Election Day is less than one week away...Please vote on Tuesday, 2 November 2010!
We Catholics are called to look at politics as we are called to look at everything – through the lens of our faith. While we are free to join any political party that we choose or none at all, we must be cautious when we vote not to be guided solely by party loyalty or by self interest. Rather, we should be guided in evaluating the important issues facing our state and nation by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the teachings of His Church.
Our national and state elected officials have profound influence on countless matters of great importance, such as the right to life, issues of war and peace, the education of children and how we treat the poor and vulnerable. We must look at all of these issues as we form our consciences in preparation for Election Day.
Unfortunately, it is the rare candidate who will agree with the Church on every issue. But as the U.S. Bishops’ most recent document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship (www.faithfulcitizenship.org) makes clear, not every issue is of equal moral gravity. The inalienable right to life of every innocent human person outweighs other concerns where Catholics may use prudential judgment, such as how best to meet the needs of the poor or to increase access to health care for all.
The Right to Life is the right through which all others flow. To the extent candidates reject this fundamental right by supporting an objective evil, such as legal abortion, euthanasia or embryonic stem cell research, Catholics should consider them less acceptable for public office. As Faithful Citizenship teaches, “Those who knowingly, willingly, and directly support public policies or legislation that undermine fundamental moral principles cooperate with evil.”
These are complex times, so our task is not light. It is often difficult to get a good grasp on the positions of
incumbent congressional representatives and state legislators, not to mention their challengers. News accounts of positions are hard to come by, and voting records on important issues are often lacking. So the task of doing due diligence can be truly challenging. Yet our state is facing many critical issues which are of vital concern to faithful Catholics. Thus it is absolutely necessary for good citizens to take a careful look at every candidate and to vote accordingly for the better candidates. You can find all of the candidates for elected office at the New York State Catholic Conference Web site (www.nyscatholic.org).
Many of the most compelling moral issues of the day play out at the state level. Commonsense restrictions on abortion, whether or not to employ the death penalty, issues related to same-sex “marriage” and civil unions, parental rights in education, programs to serve the poor, access to health insurance – all of these debates occur in the halls of our state Capitol in Albany.
We set forth below potential questions for candidates on a variety of critical issues, and we urge you to learn where all the candidates for every office stand with each critical issue. This list is by no means exhaustive, but our hope is that it serves as a valuable tool in forming your consciences as you make your decisions in the voting booth as Catholic faithful citizens.
While we as the Bishops of New York State cannot and do not endorse candidates for office, we encourage you to properly form your conscience by reflecting on the moral and social teachings of our Church and we
strongly urge you to vote on Election Day. For when you vote, you are exercising your cherished right and your solemn duty as Americans and as Catholics. Election Day....Tuesday, 2 November 2010