On Sunday, October 7, the following notice appeared in the Mono County Catholic, the parish bulletin serving the communities in the Eastern Sierra region of California, including Mammoth Lakes, Lee Vining, and Bridegport.
These parishes are served by a priest of the Stockton diocese, one who is described by a reliable source as “close” to Bishop Stephen Blaire.
CATHOLIC VOTING GUIDE
As the presidential election approaches, all Catholics are reminded of their moral obligation to participate in our democratic government process. Voting is not an option for Catholics, but Catholics must vote from a well-informed conscience. To that end the bishops of the United States have produced a voting guide called Forming Consciences of Faithful Citizenship.
It is the ONLY authentic voting guide for Catholics. That means Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics, the Test of Fire video, and anything from CatholicVote.org, Catholic.com [Catholic Answers]. EWTN, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, or any other private organization is not the official authoritative voting guide for Catholics.
Many bishops and the organizations they fund with our money (CRS, CCHD, community organizing groups, Alinskyite groups, etc) support and work hand-in-hand with democrat party affiliates. This has been going on for years. But, when it comes to election time we are all told to ‘behave’ and can only be fed the document that these same bishops concocted in order to muddy up our minds so we can continue to find excuses to support and vote for those who these bishops prefer. Hog wash, bishops! You have exposed your true intentions too many times for those who pay attention and have the graces to see through your smoke and mirrors!
What can I say, Cole ? When you’re right – you’re right. If the bishops would lead as their vocation demands, the Democratic Party would not get 25% of the Catholic vote.
25%? The commonly reported statistic is 54% of self-identified Catholics voted for Obama in the last presidential election.
How about this for a voter guide. Do not kill, do not lie or cheat others, do not steal, honor your mother and father, do not covet your neighbors goods or spouse or daughters, love God with you whole heart mind and soul. Love others as Jesus loves you. Enough said.
lisag you mean the ten commandments? lets not take them out of context…I mean that many will have their self interpretation…it’s vague in the way your post came across to me and the ten commandments come with a historical significance. Meaning we must honor them with the fear of the Lord in our hearts but must follow the churches teachings as to what exactly is meant by them…. to us
Didn’t Bp Blaire just support the “nuns on the bus” because they were sincere?
Blaire is also one of the two Bishops at the USCCB who slammed Ryan’s budget publically on USCCB letterhead.
Money is everything to him. Nothing else counts.
Guess Blaire does not believe in Freedom of Speech, or Freedom of Religion, or Freedom of Thought !
His way or the highway.
Hiel Hitler !
I’ve got news for Blaire – the USCCB is not an authoritative Voting Guide either.
Anything that is 40 pages long is laughable. It’s so compromised with all the junk from the various Bishops and their committees – none of it makes reasonable sense.
He can not quote any realiable Church document that gives an Episcopal Conference the right to state they are the only authentic voting guide for Catholics. He must be making up his own religion.
When this comes from a Democratic Bishop, – of the Party of Death, his control is showing.
He does own the Diocese Church property, so he can determine what is done only on Church property.
But this type of abusive dictatorship will backfire.
Amercians don’t want to be told what they can and can not read – when they are off Church property.
“I’ve got news for Blaire – the USCCB is not an authoritative Voting Guide either.”
That’s because the USCCB is not an authoritative body of the Church. Bishops’ conferences have have absolutely no authority in the institutional Church. None. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch.
And the fact is that the USCCB’s voting guide is a concoction of wishy-washy, modernist nonsense, and not worth the paper it’s printed on.
Bubba’s Real Catholic Voting Guide: Any Catholic that knowingly votes for a candidate for public office who advocates for or allows his office to be used to enable abortion, same-sex marriage, embryonic stem-cell research, or human cloning, is committing grave sin.
You are right and wrong regarding the bishops’ conferences throughout the world. John Paul II issued a Motu Proprio that clarifies which documents carry Magisterial authority and which do not. Apostolos Suos states that if a document is approved by the whole body unanimously, then it carries official Magisterial authority obliging assent of intellect and will. If unanimous approval is not received but a large majority votes in favor of a document, and the conference requests and receives Vatican approval of the document, then it carries Magisterial authority. One such document that follows Blessed JPII’s Motu Proprio is “Welcoming the Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity” . I do not believe Faithful Citizenship was unanimously approved; I don’t believe it was given Vatican approval as a Magisterial document either. However, the opinions of the Bishops, as shepherds of the Church, are not simply one opinion among many, even if this particular document does not have Magisterial authority.
“Authentic voting guide”… These liars probably do not even know they are lying. What corruption!!! “Authentic”?! The deception is in the form of the old sales pitch, called the assumed close. First of all, is this “guide” magisterial? If it is not, then what does the description “authentic” mean? Answer: It means nothing. No Catholic has any obligation to read it. The true voting guide is the Holy Spirit … How conveniently these bishops omitted this news. Well, the abortions are on their heads, and the blood is on their hands, and the evil is in their hearts.
Fr Malloy has an excellent column which should be read prior to voting
by all catholics (actually it should be read by everyone)
Why can’t the Bishops and priests just be clear about it. A Catholic CANNOT…DARE NOT vote for The BAM. To do so would be to make complicit in the grave and mortal sin of abortion to start with. That being said, keep in mind that complicity in abortion automatically incurs the canonical penalty of excommunication ipso facto. The person is separated from the church and cannot partake of her sacraments until he/she has presented themselves before their Bishop and made a sincere confession. It is only the Bishop or his delegate who may lift the sentence of excommunication. …Do you want to die excommunicated? Heaven won’t be your destination. Therefore the bottom line is either we serve God and hope for Heaven or we serve man (The BAM) and definitely place ourselves on the path to hell. It really is quite easy.
