The US Bishops document “Faithful Citizenship” invites us to be advocates on the issues of our Catholic social tradition. Taking part in elections is only one way where we can exert our moral responsibility within the political arena. No matter what the results of the elections are, we will still have to maintain our commitment to be advocates for the issues that are raised by our Catholic social teaching.
Individually, there is no way that we can do justice by intently working on all these issues. With action alerts that are provided by the USCCB and the NY State Catholic Conference, we can all minimally email our legislators on any of these issues. However, many of us often work in coalition with other organizations to address particular issues for which we have a particular passion. This type of issue activism is good and it should be encouraged, but it is also important is that we recognize the value of all the issues by showing support to our fellow Catholics who are passionately addressing other Catholic social issues as well.
During the elections we should be particularly sensitive to this and recognize the value of all issues as we discern the political future of our nation. The US Bishops document on “faithful citizenship” reminds us that “as Catholics we are not single-issue voters.” Upholding one particular Catholic issue will inevitably narrow our political lens. Instead we are invited to maintain a broad perspective on the social concerns of our Church. Cardinal Ratzinger, our present Pope Benedict XVI, cautioned us against adopting a single-issue mentality when he offered his 2002 Doctrinal note on political participation:
“The Christian faith is an integral unity, and thus it is incoherent to isolate some particular element to the detriment of the whole of Catholic doctrine. A political commitment to a single isolated aspect of the Church’s social doctrine does not exhaust one’s responsibility towards the common good. Nor can a Catholic think of delegating his Christian responsibility to others; rather, the Gospel of Jesus Christ gives him this task, so that the truth about man and the world might be proclaimed and put into action.” #4
In order to get a sense and appreciation for the various issues that concern the Church, please take a moment to visit the USCCB “Faithful Citizenship” video website and scroll through the issue videos that are presented by the US Bishops. Here are some of the issues that you will find:
- Healthcare: Bishop Murphy
- Pro-Life: Cardinal DiNardo
- Poverty: Bishop Howard
- Immigration: Archbishop Gomez
- Climate Change: Bishop Skylstad
- Marriage: Bishop Cordileone
- Torture: Archbishop Wenski
- Religious Liberty: Archbishop Lori
- Jobs and Unemployment: Bishop Blaire
- Peace in the Holy Land: Cardinal McCarrick