Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"Election 2012: Follow Your Conscience"

Tonight! Discussion on Life Issues in the Newman Chapel after Tuesday Mass and dinner with Christa Lopiccolo, Executive Director, Department for Life Issues, Archdiocese of Washington. Ms. Lopiccolo will share her expertise in helping to form our consciences for voting.

Here is the pamphlet on the election to which I referred in Sunday's homily:

                                             Election 2012


                                       FOLLOW YOUR



Following one’s conscience is not based upon one’s preferences or opinions, “nor is it a mere ‘feeling’ about what we should or should not do”; rather, “conscience always requires serious attempts to make sound moral judgments based on the truths of our faith

-“Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship”, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2011, #17.

In their 2011 document on Faithful Citizenship, the US Bishops focus on pressing national issues:

• Continuing destruction of unborn children through abortion and other threats to the lives and dignity of others who are vulnerable, sick, or unwanted

• Renewed efforts to force Catholic ministries—in health care, education, and social services—to violate their consciences or stop serving those in need;

• Intensifying efforts to redefine marriage and enact measures which undermine marriage as the permanent, faithful, and fruitful union of one man and one woman and a fundamental moral and social institution essential to the common good;


• An economic crisis which has devastated lives and livelihoods, increasing national and global unemployment, poverty, and hunger; increasing deficits and debt and the duty to respond in ways which protect those who are poor and vulnerable as well as future generations;

• The failure to repair a broken immigration system with comprehensive measures that promote true respect for law, protect the human rights and dignity of immigrants and refugees, recognize their contributions to our nation, keep families together, and advance the common good;

• Wars, terror, and violence which raise serious moral questions on the use of force and its human and moral costs in a dangerous world, particularly the absence of justice, security, and peace in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East.


How does a GW Catholic follow his or her conscience and make a sound moral judgment on voting?

“it is essential for (GW) Catholics to be guided by a well-formed conscience that recognizes that all issues do not carry the same moral weight and that the moral obligation to oppose intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on our consciences and our actions” – FC, #37.



The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must always be opposed” (FC, #28). 

   Intrinsic evils /








         A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil,
         such as abortion or racism, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. In such cases a
        Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil.” – FC, #34.    

     Other serious threats to human life and dignity:

-Death penalty
-Unjust War
-War Crimes
-Failure to respond to those who are suffering from hunger or a lack of health care
-Unjust immigration policy


While these do not carry the same moral weight as  the non-negotiables, they “are all serious moral issues that challenge our consciences and require us to act. These are not optional concerns which can be dismissed. Catholics are urged to seriously consider Church teaching on these issues. Although choices about how best to respond to these and other compelling threats to human life and dignity are matters for principled debate and decision, this does not make them optional concerns or permit Catholics to dismiss or ignore Church teaching on these important issues.” (FC, #29)



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