Any relation to Quo Vadis?
What? Are they kidding? The Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholic’s states the non-negotiables–abortion, same sex marriage, euthanasia and embroynic stem cell research! What of these 4 are negotiable? Last time I looked none! What is the matter with our Bishops? I just found out from my Pastor that we can’t put these flyers as an insert in the bulletins–but we can hand them out privately. This is why we will lose the Cathoic vote this election because of confusion. The voting guide called Forming Consciences of Faithful Citizenship put out by the Bishops is not CLEAR enough for Catholics because they’ve been so DUMMED DOWN.
What do the bishops know about “faithful citizenship” when they are employees of the federal government? What about the new law passed by the German government, called the “Pay to pray” law, and endorsed by the German bishops? When will this state of affairs reach America?
Yep! This priest is correct!
So the pastor got one point correct– the duty to make an informed vote. After all, if one does not vote, they have no right to comment on the results. Then the pastor goes off track by suggesting that the laity reject certain voting guides but fully embrace the guide promulgated by the management of the institution.
I’m willing to bet a small sum [sorry, Mitt, I don’t have a spare $10k] that the actual aggregate Catholic vote will be close to the overall vote. Given there are 70 million of us, I find it perfectly normal that there are strong different opinions of secular matters.
“Informed vote”? Then when are the bishops going to inform us how they vote and why and based on what information?
“perfectly normal” does not equate with either God’s will or anything good. If it were ok, then there would have been no work for St Paul and the holy men and women who followed him in transforming Europeans into Catholics.
That’s like saying that any other publications which seeks to clarify for you what is appropriate as a Catholic (voter) should be ignored. Does that mean that if I do not understand a passage in the bible, I can’t go to another Catholic publication and get an idea of what that passage means, that I can’t explore any deeper than the priest telling me what to do in the practice of my faith as a Catholic?! I have a hard time with that. It does a disservice to them as shepherds, and to me as a practicing person of the Catholic Faith. Then it begs the question, “What good are the writings of Benedict XVI who has written several books explaining Jesus to us, and to anyone who wants to know Him on a deeper level? Outrageous!
Bishop Blaire has lost all credibility along with his support for the
‘DEMOCRATIC PARTY of DEATH’
and for the Democratic Party ‘nuns on the bus’.
His USCCB letter about the budget can help destroy the USA economy due to his ignoring Church teaching rather than including ALL of it –
SUBSIDIARITY (CCC 1883, 1885, 1894, 2209)
and COMMUTATIVE JUSTICE (CCC 2411) ‘without which no other form of justice is possible’.
His apparent support of Federal Government indebtedness (now at over $16 TRILLION) and the downgrading of the Country’s credit rating twice in the last two years is appaulling.
He has no business using the USCCB for his own political and financial beliefs.
The more indebteness of the USA, the less government money for charity.
Why doesn’t he address the County’s indebtedness – waste, corruption, over-spending, spending on cronyism, and spending tax payer dollars for abortion, contraception and voluntary sterilization ? ? ? ? ?
The USCCB is not an expert in the economy, and is merely one of many beaurcracies on the public dole – taking its share of our taxes which are used in part for addtional administrative costs. Gimme, Gimme, Gimme. I want, I want, I want – like a spoiled child.
There is great dishonesty in stating that the only authoritative voting guide is that of the USCCB.
He can limit what is distributed on his Diocese Church property, but NOT what Catholics are allowed to read OFF his Church property.
There is no Church teaching to support his action.
All of the above mentioned Groups are Faithful Catholics, except “Catholic Alliance for the Common Good” partially supported by athiest George Soros. He did not mention the heretical and schsimatic group “Catholics for Obama”.
Jesus taught that it is up to us individuals to help the poor, not Ceasar’s government.
Donate to your local St. Vincent de Paul, and directly to a Vatican charity.
ByPass the USCCB to help the poor, they support too many committees and too many employees – 300+.
” Let’s be clear about confusion ” this title says it all.
Blaire and the USCCB should not try to confuse people with a 40 plus page document.
In fact, they should make their recommendations CONFORM to the FAITHFUL groups mentioned above (with the exception of George Soros funded Catholic Alliance for the Common Good’).
The devil loves confusion. He must love much of the USCCB.
I recommend the Voting Guides of those mentioned in the article above with the exception of ‘Catholic Alliance for the Common Good’.
They are clear and accurate, and conform to Church teaching.
I also recommend that everyone read from the internet: “WORTHINESS to RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNION, General Principles” by Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict),
(There is nothing proportionate in the USA to the murder of approx 1 MILLION babies each year. And now Obama wants us to pay for them with our tax dollars.)
It’s really a shame that Blaire tries to divide faithful Catholics with confusion.
He should support faithful Catholic groups in their accurate efforts.
Blaire violates the CCC # 2105 in which everyone has “the social duty … to respect and awaken in each man the love of the true and the good”.
No wonder most CA Bishops do not actively promote the reading of the ‘Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition’ – so they can dictate their personal beleifs. Thank God for the Magisterium’s CCC to keep us in the TRUE teachings of the Church.
“Voting is not an option for Catholics.” Who are they kidding, when both parties offer the same immoral junk we are obligated to chose one. This is like a sailor on leave with the choice between a drinking bout or a night in the brothel. In a republic when the options are all immoral and destructive to society our obligations is to not support the system with our vote. All governments exist with the support of the people. For me I will not give this support the the current farce with my vote.
You are wrong Jake.
