Pope Francis reminds us that being involved in the political process “is one of the highest forms of love, because it is in the service of the common good.” For your reflection as you prepare to go to the polls we offer you some excerpts from A Revolution of Tenderness: A 2016 Election Pope Francis Voter Guide.
Our Political Foundation: The Sacred Gift of Life and Creation
“The great gift of life is the first gift we have received. Sometimes we risk forgetting about this, as if we were the masters of our existence while instead we are radically dependent. In fact, it is a source of great joy to hear that at every age in life, in every situation, in every social condition, we are and remain sons and daughters.”—Pope Francis (General Audience, June 18, 2015)
The inviolable dignity of each and every human person, especially those who are vulnerable, is the foundational political concern for Catholics. That dignity becomes meaningless unless human life is valued both in our laws and in our culture. Indeed, as Americans, we believe, as our Declaration of Independence states, that the very purpose of government is to promote “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Catholics stand four-square in opposition to any and all dishonor to human dignity and to life.
Today, human dignity and life is degraded by racism, violence, abortion, war, the death penalty, euthanasia, human trafficking, torture, environmental damage, and poverty. We believe that these issues are all related. In many situations, there are often nuances and root causes that need to be addressed. A person whom we persuade to respect the rights of immigrants is a person more likely to understand our concern for pregnant mothers and children. Those who share our commitment to supporting family life must be challenged to embrace programs that provide affordable healthcare to everyone. A government that ignores the cries of the poor is a government that’s more likely not to account for the horrific human cost of war.
We believe that only by defending against all threats to life and creation will Catholics be able to credibly make the case for the culture of life and inclusion.
Questions to Consider When Reading About or Listening to Candidates:
● How does each candidate talk about preventing mass shootings and gun violence in our streets?
● What alternatives to abortion and euthanasia does each candidate discuss, such as assistance and support to expectant mothers, in particular those who are low-income?
This voter guide was put together for your prayerful reflection by the following coalition of national Catholic organizations:
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good
Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
Conference of Major Superiors of Men
Faith in Public Life: Catholic Program
Franciscan Action Network
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
Pax Christi USA
Pax Christi International
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas’ Extended Justice Team
The complete document can be accessed at https://franciscanaction.org/article/revolution-tenderness-2016-voter-election-guide.