The following comes from Bishop McGrath’s statement on the 2016 election:
As we approach this Fall’s General Election, I know that many of you – like myself – are in the process of discerning the choices before us in the presidential race, as well as in many of the other races and issues that will be decided on November 8. I am writing to you today to put forward principles for your consideration in arriving at decisions that are consistent with Catholic teaching.
1 Every citizen who is eligible to vote must do so. It is a sacred trust, a grave responsibility. In casting a ballot, each person becomes a participant in our democratic process. Voting is a moral act, it expresses our values, our faith, and our hopes for our nation and world.
2 Be informed. Read and study the many issues and candidates that will appear on your ballot. There are no simple answers to the challenges that face our nation and our world. The United States is integrated into the society of nations and cannot act unilaterally. The good of the whole world and the welfare of people most at risk – the “common good” – must always be considered in the policies that govern the actions of our nation.
3 There are key moral and social issues that need to be considered in casting one’s vote. The teaching of Pope Francis is clear that there are a number of concerns that must be included in moral decision-making. Among these are abortion, poverty, capital punishment, care for the environment, assisted suicide, and immigration.
4 There is no “perfect” candidate. There is no “Catholic” candidate. No candidate’s position on the issues lines up consistently with the teaching of the Church. San Diego Bishop Robert W. McElroy notes the inherent complexity in casting a ballot: “Voting for candidates is a complex moral action in which the voter must confront an entire array of competing candidates’ positions in a single act of voting. It is crucial that in voting for a candidate who supports the advancement of an intrinsic evil, Catholic voters not have the intention of supporting that specific evil, since such an intention would involve them directly in the evil itself. But voters will often find themselves in situations where one candidate supports an intrinsically evil position, yet the alternative realistic candidates all support even graver evils in the totality of their positions.”
5 The Church may become directly involved in encouraging parishioners to vote one way or another on issues of moral import. This would include, for example, our support of Proposition 62, which would eliminate the death penalty, and our opposition to Proposition 66, which would expedite the implementation of the death penalty.
The following comes from a statement from Bishop Gerald Barnes on the 2016 Election:
The presidential election that is now less than two months away is being described in the most dramatic of terms. One candidate calls it “a moment of reckoning,” the other “a moment of crisis.”
Your church is not going to tell you who to vote for, but it surely will encourage you to vote and it will help you prepare.
The big issues of the campaign, which include abortion, immigration, jobs and the environment, have moral dimensions that transcend politics. That is why we are called as Catholics to be part of the civic process. It is part of our living the Gospel.
So I invite you in the coming weeks to continue to study the issues and candidates that will be before us on November 8. Do not be swept away by the current of hostility and hysteria. Look through the lens of the Gospel and ask yourself important questions:
How is the dignity of every human person being served?
What is best for the common good?
How is marriage and family being promoted and protected?
What is being done for the least among us?
Is religious liberty being respected?
Where is the mercy of God reflected?
These questions and others like them are worthy of our time and prayer.