Please read the “Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition”. If you are Catholic you are OBLIGATED to VOTE.
CCC – 2240.
If you don’t like either candidate, always vote for the lessor of the evils.
Remember that ABORTION, EUTHANASIA, GAY-MARRIAGE, and being against FREEDOM of RELIGION are intrinsic evils – non-negotiable – no debate.
On internet search: ” What Catholics REALLY Believe SOURCE “, for links to clear information on voting that will help you with your decision when you vote.
If you only use CCC-2240 as your only guide how do you avoid evil as you cannot chose evil, lesser or otherwise – CCC-1756, CCC-1777 & 1778. As we approach this election all the evil Obama espouses, ABORTION, EUTHANASIA, GAY-MARRIAGE, and being against FREEDOM of RELIGION, Romney achieved as governor. How does this meet CCC-1921 to 27, an elected official’s obligation to promote the common good? A vote for anybody at this point, winner or loser, only validates the system by our willingness to accept the results. By not voting I remove my support from a corrupt system and avoid giving my approval of the immorality that continues with our current choice. This option does not take away my right to complain or encourage others to withdraw from this election. After this election we must all work so we do not have these discussion of the lesser of two evils or the next topic for Catholics will be CCC-2243.
Jesus said some choice things about political involvement, when the Zealot party wanted to draft him for their man. Why are the bishops acting in persona Zealot Party and pushing King Obama?
The two parties are not run by saints, Jake. Neither are the two parties running the same evils. One party is almost all evil, perhaps even intrinsically evil; whereas, the other party actually opposes some evils and runs some planks that are even good. There are many Republicans who always vote against abortion, sodomy, and religious subjugation. But there are no Democrats who do that.
This is not surprising from a priest who I heard at mass openly accept the homosexual lifestyle. I know people who drive 30 miles to the town of Bishop to attend Mass when they visit Mammoth Lakes because Fr. Paul is so far in left field. The previous pastor, Fr. Andy was an orthodox Jesuit priest who not only gave inspirational homilies, but provided sound theology and orthodox reverence in his love of the Eucharist. Fr. Paul seems to be the polar opposite, as he encourages us to participate in a “meal” and promotes un-Catholic ideologies such as homosexual marriage during the Sacred Liturgy. Given Bishop Blaire expressed concerns about the USCCB protesting the HHS mandate, comments he later recanted, I think the dissident behavior of Fr. Paul will go unaccounted for. It is clear that Fr. Paul rejects orthodoxy in his rejection of Catholic Answers and EWTN and we must pray for both him and Bishop Blaire. God Love You.
Pray for this Priest, and give him a copy of the “Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition” for Christmas. :)
Report all liturgical abuses, heretical and schismatic statements, and violations of the Code of Canon Law to the Diocese Bishop.
If not corrected within a reasonable period of time – contact the US Papal Nuncio and the Vatican.
” What Catholics REALLY Believe Source ” has links to documentation including but not limited to: GIRM, Code of Canon Law, and the CCC which should be quoted in your documentation as appropriate.
Apostolic Nuncio to the United States
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò
3339 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W, Washington, DC, USA
Fax: 202 337-4036
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:
Mailing Address: Piazza del S. Uffizio, 11, 00193 Roma, Italy
Congregation for Bishops:
Mailing Address: Palazzo della Congregazioni, 00193 Roma, Piazza Pio XII, 10
Mike, thank you for this excellent resource. I have saved it on my computer. Now, I need to start acting.
Hmn, I was planning on a grouse hunt up there in Mono County next September, over several days including Sunday. Now I have a good reason to forget about taking any time from the forest for attending Mass in that region. Be better to learn from the wild birds about truth, for after all they learned from a real Saint, St Francis of Assisi.
I wonder if this Pastor has even read any of the voting guides that have been sent out by legitimate Catholic organizations, such as ETWN or Priests for Life or Catholic Answers? I doubt it, which means his well meaning advice is not good advice at all. +JMJ+
The USCCB voting guide is not Magisterial teaching and therefore may be ignored. Here is a sample of what the Magisterium has to say on this topic:
Blessed Pope John Paul II in Christifideles Laici No. 38:
“Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights — for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture — is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.”
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith):
The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is a grave sin. The Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae, with reference to judicial decisions or civil laws that authorize or promote abortion or euthanasia, states that there is a “grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. […] In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to ‘take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law or vote for it’” (no. 73). Christians have a “grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God’s law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. […] This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it.” (no. 74)
Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.
Raymond Cardinal Burke (Cardinal Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura) Regarding the Catholic obligation on voting: October 2010 interview:
I wanted to make sure that the faithful would realize that they have the very serious moral obligation in voting, to vote for those candidates who would uphold the truth of the moral law which of course also serves the greatest good of everyone in society.
So, what is scandal? Scandal is either doing something or omitting to do something that leads other people into confusion or error about the moral good. And here’s the perfect example. Catholics who betray their Catholic Faith in their political life as legislators or judges, or whatever it may be leading other people to believe that abortion must not be the great evil that it is, that abortion is in fact a good thing in some circumstances. NO, YOU CAN NEVER VOTE for someone who favors absolutely what’s called the “right to choice” of a woman to destroy the human life in her womb, with the right to a procured abortion. This is a most fundamental and critical area, the protection of the innocent and defenseless human life BUT YOU COULD NEVER JUSTIFY VOTING for a candidate who not only does not want to limit abortion but believes that it should be available to everyone.
