the same protection of law and social benefits afforded to citizens.
  • See all blog posts tagged with “Immigration

The Environment

  • From creation, human beings are given special responsibility as stewards of the earth.
  • As part of its duty to the common good, the government should prevent unnecessary harm to natural resources.
  • Government should also use creative and technological skill, in concert with global cooperation, to reverse existing environmental damage.
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3 Responses to Issues for Catholic Voters

  1. Pingback: Take Action on Health Care : Catholic Advocate

  2. GoldenRudy says:

    Democrat: The Party of abortion, homosexual marriage, continued reliance upon anti-Christian/Jew countries for oil, establishment of Environmentalism as the recognized governmental religion (Al Gore the senior prophet), destruction of parochial schools through high property taxes.

    Republican: None of the above.

    Advice for Catholics: Vote Republican. The Democrat Party is NOT the party our parents knew.

  3. ROBERTA CASTILLO says:

    WE CATHOLICS MUST TAKE A STAND ON OUR VALUES THAT HAVE STOOD THE TEST OF TIME. WHAT IS TRANSPIRING TODAY IN OUR WORLD IS UNBELIEVABLE. OUR COUNTRY IS IN CRISIS, OUR VERY FREEDOM AND RIGHTS ARE BEING WHITTLED DOWN AND TAKEN AWAY, OUR RELIGION IS BEING BLATANTLY ATTACKED, AND FAMILIES AS A UNIT ARE BEING THREATENED. WE MUST LOOK AROUND AND SEE WHO WE CAN TRUST AND TRUST THOSE WHO ARE TRUSTWORTHY. THE 2012 ELECTION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION IN OUR COUNTRY’S HISTORY. I AM FRIGHTENED BY WHAT I SEE TODAY; I PRAY WE ALL DO OUR PART AND VOTE OUR CONSCIENCE AND OUR HEART. OUR COUNTRY BEGAN WITH PRAYER, ENDURED WITH PRAYER, AND I PRAY GOD WILL ANSWER OUR PRAYERS NOW.

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