Bringing a respect for human dignity to practical politics can be a daunting task. There is such a wide spectrum of issues involving the protection of human life and the promotion of human dignity. Good people frequently disagree on which problems to address, which policies to adopt and how best to apply them. But for citizens and elected officials alike, the basic principle is simple: We must begin with a commitment never to intentionally kill, or collude in the killing, of any innocent human life, no matter how broken, unformed, disabled or desperate that life may seem.
Things You Need to Know...
The Church's obligation to participate in shaping the moral character of society is a requirement of our faith.
We are people of both faith and reason, it is appropriate and necessary for us to bring the essential truth about human life and dignity to the public square.
In his first encyclical letter, Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict XVI explained that "charity must animate the entire lives of the lay faithful and therefore also their political activity, lived as 'social charity'" (no. 29).
The United States Constitution protects the right of individual believers and religious bodies to participate and speak out without government interference, favoritism, or discrimination.
Our Church's teaching is in accord with the foundational values that have shaped our nation's history: "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
The Catholic community brings important assets to the political dialogue about our nation's future. We bring a consistent moral framework—drawn from basic human reason that is illuminated by Scripture and the teaching of the Church—for assessing issues, political platforms, and campaigns. We bring broad experience in serving those in need—educating the young, caring for the sick, sheltering the homeless, helping women who face difficult pregnancies, feeding the hungry, welcoming immigrants and refugees, reaching out in global solidarity, and pursuing peace.
In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation. This obligation is rooted in our baptismal commitment to follow Jesus Christ and to bear Christian witness in all we do.
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, "It is necessary that all participate, each according to his position and role, in promoting the common good. This obligation is inherent in the dignity of the human person. . . . As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life" (nos. 1913-1915)
As Catholics, we should be guided more by our moral convictions than by our attachment to a political party or interest group. When necessary, our participation should help transform the party to which we belong; we should not let the party transform us in such a way that we neglect or deny fundamental moral truths.
Building a world of respect for human life and dignity, where justice and peace prevail, requires more than just political commitment. Individuals, families, businesses, community organizations, and governments all have a role to play. Participation in political life in light of fundamental moral principles is an essential duty for every Catholic and all people of good will
The Church is involved in the political process but is not partisan. The Church cannot champion any candidate or party. Our cause is the defense of human life and dignity and the protection of the weak and vulnerable.
Facilitate parish presentations on the moral obligation of Catholics to participate in public policy along with instructions on how to write effective letters to legislators and to local newspaper editors.
Sponsor voter registration drives in your parish
Speak on areas of expertise and topics of interest as needed based on current legislation
Sign up for action alerts and regular email updates from organizations such as Missouri Catholic Conference (MCC) and Missouri Right to Life (MRL).
Attend annual lobby days sponsored by MCC and MRL in Jefferson City.
Travel to Washington D.C. to participate in the annual March for Life and the National Right to Life Conference.