I would simply say to them, ‘Do you follow the golden rule that’s taught to us by Our Lord Himself, in the gospels?’ In other words do you do unto others as you would have them do unto you? Do you consider it really fair to advance some interest you have that may be a good interest, whether it’s the environment or whatever it might be, at the cost of denying to other members of society, especially those who depend upon us completely, for life itself? To deny them the right to life? And I think that if most people would reflect in this way simply in terms of the Golden Rule, that they would understand that, no, it can NEVER be right, no matter what good I’m trying to achieve by voting for a candidate who favors that good but at the same time favors the intrinsic evil, the great evil of abortion, I can never justify that, voting for that candidate. I would just urge people to consider those smallest brothers and sisters of ours, those fellow members of God’s family who our society teaches us to disregard or even not to think of as fellow human beings, but who really and truly are fellow human beings, and to do what is right for them, even as we would want, when we were such small little, beings in our mothers’ wombs, in the embryonic stage of development, or along the way before birth, we would want voters to vote to protect our lives and safeguard our lives.
Watch 4 minute or full length video (23 minutes) Search for Catholic Action and use “Video” tab
Catechism of the Catholic Church:
1858 Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: “Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother.”132 The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger.
1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:
– by participating directly and voluntarily in them;
– by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;
– by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;
– by protecting evil-doers.
Brian your long post did not exceed the allowable amount? I’m surprised…I recall other posters complaining about their long post not going through…I wonder if theirs was longer than yours.
I’m not complaining, still appreciate your long post….if its faithful, then it’s good that it went through…I’ll read it tonight when I have more time.. God bless
Folks, nothing new here nor is there anything unique to Bishop Blaire in this situation. Most of the NorCal bishops have made it clear to their presbyterates that election materials from the USCCB, CCC, and the local diocese are the only ones that should be found in the churches themselves.
OTOH the Catholic faithful have liberty to distribute the other excellent voter guides on their own. So instead of fulminating here online, let’s spend a nickel and doing a little politicking.
Bishop Blaire is a liberal democrat before Catholic
Fr John Malloy has an excellent column which should be read
prior to voting
by all Catholics (actually it should be read by everyone)
Sorry for the double post from last night
I just meant to leave his website info but it turned into a link
when I submitted
So-called “voting guides” are just another name for political propaganda. You should throw them in the trash along with the campaign flyers.
The priest is correct, unfortunately, I cannot dismiss the Bishops and call meself catholic
MKM, we each have only one bishop to follow. Has your bishop ever told you individually to do or not do something? I simply stay away from bishops, especially when they walk over the edges of cliffs.
Don’t use the bathroom….its flooded
I think I get it, Abeca : )))
“Faithful Citizenship” is what the “progressive” bishops would have us read and have us believe is the “authentic” voting guide. The reason is that any reasonable person with the patience to read through this tedious and thoroughly confused document would conclude it is fine to vote for Obama and Biden because they believe in eliminating poverty, discrimination and other social evils, even though they are about as pro-abortion as it is possible to be. FF actually carries no authority whatever. Each bishop in his diocese is the spiritual leader in these matters. By sowing confusion among the people the bishops are – in addition to advancing the liberal abortion movement – undermining their own authority and losing respect.
“Faithful Citizenship”, the document, should be sent up to some papal canon law authority as evidence to get rid of the bishops who signed it.
Lets face it folks. The US Catholic Bishops were responsible for the election of current “US Culture of Death Administration” in 2008 as it will be in 2012 if Obama is re-elected. It is a simple matter of unclear teaching of the Faith to the flock. Their document, Forming Consciences of Faithful Citizenship is proof perfect. The Catholic vote makes the difference.
Two things jump out at me here: “Voting is not an option for Catholics” ??? did he mean not voting? …and if he did is it true? One election when I had not voted, I confessed it. The priest told me that it was not a sin not to have voted. I told him that I had read that it was a moral obligation. He said that “moral” meant different things. The other thing that jumped out was “the only authentic voting guide for Catholics.” Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship says specifically that it is not a voter’s guide. It also says “During election years, there may be many handouts and voter guides that are produced and distributed. We encourage Catholics to seek those resources that are authorized by their own bishops, their state Catholic Conference and by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.”
The only voting guide needed is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It spells out the intrinsic evils that are non-negotiable. The current administration is pro all the intrinsic evils. It really is a no brainer.
Bishop Robert F. Vasa: “The authority of the Catholic bishop within his own diocese trumps the national bishops’ conference and no bishop has an obligation to adopt the conference’s documents. Such documents do not become normative for a particular diocese unless the bishop, either explicitly or implicitly, recommends them. Statements from bishops’ conferences necessarily tend to be ‘flattened’ and ‘vague,’ allowing certain teachings to fall by the wayside through what could be called, charitably, a kind of benign pastoral neglect. While some call this compassion, in truth, it often entails a complicity or a compromise with evil. The harder and less popular teachings are left largely unspoken, thereby implicitly giving tacit approval to erroneous or misleading theological opinions. [USCCB] documents are open to a broad range of interpretation and misinterpretation. A charge could be brought that such documents are intentionally vague and misleading. It is easy to forget that the conference is the vehicle to assist bishops in cooperating with each other and not a separate regulatory commission.”
Bishop Joseph F. Martino objecting to “Faithful Citizenship” being used in his diocese during the 2008 election: “No USCCB document is relevant in this diocese. The USCCB doesn’t speak for me.”
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger ~ “We must not forget that the episcopal conferences have no theological basis; they do not belong to the structure of the Church as willed by Christ, that cannot be eliminated.”
Catholics in the Public Square
Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted
1) How would you define a layperson?
