The following is a July 31 memorandum from Sacramento’s bishop Jaime Soto to pastors, parochial vicars, administrators, and deacons.

Guidelines for Pastors and Parishes on Advocacy and Political Action

This is a friendly reminder.

The California Catholic Conference of Bishops has prepared an instruction on political advocacy for use by Catholic clergy and parishioners. For your convenience, the Guidelines are attached in English and in Spanish.

Particularly in this period leading up to the general election in November, it is important to understand and adhere to this instruction.

Voter education and faithful citizenship materials prepared by the USCCB, the California Catholic Conference and the Diocese of Sacramento will be sent to the parishes. Any of these materials are authorized for parish use.

For sake of clarification, according to the Guidelines approved by the Bishops of California, the following activities are not permitted and may expose both your parish and the Diocese to legal action and penalties:

* Inviting a candidate for elected office to be a speaker at a parish event;

* Inviting an outside group to make a presentation to parishioners about a candidate or ballot issue;

* Inviting an outside group to conduct a voter registration drive;

* Using a Voter Guide prepared by an outside group.

If situations arise in which you are unsure about appropriate action, please contact the Bishop’s Office for guidance and clarification.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

+ Jaime Soto Bishop of Sacramento