As a coda to last year’s USCCB document ” Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship ,” the New York Catholic bishops yesterday issued a statement on voting, and voting wisely. ” Our Cherished Right, Our Solemn Duty ” poses a series of questions citizens should use to evaluate candidates, while laying out non-negotiable moral parameters.
Following are the highlights [my emphasis]:
We Catholics are called to look at politics as we are called to look at everythinghrough 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 nor 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.
. . .
It is the rare candidate who will agree with the Church on every issue. But as the U.S. Bishops’ recent document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” 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.
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