A layperson is any member of the faithful who has not received Holy Orders and does not belong to a religious state approved by the Church. Through Baptism, a layperson is incorporated into Christ and becomes integrated into the People of God. A layperson has an important role in the life and mission of the Church. (Lumen Gentium, 31)
When Pope John Paul II wrote his major work on the life and mission of the laity he titled it Christifideles Laici, Christ’s faithful laity. With this title he made it clear that faithful love of Christ is the key to bearing fruit in the Kingdom of God. This is true for everyone in the Church, not only the laity. Jesus says (Jn 15:5), “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.”
2) What is the difference between the laity and the clergy in the Catholic Church?
The clergy receive a special charism of the Holy Spirit through the Sacrament of Holy Orders. As such, deacons, priests and bishops “realize a participation in the priesthood of Jesus Christ that is different, not simply in degree but in essence, from the participation given to the lay faithful through Baptism and Confirmation. ” (Christifideles Laici, 22)
Laypersons, meanwhile, are primarily concerned with temporal matters and as such have a sort of “secular character.” The laity may also be involved in matters connected with pastoral ministry, but only in matters that do not require the grace of Holy Orders.
3) What is the role of the laity in the Catholic Church?
The role of the laity is in a special way to “ seek the Kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and ordering them according to the plan of God.” (Lumen Gentium, 31) As such, lay men and women are in a unique position to bring their faith into all areas of society.
It should be remembered that as the laity engage in temporal affairs, in their own way, they participate in the priestly, prophetic, and kingly mission of the Church by virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation.
4) How do Catholic lay persons fulfill their call to holiness?
Every Catholic receives from God a call to holiness that is rooted in Baptism. In order to fulfill this call, lay men and women are required to “follow and imitate Jesus Christ in embracing the Beatitudes; in listening and meditating on the Word of God; in conscious and active participation in the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church; in personal prayer; in family or in community; in the hunger and thirst for justice; in the practice of the commandment of love in all circumstances of life and service to the brethren, especially in the least, the poor and the suffering .” (Christifideles Laici, 16)
5) What are the main responsibilities of Catholics to themselves?
Catholics have the responsibility of accepting Christ’s invitation, “ Come, follow me.” They need to surrender in love as He leads them along the paths of conversion, communion and solidarity (Cf. Ecclesia in America). They also need to properly form themselves in the Church’s teaching, to participate actively in her sacramental life, and to live their faith in God accordingly. This responsibility exists for Catholics in all states of life.
Accordingly, Catholics are to be “ever mindful of what it means to be members of the Church of Jesus Christ, participants in her mystery of communion and in her dynamism in mission and the apostolate.” (Christifideles Laici, 64)
6) What are the main responsibilities of Catholics to their families?
Marriage is the foundation of the family. The family, in turn, is the basic cell of society. Marriage and family responsibilities are, therefore, of tremendous importance, not only to the Church but also to all of society.
The responsibilities of Catholic men and women to their families cannot be overstated. “ It is above all the lay faithful’s duty in the apostolate to make the family aware of its identity as the primary social nucleus, and its basic role in society, so that it might itself become always a more active and responsible place for proper growth and proper participation in social life.” (Christifideles Laici, 40)
7) What are the responsibilities of the Catholic laity in the public square?
Through their Baptism, the laity is called to holiness of life (i.e. to live their faith in God day in and day out). Their responsibilities are not meant to be merely a matter of personal piety or devotion, but also directed toward evangelization in all aspects of life.
A layperson in the public square has a particular responsibility to live his or her vocation in view of its unique impact on society. Those involved with the noble art of politics, for example, often are in a position to influence societal norms on matters of real significance by passing or defeating various legislative proposals.
Similarly, there are others in the public square that while not serving as elected officials, nonetheless, are in a position to shape the society and culture. For these individuals, especially those involved with all forms of the mass media, a significant part of their responsibilities is to live their faith by promoting the common good in society.
8) How do Catholics show their own identity in public life?
Catholics should always be respectful of the human dignity of others, including people of different faiths, or no faith at all. Having said that, however, Catholics should not be afraid to embrace their identity or to put their faith into practice in public life. In fact, each of the faithful has a call to evangelization and to share the good news of Christ with the rest of the world.
9) What difference should Catholics make in public life?
There are multitudes of different ways in which Catholics may serve the Church through their contributions in public life. In each circumstance, however, Catholics are especially called to contribute to the common good, to defend the dignity of every human person, and to live as faithful citizens.
In this sense, the final result that takes place is ultimately in God’s hands. This fact is important to remember when a Catholic is in a distinctly minority position and unable to accomplish a desired result. It is in these seemingly hopeless circumstances that Catholics who provide a faithful witness in public life can often be used by God to touch hearts and minds in ways that may not always be visible to the naked eye.
It is good to remember Pope Benedict’s words (Deus Caritas Est, 35), “There are times when the burden of need and our own limitations might tempt us to become discouraged. But precisely then we are helped by the knowledge that, in the end, we are only instruments in the Lord’s hands; and this knowledge frees us from the presumption of thinking that we alone are personally responsible for building a better world. In all humility we will do what we can, and in all humility we will entrust the rest to the Lord.”
10) How should Catholics understand the separation between Church and state?
The separation of Church and state all too often is used as an excuse to silence people of faith and to discourage them from legitimately participating in the public square. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution, of course, does not advocate for a separation of Church and state at all, but rather the protection of religious freedom from the state.
Our founding fathers intended all persons to have the equal right to voice their opinions, including those based on religious convictions. Even more, they understood that it was imperative that the state not infringe upon the religious beliefs of its citizens. The Constitution is aimed at allowing all people to have a voice in government, including those whose voice is distinctively religious. In other words, there is nothing in the Constitution excluding people from bringing their faith into the public square.
