The Church urges Catholics to participate in political life. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, “It is necessary that all participate, according to his position and role, in promoting the common good. This is inherent in the dignity of the human person … As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life” (see nos. 1913-1915). Catholics are called to political involvement that is guided by moral principles, with the dignity of all human life from the moment of conception until natural death being the paramount principle from which all others flow. The Church does not serve the interests of a particular party or interest group, but calls all people of good will to see the inherent value of human life, because we are all made in the image and likeness of God. Once this is accepted as our grounding moral principle, we naturally will want to work to protect human life and nurture human life to fulfillment, which means working to meet the needs of those marginalized in society, and giving voice to those who lack a strong voice to protect their human rights and their well-being.
To help you stay informed and have a voice in public policy matters, Catholic Charities provides educational events and mailings in the Diocese of Charlotte. These resources are based on Catholic Social Teaching, and they often go along with campaigns and alerts from our bishop and other Catholic entities.
The mission of Catholic Charities is to be a ministry of “charity, service, and justice.”
Catholic Voice NC
The primary public policy and advocacy tool in the Diocese of Charlotte is Catholic Voice NC (CVNC), established by the Bishops of Charlotte and Raleigh in July 2008. CVNC offers North Carolina’s Catholics an opportunity to have a greater voice in the political process. Staff members provide advice to CVNC through participation on the CVNC Advisory Board.
Past alerts have focused on issues like the Racial Justice Act, a sex education bill, school violence protection, a “Choose Life” license plate, the marriage amendment, conscience protection, the Freedom of Choice Act, and health care reform.
To receive email advocacy alerts issued by CVNC, signup to participate at www.catholicvoicenc.org.
Other advocacy alert networks by Catholic entities:
- Catholic Voice NC (CVNC), a statewide organization led by the Bishops of Charlotte and Raleigh, gives Catholics in North Carolina a voice in public policy matters. Register to receive alerts at www.catholicvoicenc.com/join-us.html.
- Catholic Charities USA’s mission is to exercise leadership in assisting its diocesan Catholic Charities member agencies in their mission of service, advocacy and convening. Register for the weekly digest e-newsletter at www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/contact-us/.
- Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is the official international humanitarian agency of the US Catholic community. CRS alleviates suffering and provides assistance in more than 100 countries. Register to receive alerts at www.crs.org/email-sign-up/.
- The Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development works on behalf of the US Catholic Bishops to share and apply CST to domestic and international issues. Register to receive alerts at www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/take-action-now/.
- The Catholic Rural Life applies the Church’s teachings to the social and economic development of rural America and the responsibility for the care of God’s creation. Register to receive the weekly e-bulletin at www.ncrlc.com/page.aspx?ID=258.
- The National Committee for a Human Life Amendment (NCHLA) provides information on legislation as it pursues its vision that the right to life of the unborn child receives full legal recognition. Visit NCHLA’s Action Center at www.nchla.org/action.asp.
“It is commendable that in today’s democratic societies, in a climate of true freedom, everyone is made a participant in directing the body politic. Such societies call for new and fuller forms of participation in public life by Christian and non-Christian citizens alike. Indeed, all can contribute, by voting in elections for lawmakers and government official, and in other ways as well, to the development of political solutions and legislative choices which, in their opinion, will benefit the common good. The life of a democracy could not be productive without the active, responsible and generous involvement of everyone, albeit in a diversity and complementarity of forms, levels, tasks, and responsibilities.”
Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life, l. 1., Vatican City, 2002
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) provides a wide variety of faithful citizenship resources at www.faithfulcitizenship.org. Those include the USCCB statement “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility” approved in November 2007 by the Catholic Bishops of the United States, along with an Introductory Note released for the 2012 election year.
As you prepare to vote in elections, you are strongly encouraged to read the USCCB “Faithful Citizenship” statement and explore the range of resources the USCCB offers on the role of Catholics in the political process.