11) Should Catholics bring the Church’s doctrine into the public square?
There are times when the Church’s intervention in social questions is needed. As the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (510) teaches, “ The Church intervenes by making a moral judgment about economic and social matters when the fundamental rights of the person, the common good, or the salvation of souls requires it.”
While Catholics are called to bring their faith and religious views into the public square, they are also called to respect the religious freedom and civil liberties of all people. In fact, the Church has genuine respect for secular governments that afford these protections to people of all faiths, as well as those without faith.
In reality, the Church does not impose its doctrine on others in the public square. For example, there is no effort by the Church to compel the public to attend Mass on Sundays or receive various sacraments. Nonetheless, the Church is legitimately concerned about many matters of societal importance and brings its views to bear in proposing meaningful solutions for promoting the common good.
12) How do you respond to statements that Catholics should not impose their religious views upon others?
Some Catholics and other believers have been frightened into silence and even confused by charges that they are imposing their morality on others. It is contended that a person’s faith should have no impact on his or her public life.
This leads the infamous “I am a Catholic but….” syndrome! Of course, if one’s faith does not impact on one’s whole life, including one’s political and social responsibilities, then it is not authentic faith; it is a sham, a counterfeit.
A democratic society needs the active participation of all its citizens, people of faith included. People of faith engage issues on the basis of what they believe, just as atheists engage issues on the basis of what they hold dear; they fight for what they think is right and oppose what they consider wrong. This is not an imposition on other’s morality. It is acting with integrity. Moreover, people of genuine faith strengthen the whole moral fabric of a country. The active engagement of Catholics in democratic processes is good for society and it is responsible citizenship.
13) Should Catholics take into account their own faith at the moment of voting?
It only makes sense that if Catholics are supposed to live their faith in all of their daily activities that they should also take their faith into account while voting. As noted in the Second Vatican Council’s teaching, ” every citizen ought to be mindful of his right and his duty to promote the common good by using his vote.” (Gaudium et Spes, 75)
In preparing to vote, Catholics need to understand their faith so that their consciences are properly formed. Subsequent to this formation, it is important to research all of the important issues and candidates that will appear on the ballot. Only after sufficient preparation and prayer, is a Catholic fully ready to discharge his or her responsibilities as a faithful citizen and cast a meaningful vote.
14) Can Catholics honestly disagree in matters of politics, social or cultural issues?
In 2002, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a document entitled Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding Participation of Catholics in Political Life that addresses the existence of political matters in which
Catholics may disagree. There are, indeed, many issues upon which Catholics may legitimately differ such as the best methods to achieve welfare reform or to address illegal immigration.
Conversely, however, there are other issues that are intrinsically evil and can never legitimately be supported. For example, Catholics may never legitimately promote or vote for any law that attacks innocent human life.
15) What does it mean that Catholics should follow their conscience when making a moral decision?
Before following our conscience, we must form it in accord with the voice of God. Our conscience is not the origin of truth. Truth lies outside us; it exists independent of us and must be discovered through constant effort of mind and heart. This is no easy task for us who suffer the effects of original sin and must contend with the constant temptations of the devil. Conscience receives the truth revealed by God and discerns how to apply that truth to concrete circumstances.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1783) teaches, “Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-informed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.”
As we see, to form one’s own conscience well and to follow it with integrity is no small task. For a person’s conscience cannot invent what is true and good. It must search it out beyond itself. When acting correctly, we discover the truth through the grace of the Holy Spirit and the help of God’s word handed down to us in the Church. Then, when we submit our conscience to this objective truth, we act uprightly and grow to maturity in Christ.
16) Is it mandatory for Catholics to follow what the Pope or bishops say on political issues?
Because they are the leaders of the Church, it is always important to respect statements from the Church’s hierarchy. It is the role of the Pope and the bishops to teach clearly on matters of faith and morals, including those touching on political issues.
There are some matters, however, on which Catholics may disagree with the Church’s hierarchy. In some cases, for example, a Catholic may agree with the teaching of the Church, but come to a different prudential judgment about its application. Examples of these issues might include an instance where someone agrees with the Church’s teaching on “just war” or “capital punishment,” but reaches a different conclusion as to whether the facts of the situation constitute a “just war” or the “rare” circumstances where capital punishment may be used under Church teaching.
It should be emphasized, however, that despite these examples, there are other issues, such as abortion or euthanasia, that are always wrong and do not allow for the correct use of prudential judgment to justify them. It would never be proper for Catholics to be on the opposite side of these issues.
17) Are all political and social issues equal when it comes to choosing a political candidate?
Absolutely not! The Catholic Church is actively engaged in a wide variety of important public policy issues including immigration, education, affordable housing, health and welfare, to name just a few. On each of these issues we should do our best to be informed and to support those proposed solutions that seem most likely to be effective. However, when it comes to direct attacks on innocent human life, being right on all the other issues can never justify a wrong choice on this most serious matter.
As Pope John Paul II has written, ” Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights – for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture – is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with the maximum determination.” (Christifideles Laici, 38)
18) Are there any “non-negotiable” issues for Catholics involved in politics?
There are several issues that are “not negotiable” for Catholics in political life, because they involve matters that are intrinsically evil. In an address to European politicians on March 30, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI stated: “ 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:
•Protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death;
•Recognition and 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;
•The protection of the rights of parents to educate their children.”
The issues mentioned by Pope Benedict are all “non-negotiable” and are some of the most contemporary issues in the political arena. I should note, however, that other issues, while not intrinsically evil, deserve prayerful consideration, such as questions of war and capital punishment, poverty issues and matters relating to illegal immigration.
19) What are the causes that can ban Catholics from Holy Communion?
No one who is conscious of having committed a serious sin should receive Holy Communion. For the Eucharist is the very Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, our most precious gift in the Church. And St. Paul warns us (ICor 11:27-29): “Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.”
All Catholics should examine their consciences, and refrain from receiving Holy Communion if they are not living in a proper state of grace. Should some Catholic politicians who are presently pro-abortion obstinately persist in this contradiction to our faith, this becomes a source of scandal. In these and similar cases, measures beyond those of moral persuasion may need to be taken by those in leadership in the Church. As God tells us in the Book of Leviticus (19:16), ” You shall not stand by idly when your neighbor’s life is at stake.”
If a politician is actively supporting and furthering the culture of death, he is not only causing scandal; he is sinning. Similarly, when a politician performs actions (like voting) that allow for abortions and even promote abortions, or that mandate the distribution of contraceptives by pharmacists and others, that politician is materially cooperating in grave sin. When this occurs, then the politician cannot receive Holy Communion without previously making a good confession. A good confession would require sincere sorrow for such sin and a firm purpose of making amendment. Since the harm done would be public in nature, the amendment should also be public.
20) Why does the Church set such high standards for Catholics?
The high standards to which Catholics (and all Christians) are called come from Christ. We find them in the Sacred Scriptures. For example, Jesus said (Jn 14:15), “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” He also said (Mk 8:34-36), “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?”
We also find in the Sacred Scriptures admonitions such as those of St. Paul to Timothy where he writes (I Tim 4:2-5), “ Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching. For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths. But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry.”
There are cases where Catholics in public life serve with great courage and distinction. They measure up to the high standards set by Christ. There are others, sadly, who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin where the risk of scandal is great. In the matter of abortion, for example, abortion is the killing of a completely innocent life and thus bad news for both unborn children and their mothers. It is a horrible wrong. It is intrinsically evil.
We have a serious obligation to protect human life, and especially the lives of the most innocent and vulnerable among us. Whoever fails to do this, when otherwise able to do so, commits serious sins of omission. They jeopardize their own spiritual wellbeing and they are a source of scandal for others. Should they be Catholics, they should not receive Holy Communion.
21) Can Catholics belong to or express support for different political parties?
The Church is never partisan and does not endorse political candidates. She does, however, encourage her laity to be involved in political parties in order to devote themselves to promoting the common good.
In this regard, political and civic education is deemed necessary so that all citizens will be able to play a part in political affairs. (Gaudium et Spes, 75)
22) Do bishops and priests have the right to intervene in political, social, or cultural matters?
Bishops and priests are not to participate in the public administration of the government. Nonetheless, they do have the right, and sometimes an obligation, to speak out on political, social, or cultural matters impacting the Church or the common good.
In his encyclical Deus Caritas Est (28), Pope Benedict XVI states: “It is not the Church’s responsibility to make this teaching prevail in political life. Rather, the Church wishes to help form consciences in political life and to stimulate greater insight into the authentic requirements of justice as well as greater readiness to act accordingly, even when this might involve conflict with situations of personal interest.”
The Holy Father goes on to write (ibid): “The Church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She cannot and must not replace the State. Yet at the same time she cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice. She has to play her part through rational argument and she has to awaken the spiritual energy without which justice, which always demands sacrifice, cannot prevail and prosper.”
23) If bishops and priests can intervene in public issues, what is the difference then between the clergy and the laity in public policy issues?
While bishops and priests can appropriately speak out on important issues, the laity can be involved to a much larger degree. Unlike members of the clergy, the laity, in fact, is called to play a role in all areas of political involvement, including partisan politics and the administration of government.
Members of the laity generally have no restrictions in holding elective office or running the affairs of the state, while members of the clergy are generally prohibited from holding such positions.
24) What can Catholics do to foster justice in society?
There is much that Catholics can do to foster justice in society. A significant part of fostering justice is concern for the human dignity of all people – especially the poor, marginalized or vulnerable. A concern for justice must always be mindful of Christ’s forgiveness and mercy.
The promotion of justice can be found in many Church agencies, including those serving the homeless, immigrants, prisoners, disabled people, and the elderly to name just a few. Catholics must always have a concern for justice and are encouraged to promote it not only in the public square, but also in volunteer efforts as well as their everyday lives.
25) How can Catholics contribute to a culture of life?
Catholics can contribute to a “culture of life” in much the same way that they can promote justice, peace, and human dignity. There are a plethora of volunteer opportunities to assist in crisis pregnancy centers, hospices, nursing homes, and many other facilities.
Additionally, Catholics are called to advocate and to work for a “culture of life” by making it an issue of constant importance in political debate and in the public square.
Finally, prayer is a primary means of promoting and fostering a “culture of life.” While personal daily prayer is always important, public prayer gatherings can provide a striking witness to the rest of society.
26) What means should Catholics employ to manifest their convictions about issues in the public square?
There are various means that Catholics may legitimately employ to manifest their convictions about issues in the public square. Catholic elected officials, for example, are in a privileged position to make known their opposition to public policy issues that are intrinsically evil.
Because of the democracy in which we live, even those who are not in political life have an opportunity and responsibility to express their opinions on various issues and to vote in elections.
Although voting is an important way of expressing convictions about issues, Catholics need not wait for elections to express their views. Letters to the editor, organized public events, and communicating with elected officials are also good examples of expressing views and bringing about change in the public square.
27) How does one fight best against secularization in our society and the misrepresentation of faith in the public square?
Unfortunately, discrimination against people of faith, and especially Catholics, is a real problem. A faithful Catholic in public life is almost certain to encounter forms of unjust discrimination and prejudice. There are many examples of unfavorable public misrepresentation of the Catholic faith and even outright hostility to people of any faith. While much progress has been made in protecting civil rights in our country, there remains a strong bias against people of faith in significant sectors of the media and certain segments of our society.
Nonetheless, it is our duty to engage the culture, not run from it. We must place our trust in the Lord and know that by doing His will and speaking the truth in love, God will make all things work for the good. It is also the duty of the Catholic faithful to support courageous people who do this through both our actions and prayers.
28) How would you define a “candidate who is a faithful Catholic?”
There are a large number of candidates or politicians in our country that label themselves as Catholic. Regrettably, however, some of these are an embarrassment to the Church and a scandal to others by virtue of their support of issues that are intrinsically evil.
A candidate who is authentically Catholic is one who always defends the dignity of every human person and who puts the welfare of the common good over various partisan or self interests. His personal and public life is shaped by faith in Christ and His teachings. Such a candidate can be from any political party, but will never support matters that are intrinsically evil such as abortion, euthanasia, or “same-sex marriage.”
29) What line should an elected official draw between his faith and his political commitments?
Elected officials should bring their faith to bear on all of their activities, including public affairs. In living out their faith, they should have a proper respect for the civil liberties of all people, including those of other faiths, or with no faith at all.
It should be pointed out, however, that sometimes Catholic politicians mistakenly claim that they need to abandon their faith out of an obligation to respect those of differing opinions or to honor a political commitment inherent with their office. These claims are perhaps most frequently made when Catholic politicians claim to be personally opposed to the killing of innocent unborn children.
Incredibly, it is somehow claimed by such people that it would be inappropriate to support legislation protecting human life because doing so would impose their faith on others or somehow violate their oath of office. These claims are ludicrous. Protecting human life is not only a religious imperative, it is a human imperative, and it is an imperative for all people.
People of faith have every right to bring their beliefs into the public square just like anyone else. In fact, Catholic elected officials should always live out their faith while promoting the welfare of all, including the protection of innocent human life.
I think the “imposing their faith” canard can best be settled if we all (including popes and bishops) stopped referring to matters of the eternal moral law of God as “Church teaching.” It is incorrect to say that “it is Church teaching that stealing is wrong” and “it is Church teaching that lying is wrong”–because both precepts date from the creation of the human race and are applicable to all persons in all places from all times. Why should we keep going around saying “Church teaching forbids us from supporting abortion?” That abortion is murder and murder is a crime is the moral law given by God to the entire human race. It was just as wrong for Cain to kill Abel as it is for anyone to murder anyone else today. Yes, we do NOT want to impose Church teaching on non-Catholics, because Church teaching includes things like the literal Resurrection of Christ, the Assumption of Mary, the Real Presence of the Lord in the Eucharist, the forgiveness of sins in the Sacrament of Confession, the necessity of Baptism for heaven–and so on. We don’t want to impose the above on anyone. But just because the Catholic Church is the only institution left still defending all precepts of the moral law does NOT mean the moral law is “Church teaching.” Before the 20th Century, not only all Christian denominations but also the state recognized the immorality of contraception. Just because only the Catholic Church today continues to recognize the truth does not mean that contraception is morally correct for all but Catholics. We can say the same about abortion. Now we can add heterosexual marriage to the latest casualty of the attempt to redefine the moral law as mere “Catholic Church teaching.” When are we going to stop going along with pagan society’s attempts to relegate the entire question of right-and-wrong to “Church teaching?”
Larry for your post Cole Thornton went over board there…whew
Not that we mind Cole you are swell : )
Larry I meant to add Thank you Larry for your post to Cole…
THE END – TAKE THAT, Mono County Catholic!
A very loving and caring response (responses) Cole. I hope you print it all out and send it to the Mono County Catholic! Also, I’m sure you’ve broken some sort of record for the longest response to the shortest article posted on CCD! heh heh
Good work, Cole!!!
Since I have no power over these liberal Bishops….I took it up to a higher power…in prayer….
Catholicism needs to get off its fantasy trips and get down to what is real. Junkets such as death penalty politics, sodomy quibbling and hiding, peace circles, eco-religions, and other shear pantywaist false religion … no, make that anti-religious activity does nothing but drive any normal rational person away from the Church. It is as though the real Church, ie the smaller and holier one mentioned by Pope Benedict XVI, is being outshouted and hidden by the anti-Christ ape church. Whatever it takes, the top of the Church faithful need to simply clean house asap, no matter who gets thrown out.
It is so unbelievably condescending for anyone in the Church to put forward what they believe to be the official authoritative voting guide for Catholics. There is nothing in Church teaching or tradition that would support the authority of such a guide. And it makes faithful Catholics into sheep who cannot think for themselves or pray for guidance when they vote. This is absolutely disgusting, in my opinion.
Much of the Catholic Church seems to be getting outsourced, or call it offshored, to the devil.
Really people, after reading your comments, it is plain to me that you are criticizing these bishops because they haven´t told Catholics NOT to vote Democratic. Well, good for the bishops. The Church does not belong to any party. Rather, the Church has worked with BOTH parties on certain issues, not exclusively with any one party, which I am use is a source of irritation to some of the more partisam folks out there.
john john but you have it all wrong bud! What is wrong with you folks…the Democrat party is wrong in morals, so are you applauding the Bishops for misleading their flock? You are misleading and sinning by saying good for the bishops!